Happy Gandhi Birthday, Bapu We Still Love You!

Original Post Source: Gandhi Legacy Tour Blog 

Today, October 2nd, is the Gandhi Birthday…

To all my personal friends and friends of my late grandfather Mohandas ‘Mahatma’ Gandhi I send warm regards and best wishes from my home in Rochester, New York.  I have been encouraged by many to continue writing an annual message on the day of Grandfather’s birthday, October 2nd (1896 – 1948). This date is now know as the United Nations International Day of Nonviolence which was designated by the U.N. to acknowledge Mohandas ‘Mahatma’ Gandhi each year. 

I continue to write this annual message and I now share this with you and those who hold dear the wisdom, and benefit from the philosophy and message of Mahatma Gandhi.

[Editor’s note: The Gandhi Legacy Tour 2013-14 led by Arun Gandhi still has only a few remaining openings that will be available for a very short time – less than 14 days from this publication.  Don’t miss out!]

Celebrating Gandhi Birthday

Bapu, we still love you!

On a previous Gandhi birthday I received a letter from an Indian friend who lived for many years in Britain and San Diego and recently decided to go back to India to take back home the Gandhi legacy “Become the change you wish to see in the world.” Like millions before him he is disillusioned. He has not been able to find Gandhi in the new India. Of course, Gandhi’s image adorns all the currency notes, there are statues in town squares and every city and town has a “Mahatma Gandhi Road.” Lip service is paid to Gandhiji’s memory on his birthday and his death anniversary.

The Gandhi Birthday is Not Forgotten

But, thankfully, the Gandhi birthday is not forgotten by everyone. He still lives and influences people in small towns and villages of India where common people are quietly bringing about a change that Gandhi talked about. Hardcore, Khadi-wearing “Gandhi’ans” will not recognize these individuals as followers of Gandhi’s traditions. But Gandhi was not about wearing Khadi and dogmatically using Gandhi’s writings as the blueprint for change. Gandhi encouraged people to use their wisdom and imagination to do what is necessary to bring about a change. Gandhi wanted his writings to be burnt on his pyre because he did not wish to leave behind a dogma.

Fifteen years ago I went in search of Gandhi’s soul and I knew I would not find it in the modern westernized, materialistic cities of India so I travelled through the villages and found hundreds of interesting organizations quietly changing society one person at a time. I decided to share my findings with people who were interested in joining me in a Gandhi Legacy Tour from December 29 to January 14. Over the years hundreds have come and were impressed by the amazing sacrifices that young people have made to help the poor and the destitute. Perhaps, that is as it should be because Gandhi always believed true India existed in its 600,000 villages, not in the cities! Bapu will always be there wiping the tears and tending the wounds of the forgotten humanity dismissed by urban gentry as the “dregs of society.”

Happy Gandhi Birthday, Bapu!

Gandhi Day: Gandhi’s Poignant Legacy

Gandhi Birthday Flowers

Children offer flowers to Mahatma Gandhi statue on His birth anniversary in Shimla India

 

On the 143rd birth anniversary of my grandfather I am reminded of a poignant statement he made to a journalist who asked: What do you think will happen with your philosophy after you die? With sadness in his voice he said: “The people will follow me in life, worship me in death but not make my cause their cause.” How right he was!

We have either rejected the philosophy of nonviolence as impractical or we have reduced it to a weapon of convenience and misused it. The philosophy is about personal transformation changing greed, anger, frustration and other negative attitudes into love, respect, compassion, understanding and acceptance. We have the capacity to act either way but we chose to suppress the positive and display the negative in order to project ourselves as powerful. What we forget is that the greatest power in the world is LOVE. It is also the basis of all civilization. We are materially wealthy, but morally bankrupt. Can we Become the Change We Wish To See In The World?

Arun M. Gandhi
www.gandhiforchildren.org – Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute
www.gandhitour.info – Gandhi Legacy Tour
www.arungandhi.net – Arun M. Gandhi

 

Gandhi Center for Learning, Kohlapur, India

www.gandhiforchildren.org

“If you want to be inspired, see how these beautiful children of India are rising above poverty toward lives of health, joy and contributions to society. Arun Gandhi and his foundation are supporting the building of a school for some amazing kids in Kolhapur, India. If it were not for the efforts of teachers and organizers steeped in Gandhian principles they could easily have falllen victim to endemic hunger, child slavery and child labor. Our thanks to Arun Gandhi, Anuradha Bhosale, Scott Kafora and many others for continuing the compassionate healing work of Mohandas Gandhi.” – Kell Kearns and Cynthia Lukas, Globalized Soul

GEMS IN THE GARBAGE

GEMS IN THE GARBAGE

By Arun Gandhi

Between 1975 and 1983 my late wife, Sunanda, and I rescued and rehabilitated 123 abandoned new-born babies found on garbage dumps around Mumbai, an Indian megalopolis. Tragically, this is an on-going phenomenon and even today babies are found abandoned on the streets by unwed mothers or her relatives. Why they choose to abandon these babies on garbage heaps is a conundrum I have not been able to resolve. Perhaps, they think the result of an illegitimate relationship is not just an embarrassment but garbage that must be disposed off.

Whatever, this is the story of one, scrawny, little baby girl out of the 123, who was later named Sonali, was days old, malnourished, wrapped in a piece of white cotton cloth and left besides a garbage dump in Byculla, a suburb of Mumbai. After rescuing so many finding Sonali no longer shocked me. I called the police and together we took her to the Government Remand Home nearby where the doctor was skeptical about her chances of survival. But, Sonali was a fighter. Within weeks she recovered and reached her normal baby weight.

While Sonali was recouping at the Remand Home, we received through a friend a request for a baby from a couple who live in Paris, France. We were a bit skeptical for several reasons: first, the couple was unable to communicate because they knew not a word of English; second, we had decided to keep in touch with the families. However, because of the mutual friend we relented and decided to send Sonali to France after all the legal formalities were done and the Mumbai High Court approved the adoption. [Read more…]