USF World News

Gandhi Jayanti Lecture
October 2, 2010

The Center for India Studies partnered with Florida Museum of Photographic Arts to celebrate Gandhi’s birth anniversary on Oct 2, 2010.  Professor Michael Gibbons,  Department of Government and International Affairs, University of South Florida gave a talk on “The Moral Strength of Nonviolence” to an intimate audience at the museum. Contrasting Gandhi’s freedom movement based on ahimsa (nonviolence), satyagraha (truth-force), and swaraj (a concept that combined inward freedom and external non-dependency) with mass political movements of the early 20th c. led by Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, and Mao Tse Tung, the lecture noted Gandhi’s influence on  Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, Dalai Lama and Vaclav Havel, as well as the influences on Gandhi, notably Hindu and Jain philosophy, the Sermon on the Mount, Tolstoy and Thoreau.  Dr. Gibbons also speculated on the marginality of Gandhi within the field of Political Science in America, offering as reasons (among others) the prevailing Eurocentric and US-centric views on democracy and secularism, the Cold War, and the “realist” emphasis on power and violence.