Recently I hosted Tushar Gandhi and his lovely wife Sonal during their brief visit to Las Vegas, and as we dined on fine Indian cuisine at the wonderful Gandhi Cuisine restaurant the discussion turned to the subject of Gandhi’s teachers. For our memorable evening we were joined by the eminent UNLV Gandhi scholar, Satish Sharma, who authored four books on that very subject. Gandhi had four prominent early teachers that helped shape his perennial philosophy of Peace: Rajchandra Ravjibhai Mehta from India, Leo Tolstoy from Russia, John Ruskin from England, and Henry David Thoreau from America.
Dr. Sharma shared that his earliest memories related to the idea of peace and nonviolence went back to childhood days and that “I have always favored pacifist tendencies and orientations, and practiced them.” With that orientation, it was only a matter of time that Dr. Sharma would become interested in the pacifists and peace-makers like Gandhi and others. Dr. Sharma adds that through his works he simply wanted people to think of Gandhi, his teachers, and their peace principles. He says: “You have to pay attention to peace and pacifism, you have to believe that without peace and pacifism your lives are going to be miserable, and nations’ lives are going to be miserable too.”
Dr. Sharma’s works on Gandhi’s teachers certainly add to that discussion. For the world, he says: “Ultimately the world is to be guided not by political leaders, but by visionaries. Ideas are much stronger than policies and planning. Ideas make the world go around. And only if they are peaceful ideas, are they going to work.”
UNLV co-sponsored Dr. Sharma’s research along with his publisher – Gujarat Vidyapith, Ahmedabad, India in which we visit on the Gandhi Legacy Tour of India. His four-book series, published respectively in 2005, 2009, 2011, and 2013.
Basic information about the five visionaries, what they were known for, and what were their main lessons that considerably impacted societies all around the world.
[Side note: Dr. Sharma invited Lynnea Bylund to talk to his students about the work of Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute and Gandhi Legacy Tour at UNLV on September 21, 2015 (International Peace Day). His graduate level course is: Issues in Diversity and Developing Multicultural Competence.]