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Let peace be with you

By Rachael Espinet Thursday, June 19 2014

click on pic to zoom in
Welcome to TT: Inter-Religious Organisation president Harripersad Maharaj welcomes Ela Gandhi, granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, at the Raja Yoga Centr...
Welcome to TT: Inter-Religious Organisation president Harripersad Maharaj welcomes Ela Gandhi, granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, at the Raja Yoga Centr...

Ela Gandhi, the 74-year-old granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, says people should apply her grandfather’s message of non-violence to their everyday problems so the future generation can live in a more peaceful space.

Gandhi said this yesterday at the Raja Yoga Centre, on Sackville Street, Port-of-Spain.

“How do you interpret these ideas and apply it to our present day problems? Wisdom brings about change. If you are going to leave any legacy for your grandchildren, then you need to do the change now,” Gandhi said.

Gandhi is visiting Trinidad for the first time as part of the Inter Religious Organisation (IRO) and the Brahma Kumaris Raja Yoga Centre conference called “Is Ancient Wisdom and Spirituality the Answer to Resolving the Issues of Modern Times?” at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain.

Gandhi, a retired South African politician, will give a presentation today on the responsibility politicians have in the break down of society, and if the method applied by Mahatma Gandhi can be successfully applied in today’s society.

Gandhi is the daughter of Manilal Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi’s second son, and Sushila Mashruwala. Ghandi was a Member of Parliament in South Africa from 1994 to 2004, where she aligned with the African National Congress (ANC) party. Mahatma Gandhi, born on October 2, 1869, was a leader of Indian nationalism in British-ruled India, who advocated nonviolent civil disobedience. He led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. He was assassinated on January 30, 1948.

Gandhi said many people view her grandfather’s life and legacy in one of four ways. Either they criticise Mahatma Gandhi stating that he was an idealist. Or they misinterpret and misrepresent his ideas and state that he is not worth following. Or they praise him as a spiritual leader who was born unique. However, Gandhi said her grandfather was a human being like everyone else and everyone is capable of creating meaningful change.

Gandhi said the fourth way people see her grandfather’s life was through the lessons that he taught. She said people, including world leaders such as Burmese politician and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Mandela late President of South Africa, have followed her grandfather’s life lessons.

“I believe that the truth and wisdom of his ideas are being appreciated more than before. More and more people are listening to the wisdom that he was saying. Nelson Mandela said he was inspired by Gandhi while he was in Robben Island,” Gandhi said.

Echoing her grandfather’s famous quote, “You must be the change you want to see in the world,” Gandhi said each person has the potential to be agents of change in their society, but they first must be an example of the positive change.

Speaking on her grandfather’s legacy, she said her family’s bloodline is not the only way her grandfather’s legacy lives on, but through the people who want to make a difference in the world.

She further stated each person in the world should be aware of the legacy they want to leave for their children and grandchildren. Gandhi said the legacy is not simply an inheritance or property, but inheritance of the earth. She posed the question of what kind of earth the future generation will live in, and said this generation has the ability to improve the state of the world.

She further stated that many times positive things that happen in the world does not get noticed because “what bleeds leads,” so the media solely places crime in the fore instead of people who do “great deeds” daily like Mother Theresa.

Before speaking to the media, Gandhi paid courtesy calls to President Anthony Carmona and Chief Justice Ivor Archie.

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