University of Leicester eBulletin

Grandson of Mahatma Gandhi Visits University of Leicester

December 2002

Arun Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, and founder-director of the M K Gandhi Institute for Non-Violence based in Memphis, USA, recently visited the University of Leicester to deliver a public lecture.

He also delivered a keynote address in London when he participated in a conference organised by the University of Leicester.

Arun Gandhi

Arun Gandhi was joined by speakers from the Hindu and Islamic faiths for the conference on religious fundamentalism in South Asia and how this is affecting India as a secular state.

They were participating in a conference, organised by the Institute for the Study of Indo-Pakistan Relations (INPAREL), based in the University of Leicester.

The conference took place on Saturday, November 30 in London. This was followed by an address at the University of Leicester, on Monday, December 2.

Professor Richard Bonney, Director of the centre, based in University's School of Historical Studies, said: "The conference tackled issues surrounding religious fundamentalism in South Asia. The rise of religious fundamentalism can no longer be ignored, neither in South Asia nor by the international community.

"The conference focused on the roots of fundamentalism in all faiths, what the nature of it is, with particular attention to abuses against minority religious groups in these countries, what the nature of it is and how it can be successfully combated.

"The speakers put forward propositions to combat this threat and suggested ways in which these conflicts between communities can be peacefully resolved."

Other speakers who took part in this conference are also leading experts in their fields: Dr Ram Puniyani is an expert on Hindu nationalism and religious fundamentalism and has published widely on this issue, Dr Khalid Masud is an expert on Islam in the modern world and will be tackling Muslim fundamentalism and its rise in South Asia.

On December 2, Mr Gandhi delivered the Sixth Dr L M Singhvi Lecture on Religious Pluralism. His lecture was entitled Restoring India's Secular Credentials. During his stay in Leicester he met members of the different local communities.  


Right: Arun Gandhi and  Asaf Hussein, Honorary Visiting Fellow, University of Leicester

Professor Bonney said: "His visit to our multicultural city was of major importance as the idea of peaceful relations between communities is central to this."

INPAREL, the organiser of the high-profile conference and lecture, was founded in 2001 with the aim of promoting scholarly debate and interaction on issues concerning Indo-Pakistan Relations. The Institute also aims to raise the level of public understanding about all aspects of South Asia.

A major part of its work is undertaken through the holding of academic conferences. This particular conference provides scholars with the unique opportunity to listen to Arun Gandhi, the grandson of the great Indian thinker and freedom fighter, Mahatma Gandhi. This is one of his rare visits to the Great Britain and his only public lecture in London.   Arun Gandhi with bust of his grandfather
TIME FOR REFLECTION: Arun Gandhi pauses to look at a bust of his grandfather Mahatma Gandhi. 


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Last updated: December 2002
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