Author Dialogues Gandhi

By Fiza Najeeb

Known as a journalist, author, political activist and research
professor at the Centre for Policy Studies in New Delhi, India,
Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, spoke at Cal Poly on

The Ahimsa Center hosted the dialogue entitled “A New
Perspective on Gandhi for a New Century.”

Gandhi’s new book “Mohandas: a True Story of a Man, his People,
and an Empire” has recently been published in India. He is a former
member of the upper house of the Indian Parliament, and is
currently a jury member and a co-chair for the Nuremberg
International Human Rights Award.

In his dialogue, Rajmohan Gandhi explained the importance of the
word Ahimsa, which means “non-violence.”

He told the audience how his grandfather, Mahatma Gandhi, not
only popularized the word “Ahimsa,” but additionally, added the
words “love” and “struggle” to the meaning.

When asked why he refers to Ahimsa as “non-violence” and not
simply “love,” which implies a more positive meaning, Gandhi
stated, “Love itself does not convey a sense of struggle, if there
is injustice, you have to fight for it and you have to struggle for

“I liked the fact [the speaker] brought out examples from
Gandhi’s life, and pointed out what we can do to continue his
positive legacy,” said second-year architecture student Naruki

As the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Rajmohan Gandhi was able to
give the audience a first hand account on the biography of his

He explained how Mahatma Gandhi was not only a politician, but
also a spiritual person. Mahatma Gandhi preached to his people that
“they should fight the enemy, and also love the enemy.”

In the dialogue, Rajmohan Gandhi was also able to enlighten the
audience on Mahatma Gandhi’s view on violent action.

“All life is one, and when you kill someone, you kill a part of
yourself,'” said Rajmohan of Mahatma. “He also told us that ‘all
human beings are fallible (…) we all make mistakes. None of us
can say that the mistakes of “x” are so egregious that “x” should
be executed.'”

An idea Rajmohan Gandhi had regarding conflicts in Palestine
was, “A nonviolent struggle for Palestinian rights could win global
opinion much more than a violent struggle.”

“[If I could speak to the President] I would say, ‘Mr.
President, you say that every soul in the world has the same value,
and I feel for every single American who has lost their life, [but]
why shouldn’t the Americans also be conscious of every single Iraqi
that has perished,'” said Rajmohan Gandhi. “You say that President
Lincoln was a (great) president (…) and in the spirit of Lincoln,
will you unite the western world with the Islamic world?”

Rajmohan Gandhi offered this advice to students: “First of all,
I would like students to reflect upon what I have said. Second of
all, I would like them to develop an action project based on
genuine conviction (…) identify in your area an issue that needs
a struggle and see what you can do about it.”

Fiza Najeeb can be reached by e-mail at or
by phone at (909) 869-3747.

Author Dialogues Gandhi

a True Story of a Man, his People, and an Empire.”

Author Dialogues Gandhi

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