Gift furthers student study of human rights
The Mahatma Gandhi Scholarship in Human Rights announced
University of Manitoba graduate students focused on human rights research will soon have another way to support their studies. Drs. K. and G. Dakshinamurti recently established the Mahatma Gandhi Scholarship in Human Rights at the University of Manitoba, with preference given to students working in collaboration with the Canadian Museum of Human Rights (CMHR). The $100,000 donation will officially be announced on November 5 at the CMHR during a special celebration hosted by the Mahatma Gandhi Centre of Canada.
Dr. Krishnamurti Dakshinamurti is a professor emeritus from the College of Medicine, a senior advisor at the St. Boniface Hospital Research Centre, as well as the president of the Mahatma Gandhi Centre of Canada. Dr. Ganga Dakshinamurti is the Liaison Librarian at the U of M’s Asper School of Business, and recipient of The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal 2012. The couple’s two daughters and their spouses are all alumni of the College of Medicine, University of Manitoba.
UM Today asked Dr. K. Dakshinamurti to speak to us about the importance of continued study of human rights.
UM Today: Why is Mahatma Gandhi’s message of peaceful resolutions to conflict an important one for today’s university students?
Dr. Dakshinamurti: Mahatma Gandhi led the peaceful resistance against British rule in India resulting in the independence of India. His influence was not restricted to India. His ideas had a tremendous influence on the fight against the apartheid regime in South Africa led by Nelson Mandela. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission led by Bishop Desmond Tutu is a clear manifestation that resolution to complex national and international problems requires a reconciliation process. The achievement of progress in race relations in the USA led by Martin Luther King Jr. was through Gandhian nonviolent methods. Currently, the hot spots of violence in the world may be amenable to a solution only through process of reconciliation
UM Today: What inspired you to establish this scholarship?
Dr. Dakshinamurti: As a student leader in the Forties in India, I had discussions with Mahatma Gandhi on the value and efficacy of nonviolent resistance. This has been reinforced by my discussions in the 1960s with Martin Luther King Jr. and Dr. Linus Pauling whose antinuclear protests were inspired by Gandhi. In Canada, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission headed by Justice Murray Sinclair is a portal toward the establishment of durable partnership with our First Nations. The first step toward any such reconciliation is education of all sections of the Canadian community. The scholarship will help scholars to investigate the causes and consequences of “human wrongs” through history, past and present, in an academic setting. It would also help scholars to understand the value of ideas of justice and reconciliation in establishing human rights. This is the message of hope propounded by Mahatma Gandhi.
UM Today: What impact do you hope this scholarship will have on the recipients?
Dr. Dakshinamurti: The recipients of the scholarship would be inspired by the achievements of people like Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., Linus Pauling as well as the leaders of current times who follow their footsteps in the path to reconciliation. Such inspiration would lead to further education and proper action to resolve conflicts.
The November 5 celebration also includes the presentation of this year’s Mahatma Gandhi Peace Award to CMHR leaders Gail Asper and Moe Levy. The award was established in 2010 to honour original thinkers and initiators of conflict resolution. Tickets are $100 each, with a limited number of $50 tickets for students. Tickets are available by calling Mr. Laksh Khatter, (phone: 204-230-6504; email: Lkhatter [at] gmail [dot] com) or Dr. K. Dakshinamurti (phone: 204-837-3757; email: dakshin [at] cc [dot] umanitoba [dot] ca) of the Mahatma Gandhi Centre of Canada.