We are fortunate to participate in a panel session on relevance of Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings in in today’s Society. Panelists were Arvind Thakur, Nemy Banthia, Kamal Sharma and Arun Garg on Wed Sept 30 2020 4pm.
The session was chaired by Hon Consul Gen Maneesh ji and hosted by Consul Manjeesh Grover.
Following are Talking Notes of Arun K Garg MD
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi or popularly knowns as Mahatma Gandhi and for us growing post-independence simply BAPU ji
He instilled and provided us with self-confidence and self-belief that anything is possible, if you set your mind to it and India and Indians can do it, to me that was a big message as I have travelled my life journey.
His accomplishments are omnipotent and universal, his values and principles are guiding light for humanity.
The words of Albert Einstein sums up the best
“Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this, ever in flash and blood, walked upon this earth “
Given my background and passion for healthy civil society, have chosen HEALTH and Leadership and as COVID shows us without HEALTH we are paralyzed.
These are interrelated and form basis of Integrative HEALTH
His teachings are as relevant today as they were in early 20th century. His book The GITA according to Gandhi The gospel of selfless action is lightning rod and a must read
“It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves honored by the humiliation of fellow beings”
This is so relevant todays at the time of Black lives matter; Systemic racism, great divide of USA, closer to India fabric of very India. His words are guiding post.
“Without devotion, Action and knowledge are cold and dry and may even become shackles”
Further he said “Even as truth is eternal, so is bliss derived from it. Hence we know GOD as Sat-chit- Ananda, one who combines in himself TRUTH, KNOWLEDGE and BLISS”
Further he said “Where there is no TRUTH there can be no true knowledge. That is why the word CHIT or knowledge is associated with the name of GOD. And where there is true knowledge there is always bliss (Ananda). Sorrow has no place.
In modern times and to me it is
INTEGRATIVE LEADERDHIP- FUSION OF best of EAST and BEST of WEST- Its relevance how we govern our self, how we live our lives, and how we treat each other
We have a collaborative project with LEADS Global and Canada India Network Society on INTEGRATIVE LEADERSHIP where domains of LEADS
L for lead one’s self; E for engaging others, A achieve results, D develop collaboration and S system sustainability is linked to
Raj code as codified by Rishi Patanjali, as foundation of the house
Bhakti, Karma and Jap Yog as post holding the house
And Gyan Yog as the roof
This is best of EAST and West, that why GANDHI is relevant He says
“My world is whole world or nothing “
Maha Upnishad VI-72
“Vasudhshaiva Kutumbakam”- The World is a family
To sum up in his words “where there is no TRUTH, there can be no true knowledge, That is why the word CHIT or knowledge is associated with the name of GOD and where there is true knowledge, there is always bliss (Ananda. Sorrow has no place.”
This is GYAN YOG, 5th of Yogs and it is S of LEADS, most relevant today for harmony, happiness and success
“No man whose character is not pure can be said to be really healthy; the body which contains a diseased MIND can never be anything but diseased”
“A pure character is the foundation of HEALTH in the real sense of the term, and we say that all evil thoughts and evil passions are but different forms of disease”
This is very relevant in term of post covid and role of Integrative HEALTH where holistic approach to pathophysiology, Biochemistry and disease is applied. Mind, Body and intellect becomes one, like symphony of Music and players, Conductor and Produced work in in harmony. This is very relevant to POST COVID in being healthy. I have coined 5 Ps Prevention; Protection, Promotion of Health, Prayers to declutter the mind, Philanthropy to connect and care of others.
Now coming to my favorite passion of FOOD and Health,” Food is thy Medicine” and influences 80 % of chronic health issues.
Gandhiji was very direct and prescriptive, more than many other areas.
“ One should eat not in order to please the palate, but just to keep the body going, when each organ of sense sub serves the body and through the body the soul, its special relish disappears and then alone does it begins to function the way nature intended it to do”
“There is great deal of truth in the saying that man becomes what he eats. The grosser the food, the grosser the body”
“if we eat only to sustain the body as an instrument of His service , not only will it make our bodies and mind healthy and clean , but the inner cleanliness will be reflected in our surroundings also”
In today’s world it means I have coined
“You are: When you eat, why you eat, what you eat, how much you eat and how you eat (5 Ks of eating Kab, Kioyo Kiya, Kitna, and Kese)
U Tube – and face book – videos Canada India Network Society
I close with my homage to BAPU
With his words “If I am to die by the bullet of a mad man, I must do so smiling. There must be no anger within me. God must be in my heart and on my lips. And you promise me one thing. Should such a thing happen, you are not to shed one tear Jan28 1948
He was assassinated on January 30 1948 with last words He Ram O GOD
We celebrate his 150 years birth anniversary with a commitment to build healthy civil society, vision adopted by Canada India network Society
Thanks to Hon Consul General Manish ji, Counsel Groverji Vancouver Consulate staff and Govt of India for the opportunity to share my thoughts
Arun K Garg PhD.MD
Following are Talking Notes of Dr. Nemy Banthia:
Consul General Manish, My wonderful panelists, and people watching this on FaceBook: Good Afternoon and thank you for the opportunity.
Given the current political unrest from Minneapolis to Minsk, I am reminded of what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said of Mahatma: If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable. He lived, thought, acted and inspired by the vision of humanity evolving toward a world of peace and harmony.”
I want to talk about three Gandhian principles are even more relevant today than ever before.
1. Non-Violence: Gandhi Ji defined it as ‘Refraining from the intention of causing physical and psychological pain to any living being, and the conscious integration of compassion into every aspect of daily life.
Gandhiji was an ardent believer in Jainism which believe that nonviolence is not only by actions (kaya) but also by mind (mana) and vachana (speech).
Women and children are most susceptible. 1 in 3 women have experienced – physical or sexual violence, and globally, it is estimated that up to 1 billion children aged 2–17 years, have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence or neglect in the past year. These are sad statistics.
2. Courage in the face of adversity: Mahatma faced it many times and I want to recount a story from his book The Story of My Experiments with Truth.
On 7 June 1893, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, then a young barrister, was on his way from Durban to Pretoria. When the train came to a stop in Pietermaritzburg, Gandhi was ordered by the conductor to move from the first-class carriage (reserved for white passengers) where he was sitting, to the van compartment for lower-class travelers. When Gandhi refused, showing the conductor his first-class ticket, he was evicted unceremoniously from the train.
This incident changed the course of his life. Gandhi spent that cold winter night in the station’s tiny, unheated waiting room. But then took an oath to fight oppression, discrimination and slavery. This grit of the Mahatma not only gave us a free India, but also made strides towards restoring the rights of the Harijans, women and those powerless and vulnerable.
3. Social Equality
Recent estimates for global poverty are that 8.6% of the world, or nearly a billion people, live in extreme poverty on $2 or less a day, according to the World Bank.
Even when you consider Covid19, poor black and brown people are up to 5 times more likely to die from Covid19.
In Canada, 1 in 7 (or 5 million) people in Canada live in poverty. Most of these live in our First Nations Communities without clean water, poor connectivity lack of sanitation and non-existent healthcare.
I personally believe that new technology and innovation will solve our problems like climate change and will eventually be the greatest equalizer of all. Unfortunately, most university or corporate research these days is catering to the rich segment of the world population. Today world spends 8 times more funds in finding a cure for the affluent maladies such as Type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease than poor world’s diseases such as AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.
We must become the change we want to see in the world. — Mahatma Gandhi
Based on this teaching of Gandhi Ji, I want to very briefly describe the work of our Center IC-IMPACTS. It’s a university-based center developing highly advanced technologies, but its focus is on placing these technologies in poorer rural communities in India and communities in First Nations in Canada.
There are many examples of our work, but my favorite is a self-healing road that we built in the village of Thondebhavi, Karnataka, India. Thondebhavi is a poor community of around 4000 that had only dirt roads. During the months of monsoon, these roads transform the whole village into a swamp breeding mosquitoes. The road transformed this agricultural community and increased its per capita income by over 60% in two years. That’s transformation towards social equality.
The other example, if I may cite, is an advanced water treatment unit we installed in Litton, BC that finally lifted the boiled water advisory after 18 years and reduced childhood absenteeism from schools by nearly 30%.
In closing: what I would like to suggest is a radical shift in the thinking of my academic research colleagues in science and engineering. Let a portion of our work be dedicated to developing solutions for the low-resource communities. And let this be done while maintaining the highest standards of performance, safety, aesthetics, and longevity. This is the only way we can transform the world and make growth inclusive and equitable.
Thank you very much for listening to me.