Equality, liberty under threat: Gandhi's grandson

Equality, liberty under threat: Gandhi's grandson

Writer Meenakshi Mysuru greets Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, during the inaugural ceremony of a workshop ‘Madhyama-Prajasatthe’, organised by Gandhi Study Centre, University of Mysore (UoM), and Gandhi Vichara Parishat in Mysuru on Saturday. UoM Vice Chancellor G Hemantha Kumar is seen. (Right) Participants seen at the workshop. dh photos

Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, on Saturday, said that equality, liberty and mutual respect is under threat, but the notion of supremacy is becoming popular all over.

He was speaking to reporters, after the inaugural ceremony of a two-day national workshop on Madhyama-Prajasatthe’ (Media: Democracy), organised by Gandhi Study Centre, University of Mysore (UoM), and Gandhi Vichara Parishat, here.

He said that about 15 years ago, the world agreed that equality, liberty, fraternity were wonderful things and respected. “Over the last 15 years, there is a new idea and supremacy has become important than democracy, equality and liberty. In America, the whites should be supreme, in India a group should be supreme. A section of Hindus in India claim that the country belongs to them,” he said.

He said, “Gandhi had said that India belongs to all, Muslims, Christians, Hindus. Today, India, as well as the world, is facing the challenge of domination and devastation.”

According to Rajmohan Gandhi, only Mahatma Gandhi and Abdul Ghaffar Khan, an Afghan political leader, opposed partition of India. “He had many followers and his supporters were killed by extremists in Pakistan. But, no Indian media carried the news,” he said.

‘Gandhi, active journo’

Speaking about Gandhi’s career, he said, “Gandhi was an active and competent journalist for 45 long years. He was not a freedom fighter throughout. Gandhi had launched a newspaper in South Africa 1903 ‘Indian Opinion’ in four languages. He continued to write till his last day, when he died in 1948. Gandhi’s never ending profession was journalism.”

“When Gandhi was convicted for six years in Ahmedabad in 1922, he appeared before a judge and he described his profession as farmer and a weaver. Weaver was regarded as an untouchable in Gujarat at that time. Gandhi wanted to claim that he connected to the untouchables,” Rajmohan Gandhi said.

Britishers and the government in South Africa tried to suppress his newspaper. In India, in 1940, Gandhi launched Individual Civil Disobedience Movement and only dedicated individuals were invited. The first satyagrahi selected was Acharya Vinoba Bhave and the second was Jawahar Lal Nehru. They both led the movement and were arrested. The British did not allow Gandhi to publish the news. Gandhi told that he will suspend the publication.

Before the suspension, Gandhi wrote, “Let everyone become his own walking newspaper and carry the good news from mouth to mouth. The idea here is of me telling a neighbour what I have authentically heard. This, no government can overtake or suppress. It is the cheapest newspaper yet devised and it defies the wit of the government, however, clever it may be. Let these walking newspapers be sure of the news they give.”

University of Mysore Vice Chancellor G Hemantha Kumar, Registrar R Shivappa, activist Pa Mallesh, and former minister H C Mahadevappa were present.

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