Gandhi: Evolution to the Mahatma with Dr. Anil Antony - Context Travel

Gandhi: Evolution to the Mahatma with Dr. Anil Antony


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Gandhi is put on a pedestal. His greatness makes that understandable, even inevitable, but it also makes it harder to know the man. Today, we see him through the eyes of history, fully-formed, as a story that is complete before we begin it. But Gandhi didn’t arrive on the scene with a magical solution to everything, or with all of his beliefs fully formed. What were the forces that molded - and even corrected - him?

Gandhi is almost universally called “Mahatma”, a word which clearly means that he was a man of a truly great and powerful spirit. We’ll discuss how Gandhi was both uniquely remarkable as a person and historically crucial to the birth of the largest democracy on earth. Many people think of Gandhi as the singular leader of the Indian Independence Movement, but he existed within a sea of other towering figures who are not as famous because of the way history is told.

We’ll learn how while still in South Africa, Gandhi was groomed for leadership in the Indian Independence Movement by leaders in the movement who preexisted him, and who prepared the way for him when he returned to India. We’ll discuss how his anti-caste or religious positioning was heavily influenced by more liberal thinkers around him. The Gandhi we know from the end of the story became what he was, not as a solitary hermit on a lonely mountaintop, but as an active and engaged member of a community characterized by much debate and push and pull.

Led by Dr. Anil Noronha Antony, our Indian expert, this Conversation will explore the life and ideas of Gandhi in the context of his community, observing his intellectual growth, and considering the ways he is understood, and perhaps misunderstood, today.

Dr. Anil “Noro” Noronha Antony is an assistant director of the American Association for Cancer Research, the world’s oldest and largest private cancer research organization. He holds a PhD in Cell and Developmental biology and a lifelong interest in the history and culture of south India. Born in the Muslim-majority United Arab Emirates to an Anglo-Indian Catholic family and trained by a Hindu tantric in Kerala, he has direct experience of all three major Keralite religious traditions.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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