Convening 3: New Delhi, India — Day 1
After long journeys from the United States, the MEV Cohort, Faculty and NoVo staff arrived safely in New Delhi, India to kick-off its 9-day convening in India.
Move to End Violence Pilot Cohort, Faculty and Guests, Covening 3, Day 1, New Delhi, India
The journey began with an orientation and introduction to our host organization, Apne Aap and its founder, Emmy Award winning journalist and advocate, Ruchira Gupta.
Ready to dive into the experience, the MEV Cohort headed off on its first destination — Gandhi Smriti, situated where Mahatma Gandhi spent the last days of his life and was assassinated in 1948. Much like the National Civil Rights Museum where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, this museum offered us the opportunity to learn about Gandhi’s philosophy and to literally walk in his last footprints. A genuinely moving and inspirational experience.
MEV Cohort Joins Dr. Manimela, Apne Aap’s Ruchira Gupta, iconic feminist Devaki Jain and Tara Ghandi Bhattacharjee for a rich discussion in the garden at Gandhi Smriti
After touring the museum on our own, we had the distinct pleasure of meeting with its director, Dr. Manimela who offered us an even deeper understanding of the Gandhian and social justice traditions of India. We spent the bulk of the afternoon sitting in the museum garden talking with Dr. Manimela and Devaki Jain, a highly esteemed development economist and feminist activist who shared with us the benefit of decades of experience working for women’s rights in India. To everyone’s surprise and delight, Gandhi’s grandaughter, Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee, learned of our visit and joined us in the garden.
Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee, grandaughter of the late Mahatma Gandhi
We sat with these luminaries until the sun began to fade, engaged in the conversation of a lifetime. We discussed the application of the Gandhian philosophy to social justice movements in India today and explored the similarities and differences between our two social contexts.
A constant theme throughout the day, was one of the primary tenants of Gandhian philosophy — that in order to create justice, one should do their work thinking of the girl or child who is valued the least, who suffers the most, who comes in last. Solutions that do otherwise are not acceptable solutions at all. This resonated deeply given MEV’s emphasis on putting marginalized populations at the center of our analysis.
“I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man [woman] whoe you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him [her]. Will he [she] gain anything by it? Will it restore him [her] to a control over his [her] own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead swaraj [freedom] for the hungry and spiritually starving millions? Then you will find your doubts and your self melt away.” –One of the last notes left behind by Gandhi in 1948.
A long, but incredibly inspirational and grounding day for this Cohort. We’ll check in again soon.
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