Recently I hosted Tushar Gandhi and his lovely wife Sonal during their brief visit to Las Vegas, and as we dined on fine Indian cuisine at the wonderful Gandhi Cuisine restaurant the discussion turned to the subject of Gandhi’s teachers. For our memorable evening we were joined by the eminent UNLV Gandhi scholar, Satish Sharma, who authored four books on that very subject. Gandhi had four prominent early teachers that helped shape his perennial philosophy of Peace: Rajchandra Ravjibhai Mehta from India, Leo Tolstoy from Russia, John Ruskin from England, and Henry David Thoreau from America.
Dr. Sharma shared that his earliest memories related to the idea of peace and nonviolence went back to childhood days and that “I have always favored pacifist tendencies and orientations, and practiced them.” With that orientation, it was only a matter of time that Dr. Sharma would become interested in the pacifists and peace-makers like Gandhi and others. Dr. Sharma adds that through his works he simply wanted people to think of Gandhi, his teachers, and their peace principles. He says: “You have to pay attention to peace and pacifism, you have to believe that without peace and pacifism your lives are going to be miserable, and nations’ lives are going to be miserable too.”
Dr. Sharma’s works on Gandhi’s teachers certainly add to that discussion. For the world, he says: “Ultimately the world is to be guided not by political leaders, but by visionaries. Ideas are much stronger than policies and planning. Ideas make the world go around. And only if they are peaceful ideas, are they going to work.”
UNLV co-sponsored Dr. Sharma’s research along with his publisher – Gujarat Vidyapith, Ahmedabad, India in which we visit on the Gandhi Legacy Tour of India. His four-book series, published respectively in 2005, 2009, 2011, and 2013.
Basic information about the five visionaries, what they were known for, and what were their main lessons that considerably impacted societies all around the world.
[Side note: Dr. Sharma invited Lynnea Bylund to talk to his students about the work of Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute and Gandhi Legacy Tour at UNLV on September 21, 2015 (International Peace Day). His graduate level course is: Issues in Diversity and Developing Multicultural Competence.]
Arun Gandhi is often asked during his speaking engagements and legacy tours what he says in “high-level” meetings to political leaders and he responds, “the same things I’m saying to you.” The following webtv video provides a perfect example of this during his recent address at a high-level United Nations forum in New York.
In Arun Gandhi’s opening remarks, he said there is need to stop “exploiting people, religion, to gain our goals and ambitions. That is only the way we can bring peace through non-violence.” World peace cannot be achieved unless individuals accept non-violence as a way of life, according to Arun Gandhi, grandson of the late Mahatma Gandhi.
Arun Gandhi was invited by UN General Assembly President Sam Kutesa to address a high-level UN forum declaring a New Culture of Peace on September 9, 2015 in New York.
Bank-Ki Moon sat next to Arun Gandhi during his address. “Mahatma Gandhi proved that the culture of peace can change the course of history. Let us carry on this legacy until we end the terrible suffering in our world and establish lasting peace,” the UN Secretary General said in his remarks to the General Assembly high-level forum on Culture of Peace.
Ban-Ki Moon recalled his visit to India in January this year, during when he had visited the Sabarmati Ashram. “It was a privilege to tour the ashram…I recalled Gandhi’s stern warning that, ‘There will be no lasting peace on earth unless we learn not merely to tolerate but even to respect the other faiths as our own’,” the UN Chief said.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to share a message of peace with you all today,” said Arun Gandhi
See video and hear Arun Gandhi’s full remarks at:
UN WebTv: Mahatma Gandhi’s 5th Grandson Arun Gandhi Gives Keynote Speech at India: General Assembly 69th Session High-Level Forum on a Culture of Peace
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Lynnea Bylund is managing director of Gandhi Legacy Tours, Director of Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute, founder of Catalyst House and has nearly three decades of experience in administration, marketing and business development. She was a nationally recognized spokeswoman for the emerging alternative video and information delivery industries. She has a degree in holistic health-nutrition from the legendary and controversial health educator and activist Dr. Kurt Donsbach, she is the founder of two not-for-profit small business-based wireless trade associations and has lobbied on Capitol Hill and at the FCC where she has spoken out strongly against the cable TV monopoly, illegal spectrum warehousing and ill-conceived congressional schemes to auction our nation’s precious airwaves to the highest bidder.
Ms. Bylund is a founder and former CEO of a Washington DC telecommunications consulting and management company with holdings in several operating and developmental wireless communications systems and companies. In 1995 Lynnea became the first female in the world to be awarded a Broadband PCS operating permit – she was one of only 17 winners, along with Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon in the biggest cash auction in world history, raising a whopping $8 billion. Lynnea also spear-headed the successful effort to launch the first cable TV network in the South Pacific islands.