Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgements

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p. ix

I am grateful to many people for the encouragement and insight that helped me develop a modest collection of ideas into this book. Discussions with Michel Desjardins, Carol Duncan, Kay Koppedrayer, Meena Sharify-Funk, and Nathan Funk were instrumental in the initial stages of the project, as was the generous support of the Canadian Society for the Study of Religion (CSSR), under whose auspices most of this volume’s essays were first presented at the conference “Gandhi in a Canadian Context” at the 2012 Congress for the Humanities and Social Sciences. Special thanks in this...

A Note on Abbreviations and Style

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p. x

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Introduction

Alex Damm

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pp. 1-10

Driving along one of Canada’s better-known roadways, Yonge Street, in Richmond Hill, Ontario, one cannot help but notice the larger-than-life statue of Mohandas K. Gandhi outside the Vishnu Mandir. In its size and verisimilitude, the statue is impressive, and it makes one think, if just for a moment, of what Gandhi means or symbolizes. It is not the only thought-provoking Gandhi image in this country. One sees similar representations of Gandhi in such places as Saskatoon, Quebec City (at the National Assembly), Hamilton (at Hamilton City Hall), and Ottawa (at Carleton University). Strikingly, mural images of Gandhi appear in two different schools...

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Mahatma Gandhi’s Understanding of Canada

Alex Damm

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pp. 11-28

It might appear striking that over a century ago, Mohandas Gandhi could write with precision and confidence about Canada. Probably we are not accustomed to thinking about Gandhi as someone who knew or cared much about Canada, and there are good reasons for this. For one thing, Canada and Canadian affairs do not appear to be topics to which he paid much attention, a fact attested to by the dearth of references to this country in biographies of Gandhi and (as we will see) by the rather infrequent references in his own writing.1 Gandhi had numerous pressing concerns in...

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A Dent in His Saintly Halo? Mahatma Gandhi’s Intolerance Against Cowards

Scott Daniel Dunbar

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pp. 29-46

In his 1920 essay “The Doctrine of the Sword,” Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi – better known as Mahatma Gandhi – asserted: “I do believe that where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence.”1 Twenty-six years later, just two years before his death, Gandhi again stated: “Cowardice is impotence worse than violence ... A coward is less than a man. He does not deserve to be a member of a society of men and women.”2 These strong statements, spanning decades of Gandhi’s life, reveal a somewhat surprising invective against cowards in Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence, which illuminates a complex side of his...

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Gandhi and Islam: Their History and Implications for Canada Today

Ramin Jahanbegloo

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pp. 47-62

The “violent Muslim fanatic” has emerged a dominant stereotype since 11 September 2001. This aligns with the generalizations about Islam as a faith motivated and practised by bloodlust and violence, and with prevailing misunderstandings and misevaluations of Muslim diversity. Muslim experiences of peacemaking and non-violence have been swamped by more powerful media-generated images of Islam as a religion of conflict and war. The challenge, then, is to generate an account for Canadians of the possibility of a Gandhian Islam, one whose ethical values such as tolerance and non-violence can be brought to bear on political issues. In promoting the paradigm of non-violence in Islam, Canadian Muslims can look back...

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Gandhi in Canadian Academic Religious Studies: An Overview

Harold Coward

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pp. 63-88

For this book the editor asked me to research and write a chapter on “the Academic Study of Gandhi in Canada.” To make the assignment manageable I have limited myself to Gandhi in Academic Religious Studies and divided my chapter into two parts:

1. Research on Gandhi by Canadian Religious Studies Scholars
2. Gandhi’s Impact on Canadian Religious Studies Teaching...

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Do Gandhi’s Teachings Have Relevance Today?

Kay Koppedrayer

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pp. 89-108

Does knowledge of Mahatma Gandhi matter? Th e chapter that follows rests on this pivotal question.
Knowledge of Gandhi
Make reference to Gandhi in any conversation, and virtually everyone within earshot can conjure up some image of who he was and what he accomplished. Much of what results is impressionistic, gained from popular culture. Quotations from Gandhi appear on various websites supporting non-violence, vegetarian lifestyles, peace, inter-religious dialogue, and a range of other causes. References to Gandhi show up in all manner of...

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The Gandhian-Inspired Mahila Shanti Sena Movement in India and Its Canadian Connection

Anne M. Pearson

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pp. 109-120

This chapter examines the creation and development of the Mahila Shanti Sena (MSS), or women’s peace brigade, founded in Bihar, India, in 2002, exploring in particular the significant Canadian connection to this Gandhian-inspired movement. The MSS is a loosely organized movement, based in northeastern India, aimed at fostering women’s leadership in the creation of a culture of peace and prosperity at local and especially village levels. Women help other women find solutions to problems they face, including domestic violence, alcohol abuse, poverty, and lack of access to education and employment. The MSS provides training in collective action...

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“Gandhi” in Canada in the Latter Part of the Twentieth Century

Paul Younger

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pp. 121-142

Mohandas K. Gandhi never visited Canada in his lifetime. He did, however, know a lot about Indians who lived outside of India in his own day and would no doubt have taken a keen interest in the Indian community developing in Canada in the later decades of the twentieth century. In any case a Gandhian “presence” was an important part of the way that Indians and other Canadians understood India during those decades, and this chapter represents an effort to reimagine some of the different roles that “presence” played....

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Mahatma Gandhi and Winnipeg, Manitoba

Klaus Klostermaier

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pp. 143-152

While Mahatma Gandhi and the Canadian city of Winnipeg might seem, at first blush, to have little or no relationship, a closer look reveals that admiration of the Mahatma matters in this city. On 15 October 2013, for example, Justice Murray Sinclair, Chief Judge of the Provincial Court of Manitoba and chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, received the Mahatma Gandhi Peace Award from the hands of the president of the University of Winnipeg, Lloyd Axworthy. In his acceptance speech, Justice Sinclair called Mahatma Gandhi his hero and expressed his delight to be...

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Who Speaks for the Conscience of Canada? Twenty Years of Hamilton’s Gandhi Peace Festival: Local Lessons, Global Relevance

Rama S. Singh

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pp. 153-162

These were my opening remarks at the Hamilton Gandhi Peace Festival on Saturday, 29 September 2012. It was a beautiful day, and the gathering was one of the most colourful that we have had at City Hall. Busloads of senior citizens from Toronto, in full Indian regalia with Indian dress and tricolour Gandhi caps and flags, came to welcome the father (bapu), M.K. Gandhi, to Canada. It was an emotional scene, and many cried. Th e Gandhi Peace Festival is unique, perhaps the only event of its kind anywhere. Since its inception, in 1993, it has come a long way. Started by the India–Canada Society and co-sponsored by the Centre for Peace Studies at McMaster University and the City of Hamilton, the peace festival has become a cultural landmark in Hamilton....

Appendix: Materials for an Appreciation of Gandhi in Canada Today

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pp. 163-166

Bibliography

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pp. 167-174

About the Contributors

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pp. 175-176

Index

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pp. 177-181