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Department of Distance Education,
Campus of Open Learning,Delhi University
A Visiting Fellow of St. John’s College, Cambridge for Lent and Easter terms 1989-90, Dr. Madan G. Gandhi is an outstanding educationist, litterateur and publicist who is in the vanguard of many movements for sustainable environment, total disarmament, human rights and one-world mankind. He has been active in Gandhism-in-action and Sarvodya movement since mid-fifties and worked with notable Gandhians like Vinoba Bhave, Jay Prakash Narayan Kaka Kalelkar, R.R. Diwakar and other prominent leaders of the movement. Impressed by his earnestness and zeal, Achint Ram (father of Krishan Kant, Vice President of India) a great freedom fighter and leader of the Congress and Bhoodaan movement in Punjab, developed a faith in the potential of Gandhi to become a selfless dedicated devotee to the cause. A brief note he wrote to Gandhi from Willingdon Hospital, Delhi, on 1.11.1961, bears testimony to the tremendous confidence that he reposed in the latter. Addressing Gandhi as “My dear hope, ” he unreservedly states: “If God takes my body I am confident you will see the mission of Lajpat Rai, Gandhi and Vinoba fulfilled.” Philip Noel Baker, Nobel Peace Laureate came to have a special liking for the young poet – crusader for total nuclear disarmament and world peace. Impressed by noble son of India, the seer-statesman Rajiv Gandhi’s impassioned advocacy of nuclear free, non-violent world order as enshrined in the famous Rajiv Gandhi-Gorbachev Delhi Declaration and his submitting a detailed document on nuclear disarmament before the United Nations, Dr. Madan Gandhi organised a national level seminar on Delhi Declaration in which top social scientists and peace activists from all over the country took part. The proceedings of the seminar were widely circulated and now are being brought out in a book form. Moved by Rajiv Gandhi’s martyrdom to the cause of peace and harmony in the sub-continent, Professor Madan Gandhi wrote In Memoriam: To Rajiv Gandhi which was considered one of the most moving poems symbolizing personal grief and tragic loss to the family and youthful resurgent India of his dreams. This poem later found a place in 1995 anthology of World Poetry and now is displayed by several websites.Envisioning One-world Society and Earth Citizenship, Professor Gandhi is associated with many national and international organizations for the promotion of Earth-Consciousness and Global Fraternity. He is a moving, powerful voice in contemporary English Poetry and has a unique place in the world of Mysticism and poetry for peace. A winner of Tagore Award in poetry in 1961, Dr. Gandhi is the Founder-President of the Poetry Society of India. He is the author of twelve volumes of poetry entitled Ashes and Embers, Kundalini, Luteous Serpent, Petals of Flame, Freak Stair, Meandering Maze, Ring of Silence, Shunayata in Trance, Haikus and Quatrains, Enchanting Flute, The Imperiled Earth, Planet in Peril: Poet’s Lament. His magnum opus The Imperiled Earth has been reviewed by many leading intellectuals of the World. Khushwant Singh, the veteran journalist and litterateur profusely quotes from the book in his column “This Above All,” published in Indian Express and many other national dailies of January 1, 1994. He compliments the poet for making a forceful plea against the impending dangers of nuclear holocaust and environmental degradation and his wanting man to withdraw from the precipice well in time. On Madan Gandhi’s Poetry, research leading to Ph.D. is in progress in some Universities. One Ph.D. Thesis ‘EWAFE’ Motif in M.G. Gandhi’s Poetry’ has already been awarded Doctorate and published in book form entitled Poetry of Madan G. Gandhi: A new Metaphysical Voice. In a befitting recognition of his excellence in poetry, World Academy of Arts and Culture conferred, in 1993, the honorary degree of Doctor of Litterateur (Litt.D) upon Gandhi for making a distinguished contribution for promoting world order and international understanding through his writings. Notable among his monographs on political philosophy are Gandhi and Marx, Gandhian Aesthetics, Delhi Declaration on Nuclear Disarmament, Pre-Marxian Socialism, Marx to Mao, Contemporary Socialism, Modern Political Theory, Modern Political Analysis and Dialogue Among Civilizations (edited).Dr. Madan Gandhi has been a recipient of numerous awards and honours. A few of them are : International Man of the Year (1991-92) and (1992-93), Most Admired Man of the Decade, World Intellectual (1993) Five hundred Great Personalities of the World, One-in-Million Honour, included in International Who’s Who of Poets & Who’s Who of Intellectuals, Member of the Board of Advisors of International Centre of Democracy, Maryland, USA, National Excellence Award for contribution in the field of Education and Literature by the United Citizens Council, New Delhi, nominated for Rajiv Gandhi Award for outstanding contribution to education and literature by All India Feroze Gandhi Memorial Society.As a painter, too, Madan Gandhi has secured a niche for himself in the assessment of art critics. Writing upon Gandhi the painter, Bharat Bhushan perceptively underlines the moving force behind his art: “His imagery and symbolism are surrealistic and emanate from the depths of his inner skyscape.” The first exhibition of his paintings was held at All India Fine Arts & Crafts Society’s Art Gallery in Delhi from 11th to 17th December 1989. In it were displayed thirty-five oil colour works of the artist. The comments upon them, recorded in the Visitor’s Book, display a wide variety of responses, most of them encomiums from connoisseurs of art. The perceptive eye of B.Sen discovered that “Some works have touch of Tagore’s style.” Similarly, M.K. Jaiswal found in them: “An artist’s search for Cosmic Meaning.” The second exhibition of his pieces was organised at UNICEF Art Window, Cambridge in March 1990 and the third at the Gallery of Cam, Cambridge in July of the same year. There, too, his paintings were widely appreciated for the depth of meaning they seek to communicate.Born on 31st August 1940 in Lahore, Madan Gopal Gandhi did his B.A. with Honours in English from D.A.V. College, Ambala City in 1960 and M.A. in Political Science from Punjabi University, Patiala in 1966 and M.A. in English 1964 and Ph.D. in Political Science from Punjab University, Chandigarh in 1974. As a student Madan Gandhi distinguished himself as a powerful orator in English, Hindi and Punjabi. At the Punjab University he outshone his peers and won the first prize in the extempore oration contest. Since his Post graduation in 1964, he has been associated with teaching and research at the university level and conducted and guided research in International Politics, Nation Building, Electoral cum Administrative Reforms and Good Governance, Rural-Urban Development And Design of Living in The Future, Gandhism, Sarvodaya and Panchayati Raj, Human Rights and Social and Political Movements in Third World. Dr. Gandhi provided the introductory paper to the project on the writing of the history of Congress in Haryana. Two of his students did research on the Congress Party for their doctorate and one on Rajiv Gandhi for his M.Phil. Under his guidance more than 60 students got their M.Phil and 16 students their Ph.D.Another aspect of Madan Gandhi’s personality is revealed through his close association with the cultural, literary and social service organizations. In 1962, he founded Chandigarh Cultural Association that organised many variety entertainment programmes and produced many plays and the entire money earned by it, through the sale of tickets for its programmes, was contributed to the National Defence Fund. Gandhi, at this stage of his life, wrote many group songs and quwaalis. Presented at Tagore Theatre, Chandigarh, they were highly appreciated by the audience. In 1963, he founded Vikas Bharti with Krishan Kant as its President and Lal Bahadur Shastri as its patron. Primarily through his commitment and dedication to the cause, it soon became an active instrument of selfless service to the poor and weaker sections of the society. He founded Kavita Bharti with Hazari Prasad Diwedi, an eminent Hindi writer as its President and also Poetry Society of India. He was also the Secretary of Bharat Yuvak Samaj (with Jawaharlal Nehru as the President) Punjab Pradesh. He extensively toured the country disseminating Gandhian values and Gandhian way of life and promoting the cause of national integration, communal harmony and the emancipation of the poor and the down trodden. During this period he was also associated with Sarvodaya Workers’ Home as a founder member with Gopichand Bhargava (first Chief Minister of Punjab) as the moving spirit behind it.Ever since the founding of Centre for Third World Studies and Research in 1983 with Professor Madan Gandhi as the Founder Director at Maharishi Dayanand University he has been initiating several activities and programmes promotive of understanding, friendship and co-operation with Third World Countries with focus on South-South Co-operation and conflict resolution in regard to their crisis areas. He had been actively associated with anti-apartheid movement in South Africa and he actively participated in the international seminar Youth Against Apartheid which was attended by several top ranking African National Congress Leaders which was a front line organization fighting against apartheid in South Africa. Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was the moving spirit behind the seminar. He also guided students for their Ph.D. on different dimensions of the problem of apartheid, the most inhuman vestige of racialism and colonialism.Taking inspiration from Vinoba Bhave’s ABC triangle denoting the South Asian Sub-continent Madan Gandhi took upon himself the mission of promoting people-to-people relationship among the countries of South Asia firmly believing that this is the surest way to forge the fraternal bond that shall hold in the direst of times and put an end to the clanging strife among races, religions and nations. He saw in people-to-people relationship as the most effective way to reach out beyond state and sectarian wrangles and to usher in an era of all-round peace and prosperity in the region. As editor of the South Asia News Letter Madan G. Gandhi has been carrying aloft the torch of friendship and reconciliation among India and Pakistan and other SAARC countries even during the darkest and most difficult times making the journal the tribune of South Asian People, of their problems and concerns and a powerful instrument to keep vigil on peoples’ civil liberties and developments in the sub-continent having adverse impact on South Asian Destiny. The South Asia News Letter has striven hard to convert confrontation to cooperation, verbal wrangles to dialogue, contention to conciliation, sectarian clashes to harmonic co-existence, fratricidal strife to fraternal harmony.To promote communal peace and national integration professor Madan Gandhi also collaborated with Baba Amte in the Bharat Jodo campaign and keeping in view the circumstances prevailing in Punjab, he went about propagating the message of amity and communal peace among the youth bringing home the fundamental unity of all religions. In this connection he organized several discussions, seminars, workshops, guest lectures etc. During the worst phase of terrorism he alongwith Baba Amte and Krishan Kant visited the refugee camps at various places and strove for strengthening the age-old bonds of fraternity and fellow feelings among the people who had become the victims of senseless killings at the hands of the bigoted and misguided among their brethren.Since the 1960’s professor Gandhi had been advocating fundamental electoral reforms, reshaping of the electoral process and restructuring of the Indian Polity. When Guljari Lal Nanda and Bhim Sen Sachhar started the Sadachar Samiti to launch a movement for the values of probity in public life and the havoc the use of black money was inflicting on elections and our political system, he joined the movement with his heart and soul. He was one of the first to mobilize public opinion against criminalization of politics and politicization of criminals. In this connection he gave several lectures in different parts of the country and assisted Krishan Kant to organize an all India seminar enlisting the support of a large number intelligentsia and public men cutting across party lines. The preparations of the documents on the nexus between criminals and politicians and related matters were the outcome of a thoroughgoing exercise involving consultations with wide spectrum of social activists.Dr. Gandhi has been Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences, Dean of Education, Professor and Head Deptt. of Political Science, Professor-Director Centre for Third World Studies and Research, Maharashi Dayanand University, Rohtak. In recognition of his contribution to social science research and philosophical systems he was nominated as member of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research and Indian Council of Social Sciences Research – the apex research organizations in the field of Philosophy and Social Sciences.Professor Madan G. Gandhi has been a member of the Academic bodies of Delhi University, Jamia Millia Islamia, Aligarh Muslim University, Punjab University, Chandigarh, Gandhi Gram University, Dindigal, H.P. University, Simla etc. He is Chancellor’s Nominee to the Executive Council of Delhi University, Chancellor’s Nominee on the Selection Committees of Kurukshetra University, Member of Senate of Punjab University, Member, Governing Body of University College of Medical Sciences & G.T.B. Hospital, University of Delhi, Member, Governing Body of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Centre for Biomedical Research, University of Delhi.Madan Gandhi Edited, South Asia News Letter, and Earth Vision. He was Editor, Collected Works of Lala Lajpat Rai – a Government of India funded research project under Servants of the People Society, founded by Lala Lajpat Rai and also Chair Professor, Lala Lajpat Rai Chair, Punjab University, Chandigarh.At present Madan G. Gandhi is Visiting Professor, Department of Distance Education, Campus of Open Learning of Delhi University.