Thursday, June 29, 2006

Gandhi picture

In Salzburg, I also presented a picture of Mahatma Gandhi to the Salzburg Seminar (an American institute, with which I have been associated since 1992). The picture is of Gandhi crossing a bamboo foot-bridge over a creek in Noakahali (now in Bangladesh), where he spent 4 months in late 1946-early 1947, trying to bring peace to the communal violence afflicted district. This picture will be put up at the magnificent library of Salzburg Seminar.

In an article some years ago, Andrew Whitehead, who made a BBC Radio series on the partition of India, wrote: "Gandhi visited dozens of villages in his four months in the area. ... his calming presence and message, the concern he showed for both communities, and the sight of India's foremost leader, barefoot, negotiating the narrow bamboo bridges, had an immense impact."

Just a couple of years ago, I learnt from an elderly uncle of mine in London that he had been in the group of peace workers who had accompanied Gandhi to Noakhali. Some of them also stayed back to work and live there.

I thought about an appropriate quote from Gandhi to accompany this pic. That was quite difficult! But I did find one: "Peace between countries must rest on the solid foundation of love between individuals". I think that is marvellously fitting, for the Salzburg Seminar! (It is also virtually identical to the counsel of the Buddha to his friend and disciple, King Prasenjit, on the conduct of foreign policy.)

May peace and love prevail on earth!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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