Introductory Talk at the Gandhi Conference organized by HSC
Good morning and welcome to all who have gathered today. My name is
Abhijit Ghosh and I am Maudhu Goel. In Robert Frost's poem, the narrator
is faced with the choice of two paths. Both of which were equal in
promise and magnitude. His decison was not simply based on instinct but
on keen forsight of the results from his chosen path. With each obstacle
overcome, he took one more step down the path to where Truth awaits with
arms outstretched. Gandhi was able to progress down the chosen path to
reach an enlightenment which shines as an example for all to follow.
By gathering here today, we have all taken the same step
together. As we all approach this crossroads of our destiny, let us ask
why we have come here. Have we been touched by Mahatma Gandhi's dream and
memories? Or have we come here to listen to to speakers discuss Gandhi's
philosophy's and ideology? Perhaps it is both or neither but in the end,
this is a moot point. Gandhi had a dream of people surging forwards with
hands linked in unity with each one of us carrying a smile of peace and
understanding. Today we take that first step. We do not have much, just
our individuality. Yet a group of individuals coalesced into one is an
As individuals, we each search for an underlying peace withing.
It is obscure but we allow ourselves to think, search, and look for
answers. This path excludes none regardless of race or culture. For in
the end, we are all destined to find the everlasting harmony that
encompasses our lives and essence of existence. Along our jounrey,
storms of discontent, racism, and violence will visit our lives
periodically. And perhaps there might be broken glass littered on our
path. Glass of hatred, greed, and self indulgence try to influence us to
diverge from our path.. Yet there will also be green grass underfoot. A
grass built from pure friendship from simply undertanding and accepting
each other surround us.. A collected group searching for the same higher
plane of existance. Gandhi and his followers were pioneers of this path
and have left torches of hope for us to follow. In the end, we search for
the truth. Yet the value of finding the harmony goes unrewarded unless we
all continue for "The Search for Truth through our Unity".
So my friends, we could stop and be persuaded by the storm and
glass surrounding our lives to leave the path. But I hope we keep going
through. I see grass extending for miles.
In his childhood, Gandhi forsaked deceit for truth. This desire
for individuality and purity remained strong throughout his development.
He went through a phase like we all do of rebellion marked by secret
atheism, petty theft, furtive smiking and most shocking of a boy born of
a Vaisnawa faily: meat eating. For each transgression, he made a
promise. "Never again". Beneath a calm exterior, he concealed a burning
passion for self-improvement.
In Gandhi's early adulthood, he travlled to England to study.
During his stay, he was greatly influenced by a club called London
Vegeterian Soceity. Through this interaction, a message of living simply
and a superiority of moral conviction in the strenght of goodness became
enscribed in Gandhi's faith. Later in Gandhi's life, he journeyed to
Africa to practice law. He faced a storm of prejudice in the world and
understood the plight of the poor and the weak. Yet he chose not to
return the arrow of hatred with violence. "Non Violence is the first
article of my faith. It is also the last article of my faith."
The birth of Satayagraha was born by Gandhi. It was used a tool
for redressing wrongs through inviting and gentle persistance rather than
inflicting the adversary with harm. The enemy was not to be hated but to
be understood. People would not react with rancor or bitterness. These
concepts began gaining strength in the minds of many. A power whose
fundamental strength lies in the will of us all to to hold on to the
truth burnt strong in the hearts of many then and now. This perception of
equality permeates Gandhi's thoughts and actions. He chose his path as
Truth lit the way toward enlightenment. Upon his embrace with Truth, a
deeper harmony coarsed through Gandhi's blood and he wished to share this
glow with all in the world.
Gandhi was one of the most influential figures of the 20th
century. Dozens of movements sparked by Gandhi's philosophies and
ideoligies have sparked the onslaught against injustice and racism.
Martin Luther King, one of the most respected civil right's leader of our
era preached the same concepts of Gandhi. Albert Einstein once remarked
that non violence is the perfect antidoe for the violence unleashed by
the atom. Today we would like to introduce you to a few people who have
been influenced by the "Great Soul", Mahatma Gandhi. Our first speaker