Friday, December 31, 2010

May the New Year bring prosperity and happiness

" May the New Year bring  prosperity and happiness."

- M.K. Gandhi
Prayer Meeting,
December 24,1947.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

From the Pages of History

Gandhiji issued a call to the nation to observe 'Hartal' against the Rowlatt Act which was also known as Black Act, on April 6 1919.  


The following is the programme of the demonstrations which
have been arranged for Sunday next:
PROCESSION 8.15—10 A.M.:
Chowpatty Sea Face Girgaum Back Road
Sandhurst Bridge C. P. Tank Road
Sandhurst Road Madhav Baug
Mrs. Jayakar Presiding.
Mrs. Sarojini Naidu, Mahatma Gandhi: Speakers,
* **
The Bombay Chronicle, 4-4-1919

CWMG Vol 15:177

Friday, October 1, 2010

Gandhi and Rumi

Here is a very interesting and significant article by Ramchandra Guha which was published in The Telegraph, Calcutta, dt 25 September 2010.


- How would Rumi and Gandhi have resolved the Ayodhya dispute?

POLITICS AND PLAY: Ramachandra guha

In the spring of 1907, the London publisher, John Murray, published a book on Persian mystics by one F. Hadland Davis. The book appeared in a series called “The Wisdom of the East”, whose editors desired their publications to be “ambassadors of good-will and understanding between East and West, the old world of Thought, and the new of Action”. Through the books in the series, it was hoped that the Western (and Christian) reader would acquire “a deeper knowledge of the great ideals and lofty philosophy of Oriental thought [which] may help to a revival of that true spirit of Charity which neither despises nor fears the nations of another creed and colour”.

One of the first readers of the book was an Easterner educated in the West, Mohandas K. Gandhi. Then based in Johannesburg, Gandhi may have acquired the book from a local store, or perhaps ordered it from London. At any rate, he was deeply impressed, writing about it in Indian Opinion, the journal he then edited. Of the mystics whom Hadland Davis had profiled, Gandhi was charmed most by Jalaluddin Rumi, who aspired to “a pure heart and love of God”. Gandhi quotes Rumi saying, when asked where one could find god, “I saw the Cross and also Christians, but I did not find God on the Cross. I went to find him in the temple, but in vain. I saw him neither in Herat nor in Kandahar. He could be found neither on the hill nor in the cave. At last, I looked into my heart and found Him there, only there and nowhere else.” Gandhi ended his review by saying that he would “like to recommend the book to everyone. It will be of profit to all, Hindus and Muslims alike”.

Gandhi’s meditation on Rumi was published in June, 1907. That November, the Gujarati New Year, Nutan Varsh, fell on the same day as the great Muslim festival, Eid. Gandhi used this coincidence to offer a brief homily on the significance of inter-faith understanding. “If the people of different religions grasp the real significance of their own religion,” he wrote, “they will never hate the people of any religion other than their own. As Jalaluddin Rumi has said or as Shri Krishna said to Arjun, there are many rivers, and they appear different from one another, but they all meet in the ocean.”

A hundred years ago, Jalaluddin Rumi was known only to the specialist, but because of the efforts of more recent translators and publicists this 13th-century mystic is — according to an article in a recent issue of the Times Literary Supplement — the most widely read poet in America today. As it happens, after those two occasions in 1907, Gandhi did not write about the Sufi mystic again. However, the lesson he took from Rumi he upheld and affirmed all his life.

Twenty-five years after his review of Hadland Davis’s Persian Mystics, Gandhi received an anguished letter from an English disciple named Verrier Elwin. A licensed priest of the Church of England, Elwin was threatened by his bishop with excommunication, because he refused to take the Gospel to the Gond tribals he then lived with. The priest had learnt from Gandhi that there were many paths to god; while he himself had chosen the one laid down by Christ, he would permit the tribals to follow the road of their ancestors. The bishop vehemently disagreed, saying that Jesus commanded his followers to make Christians of unbelievers.

Faced with expulsion from his Church, Elwin wrote to Gandhi for advice. The Mahatma asked him not to take to heart what the bishop had told him, since the message of Jesus was “in the main denied in the churches, whether Roman or English”. Even if he was thrown out of the Church of England, he could remain a Christian according to his own lights. For, as Gandhi consolingly told the confused young man, “Your pulpit is the whole earth. The blue sky is the roof of your own church.”

This last piece of advice is highly pertinent to the once very intense, then moribund, and now revived dispute in the northern Indian town of Ayodhya. For Jalaluddin Rumi and Mohandas K. Gandhi did not need structures of marble and stone to find god in. Nor should we. One can be good, godly and devout without ever entering a temple or mosque or church.

Twenty-four years have passed since the locks were opened in the makeshift shrine to Ram; 21 since L.K. Advani led a blood-soaked ‘rath yatra’; 18 since the Babri Masjid was brought down by a mob. In this time, a generation of Indians has come of age with no memories of the dispute that once polarized the country. Do we need to open the wounds again? When asked this question by a visiting journalist earlier this month, a student in Ayodhya answered by saying that he hoped that instead of a temple or a mosque, a hospital would come up on the disputed site.

Before and after the demolition of the Babri Masjid, various suggestions were offered on how to put an end to the controversy. A well-meaning Gandhian suggested a multi-faith centre. Another gave this idea more specificity; we should, he said, build a “Ram-Rahim Darwaza”, a large archway signifying openness and dialogue. The proposal of the young student is as noble as any other, and perhaps more practical. What could be more meaningful than a structure tending to the poor, the sick and the wounded in a place whose mythic and historic resonances once provoked riot and mass murder in the name of faith?

This week the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court was to decide who owned the title-suit to the site in Ayodhya. The court’s sitting has now been postponed; however, whatever its decision, the matter will surely be taken by one or other party to the Supreme Court. The arguments will drag on. The sangh parivar will insist that a grand Ram temple come up on the site. Muslim extremists will argue that the Babri Masjid must be rebuilt.

In my view, rather than leave the matter to the courts, the Central government should intervene decisively to end the dispute. Under the Land Acquisition Act, the State can acquire property from individuals and communities in the name of the “public purpose”. This act has been grossly abused in the recent past, to allow private companies to grab land owned by peasants and tribals. (The conflicts at Singur, Nandigram, Kashipur and Niyamgiri were all sparked by the misuse of this act.) Here now is a chance for the State to redeem itself and simultaneously to put an end to this religious — or shall we say pseudo-religious — controversy. Nothing would serve the “public purpose” better than if the government of India was to acquire the land being fought over in Ayodhya, clear it of intruders, and build a new, well-equipped and adequately staffed hospital for the residents of the town.

Mahatma Gandhi was the greatest Ram bhakt since Tulsidas; yet once he had reached adulthood, he never entered a Ram temple (or any other). Jalaluddin Rumi turned away — or was turned back — from the mosques in Herat and Kandahar. Both men knew that the path to god was independent of physical structures and self-appointed preachers. Had they been alive, I think Gandhi and Rumi would both have approved of a hospital being built at the disputed site in Ayodhya.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Gandhi Jayanti Programme, October 2, 2010

Gandhi Smarak Nidhi, Mumbai
Mani Bhavan Gandhi Sangrahalaya
Programmes for Gandhi Jayanti Week,
2nd October to 8th October 2010
at Mani Bhavan, 19 Laburnum Road, Gamdevi, Mumbai - 400 007
October 2, 2010
Mass Spinning
Mani Bhavan

Bhajans by :  

  • Smt.Geeta Yannamadi, Sarawati Vrindagan Mandal, Gamdevi.

  • SKI Jain High School , Marine Lines.

  • Balmohan Vidya Mandir, Dadar.

  • J. B. Vachcha High School, Dadar
Mani Bhavan
October 2, 2010

9.15 a.m.
Inauguration of Khadi Exhibition & Sale
Organised by Gandhi Seva Sena, Mumbai
Mani Bhavan
October 4, 2010

11:00 a.m.
Group Singing Competition of Patriotic Songs (Marathi) for Std I to IV school children
October 4, 2010

4:00 p.m.
Lecture for the tourist guides.
Mani Bhavan
October 5, 2010

11.00 a.m.
Group Singing Competition of Patriotic Songs (Hindi) for Std. I to IV school children. 
Mani Bhavan
October 6, 2010

11.00 a.m.
Singing Competition for teachers– Hindi/Marathi
Mani Bhavan
October 7, 2010
2:00 p.m.
Documentary Film on Mahatma Gandhi
Mani Bhavan
October 8, 2010

2:00 p.m.
Documentary Film on Mahatma Gandhi
Mani Bhavan

Exhibition & Sale of Khadi  at Mani Bhavan , Laburnum Road , Gamdevi, Mumbai 400007. Daily from October 2 to October 8, 2010, from 11.00 am to 6.p.m.
Screening of Gandhi Film every day at 6:00 pm at Mani Bhavan. 


Friday, August 13, 2010

15 August 1947

On 15 August 1947, India became free from the foreign rule. Mahatma Gandhi was in Calcutta. He pitted his whole soul against this madness of communal hatred and tried to calm the angry passions on both sides. Lord Mountbatten  hailed  Gandhiji as One-man Boundary Force. He wrote  : " In the Punjab we have 55 thousand soldiers and large-scale  rioting on our hands. In Bengal our forces consist of one man, and there is no rioting. As a serving officer, as well as an administrator, may I be allowed to pay my tribute to the One-man Boundary Force. "

Speaking at Prayer Meeting on 20 July 1947 , Gandhiji said : " I cannot rejoice on August 15. I do not want to deceive you. But at the same time I shall not ask you not to rejoice.Unfortunately the kind of freedom we have got today contains also the seeds of future conflict between India and Pakistan. How can we therefore light the lamps? "

A day before on 14 August, speaking at Marwari Club in Calcutta, Gandhi said : " Tomorrow we will be free from the slavery of British; but from mid-night India will be cut into two pieces."

15 August 1947, Gandhiji spent his day with prayers, fasting and spinning. He did  not issue any formal message nor did he attend the celebrations in Delhi.  Talking to the group of students, Gandhiji said : '' I am not lifted off my feet by these demonstration of joy. "

Source : Collected Works Of  Mahtama Gandhi. Vols : 88 & 89.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Gandhiji's Talisman

" I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt, or when
the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall
the face of the poorest and the weakest man whom you may have seen,
and ask yourself if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use
to him. Will he gain anything by it? Will it restore him to a control
over his own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to swaraj for
the hungry and spiritually starving millions?
Then you will find your doubts and yourself melting away." - M. K. GANDHI
August 1947

Friday, August 6, 2010

9th August 1942 - Historic Quit India Movement

 Gandhiji arriving  for the historic session of All India  Congress Committee , at  Gowalia Tank Maidan,  Mumbai on August 1942.                                                                                                             
  Despite the police warning large crowd had gathered at Gowalia Tank Maidan. Aruna Asaf Ali hoisted the Indian flag.

In March 1942, British Government sent Sir Stafford Cripps to India with proposal for a new constitution. This proposal were found unsatisfactory and were rejected both by the Congress & Muslim league.
In May 1942, Gandhi called on Britain to "leave India to God. If this is too much then leave her to anarchy."

The historic session of the All India Congress Committee began on the 7th August 1942 and was concluded after midnight of 8th/9th August 1942 at Gowalia Tank Maidan, Mumbai.

The resolution was passed unanimously. The resolution which came to be known as 'Quit India Resolution' created on 'electrifying atmosphere' in the country.

Gandhi in his stirring speech told the people "There is a mantra, short one, that I give you. You imprint it on your heart and let every breath of yours give an expression to it. The mantra is "do or die".

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Indo-Pak Shanti Yatra

Indo-Pak Shanti Yatra was  launched from Mani Bhavan on 28 July, 2010 by Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri Chagan Bhujbal. Also present were Dr. Rajan Welukar, Vice Chancellor of Mumbai University, RPI leader Shri Ramdas Athavle, Justice Chandrashekhar Dharmadikari and Dr. Shanti Patel. Students from Mumbai schools and colleges were also present at the function.
The peace march which started from Mani Bhavan, Mumbai will reach Wagah Border on 14th August, 2010.

Monday, March 8, 2010

International Women's day

On International Women's day , here is an excerpt from the speech given by Gandhiji, at an annual gathering of the Bhagini Samaj (a women’s welfare organization in Mumbai), held in the Morarji Gokuldas Hall., on February 26, 1918 . Gandhiji aroused the women from their state of detachment , to respond to the call of the National Movement.

" Woman is the companion of man, gifted with equal mental capacities. She has the right to participate in the very minutest detail in the activities of man and she has an equal right of freedom and liberty with him. She is entitled to a supreme place in her own sphere of activity as man is in his. This ought to be the natural condition of things and not as a result only of learning to read and write. By sheer force of a vicious custom, even the most ignorant and worthless men have been enjoying a superiority over women which they do not deserve and ought not to have. Many of our movements stop half-way because of the condition of our women. Much of our work does not yield appropriate results ; our lot is like that of the penny-wise and pound-foolish trader who does not employ enough capital in his business.

If I am right, a good many from among you, members of this Samaj, should go out to educate your ignorant sisters about their real condition. In practical terms, this means that you should spare as much time as you can to visit the most backward localities in Bombay and give the women there what you have yourselves received. If you have joined men in their religious, political and social activities, acquaint them with these. If you have gained any special knowledge about the bringing up of children, impart it to them. If you have studied and realized in your own experience the benefits of clean air, clean water, clean and simple food, and exercise, tell these women about them too. In this way, you will raise yourselves and them."

Friday, January 29, 2010

Martyrs' Day Programme 2010

Gandhi Smarak Nidhi & Mani Bhavan Gandhi Sangrahalaya , has organised programme for Martyrs' Day to mark 62nd Death Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on Saturday, January 30th, 2010 at Mani Bhavan, 19 Laburnum Road, Gamdevi, Mumbai - 400 007.

Programme :
7:30 am to 8:00am - Mass spinning
8:00am to 9:00 am - Prayers and Bhajans by :
.Smt. Madhavi Nanal of Gwalior Gharana.
.J.B.Vachcha High School , Dadar.
.Ammulakh Amichand B.V.Vidyalaya, Matunga.
.SVDD Secondary English Vidyalaya, Ghatkoper.

9:00am to10:30am - Gandhiji's favourite Bhajans by Smt. Madhavi Nanal.

10:30am to 2:00pm - All Religion Prayers by various religious groups and organisations.

All are cordially invited .

With regards,
Shri Vasant Pradhan, President, Mani Bhavan Gandhi Sangrahalaya.
Smt. Usha Gokani, President, Gandhi Smarak Nidhi, Mumbai.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Dr Otis Moss in Mani Bhavan

Dr. Otis Moss Jr., American theologian, civil rights leader and a member of President Obama’s advisory council. Moss is in India to give lectures on the role of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. in the development of human rights across the world. He visited Mani Bhavan Gandhi Sangrahalaya on 30th December 2009.