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India, China should move towards partnership: Mahatma’s grandson

world Updated: May 05, 2016 13:30 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

File photo of Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Rajmohan Gandhi looking at a model of Sabarmati Ashram on the occasion of the Mahatma’s 144th birth anniversary in Ahmedabad.(PTI )

India and China have a history of conflict and tension but should resolve their problems and move towards cooperation and partnership, Rajmohan Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, has said in Beijing.

Gandhi told the Chinese state media that India and China should keep the greater good of the world in mind and resolve their conflicts.

“Although China and India have a border (dispute) and a recent history of conflict and tension, both countries should look at each other in the context of the planet, thinking about what we can do together for the world,” Gandhi told state-run portal

“We should realise that our differences should be resolved, instead of letting them get in the way of cooperation and partnership,” he said, echoing the Mahatma’s view that fighting doesn’t resolve disputes.

Besides having written on the Mahatma, Gandhi is a research professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the US and a South Asia expert. He is on his maiden visit to China.

In 2009, his book “The Good Boatman: A Portrait of Gandhi” was translated into Chinese and released in Beijing. It was one of the first books on Gandhi in recent years to be translated into Chinese.

It was not until 2013, however, that the first book on Mahatma Gandhi – former ambassador Pascal Alan Nazareth’s “Gandhi: The Non Violent Revolutionary – was officially translated by a state-run press, indicating a gradual if not grudging recognition of his philosophy in China’s official circles.

Till then, a solitary statue of the Mahatma erected in Beijing in 2005 was the closest the Chinese government had come to showing respect to the Indian leader.

The translation of the Mahatma’s grandson’s 1995 book was the beginning. The translation was done by Deng Junbing, the wife of China’s former envoy to India, Zhou Gang.

Talking about current Sino-Indian ties, Gandhi told state media the Mahatma’s “unity-minded holistic principles should apply to India’s peripheral diplomacy, particularly in its ties with China, another populous country as well as a major power and growing economy”.

Talking about his grandfather’s legacy, he said had guns been employed to resolve differences in the early 20th century, then weapons would have had to rule India, which would be a military dictatorship.

“Most people around the world have come to know Mahatma Gandhi through their history books as a man who led a ‘nonviolent’ and ‘non-cooperation’ movement against British rule in early 20th century colonial India, although some have alleged that nonviolence itself was a reflection of Gandhi’s weakness and was a reason for the man’s partial failure in the end,” the report said.