Edinburgh Asian culture week hosts Gandhi grandson

Gopalkrishna Gandhi will speak on day of grandfather's birthday. Picture: Getty
Gopalkrishna Gandhi will speak on day of grandfather's birthday. Picture: Getty
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THE GRANDSON of Mahatma Gandhi is coming to Scotland to take the role of keynote speaker at a week-long celebration of Asian life and culture.

Gopalkrishna Gandhi, a distinguished scholar and statesman, will be the keynote speaker at Edinburgh University, as it holds its first India and South Asia Week which starts on Monday.

His India Day lecture - India Yesterday, India Today - will be held on Thursday, coinciding with Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday.

Mr Gandhi has held a number of senior posts including High Commissioner of India to South Africa; Director of Nehru Centre, London, and Governor of West Bengal.

Looking forward to his talk, Mr Gopalkrishna Gandhi said on Thursday: “India being not just a nation but a civilisation, India Day has to be about more than a country and its people.

“And its celebration has to be about more than a paean to its glory.

“It has to be a searching of India’s soul to see why its yesterdays, flawed as they are, seem to have a moral dimension that today is looking for.”

Gopalkrishna’s grandfather, known as ‘Mahatma’ (great soul), was the leader of the Indian nationalist movement against British rule, and is widely considered the father of his country.

His doctrine of non-violent protest to achieve political and social progress has been hugely influential around the world.

Edinburgh’s week of celebrations begins on Monday in George Square Theatre, with an opening event dance and music performance by the Edinburgh Bhangra Crew and a Qawwali group led by the renowned singer Farooq Khan.

Other events include an exhibition of photos by one of Scotland’s leading multicultural documentary and travel photographers, Hermann Rodrigues.

His Broon Scots photo exhibition celebrates the integration into wider society of Asian ethnic groups who have migrated to Scotland.

Edinburgh University’s Centre for Research Collections will also display some of its rare manuscripts from the Indian subcontinent.

On Wednesday evening Lord Meghnad Desai MP, recipient of the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award in the Republic of India, will deliver a lecture.

His talk India in South Asia: the unfinished agenda, will take place in the Business School Auditorium.

Edinburgh’s annual Namaste party, named after a common form of South Asian greeting, will be held on Thursday in the Playfair Library, Old College.

It will provide an opportunity for new students from India and South Asia to meet fellow students and staff.

A Bollywood night takes place Friday and the week’s celebrations conclude with the Muslim festival, Bakri-Eid, the following day.

Events are organised by the Centre for South Asian Studies, the India Institute, the South Asian Students Association and the University’s International Office.