17th annual Mahatma Gandhi Peace Festival in Ontario


5 October, 2009

Rajmohan Gandhi was among the speakers when hundreds of peace demonstrators walked through downtown Hamilton to support the nonviolence philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi.

Rajmohan Gandhi was among the speakers when hundreds of peace demonstrators walked through downtown Hamilton to support the nonviolence philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi.

He talked about the Gandhi principle of "Swadeshi," the idea of strengthening communities by making them more self-sufficient. An example in Hamilton would be campaigns to encourage buying local food rather than depending on imported supplies from the south.

He also said people who are serious about peace must play a role in eradicating suspicion and prejudice between Muslim and non-Muslim worlds.

He said current tension in some ways is more troubling than animosities during the Cold War. The fight then was between governments, whereas today anxieties are between people.

"Many in the so-called Muslim world feel the western world is against them. They think something is wrong with the western world.

"In many parts of the western world there is a deep feeling against Muslims as a people ... not just about the governments, but about the people of those countries.

"People who are serious about peace must play a role in building bridges between both sides."

One positive local example of bringing sides together is an ambitious and successful "peace project" at the Six Nations Reserve.

New book

Researched in India, Pakistan and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Rajmohan Gandhi's latest book narrates a 240-year story of what old-timers know as undivided Punjab, beginning with the 1707 death of Emperor Aurangzeb and ending with the 1947 division into West Punjab and East Punjab. More