Indian High Commission in association with FINACT hosts a talk by Prof Gandhi on Wed 13 March

Dear All,

Prof. Rajmohan Gandhi, one of India’s foremost historians, will be at the ANU between 9th March and 15thMarch as CAP Distinguished Visitor.

Prof. Gandhi is a grandson of Mahatma Gandhi.  His other grandfather was C. Rajagopalachari, the first and only Indian Governor General of India. 

The Indian High Commission in association with FINACT is hosting a talk by Professor Gandhi on Wednesday 13/3/13.

The talk will be on “Brief reflections on Indian Democracy” 

If you wish to attend this talk please email [email protected] for more information.

His talks at the ANU are as follows. Please publicise these widely amongst your association and wider community.

Tue, 12 March – from 3-5pm

Thu, 14 March – from 3-5pm

Fri, 15 March – from 5-6.30pm
Venue: Coombs Extension Room 1.04.  A brief description of the lectures and a short bio of Prof. Gandhi follow. Professor Gandhi’s visit has been made possible by a grant from the ResearchSchoolof Asia and the Pacific, ANU.

12 March: India‘s 1857 Revolt and the American Civil War. What Americans in 1857-1858 thought of India’s Revolt and what Indians in the early 1860s thought of the American Civil War and slavery in the United  States will be among the questions addressed. Also, were there connections or similarities between these two back-to-back events? What Indian intellectuals in the 1860s and 1870s thought of the 1857 Revolt and how Indian thinking in the rest of the 19th century was shaped by the two events are also examined.

14 March: Lincoln and Gandhi.
Disputes over the unity of their respective countries —  over the relationship between major population groups —  resulted in the assassinations (separated by 83 years) of both Lincoln and Gandhi. I will ask what was common and what was dissimilar in the personalities and approaches of the two.

15 March: Understanding Punjab‘s 1947 Partition.
India’s 1947 partition was in fact the partition of two immense provinces: Bengaland Punjab. Focusing on Punjab, the lecture will address two distinct questions. One is that of Punjab’s historical background, including the period preceding British rule, when Punjab’s Sikh minority rather than its Muslim majority controlled the region. Why this happened, and how during Britain’s century-long rule over Punjabits unity was both enhanced and undermined will be addressed.  Secondly, the lecture will ask why great carnage and an immense two-way migration accompanied the 1947 division.
Rajmohan Gandhi Bio

Rajmohan Gandhi is Research Professor at the Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and Academic Director, Global Crossroads, at the University of Illinoisat Urbana-Champaign, USA. In 2009 and 2010 he served as the international president of the NGO, Initiatives of Change.

A former member (1990-92) of the Rajya Sabha (India’s Upper House of Parliament), Rajmohan Gandhi led the Indian delegation to the UN Human Rights Commission in Genevain 1990.  In the 1960s and early 1970s, he played a leading role in establishing Asia Plateau, the 80-acre conference centre of Initiatives of Change in Panchgani in the mountains of western India.

He has worked consistently for India-Pakistan and Hindu-Muslim reconciliation. Since 9/11, he has also tried to address the divide between the West and the world of Islam.

At the University of Illinoishe has taught courses in political science and history from 1997. His latest book, A Tale of Two Revolts: India 1857& the American Civil War (New  Delhi: Penguin India, December 2009), studies two 19th-century wars occurring in opposite parts of the world at almost the same time.

His previous book, a biography of Mahatma Gandhi, Mohandas: A True Story of a Man, His People and an Empire, received the prestigious Biennial Award from the Indian History Congress in 2007. It has since been published in several countries. In 2002 he received the Sahitya Akademi (India’s National Academy of Letters) Award for his Rajaji: A Life, a biography of Chakravarti Rajagopalachari (1878-1972).

Other books by him include Ghaffar Khan: Nonviolent Badshah of the Pakhtuns  (Penguin 2004); Revenge & Reconciliation: Understanding South Asian History (Penguin, 1999); Patel: A Life, a biography of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (1875-1950), Deputy Prime Minister of India, 1947-50 (Navajivan, Ahmedabad, 1990); and Eight Lives: A Study of the Hindu-Muslim Encounter (SUNY, 1987).


Jayanti Gupta

President FINACT