Guyanese-Canadian Initiates Gandhi Scholarship at McMaster University

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Ramnarine Sahadeo

By Deanna Tigani

History will record 2017 as the year when Canada celebrated its 150th anniversary as a nation but for McMaster University (www.mcmaster.ca) located in Hamilton Ontario it will also be the year when the first Mahatma Gandhi Scholarship was established in the Province.

“There is need for many more,” says the initiator Ramnarine Sahadeo (ramjihindu@rogers.com).

Sahadeo was born on island of Leguan, Guyana and has met too many who know little or nothing about the man who has changed the world. Sahadeo’s initial endowment will finance the scholarship for a few years but he wants other admirers of the Mahatma to have an opportunity to contribute in order to make it a lifetime award. Since his retirement after 34 years of active law practice, Sahadeo has researched, wrote, and lectured about the life of Gandhi. He has written numerous articles on the great soul and also a book entitled Mohandas K. Gandhi, Thoughts, Words, Deeds. However, it was his edited copy of the Bhagavad-Gita with quotes, comments and translation by Gandhi, now available on a blog at Gandhitopia.org that impressed Professor Rama Singh (singh@mcmaster.ca) and the suggestion of a scholarship quickly became reality.

Rama Singh conceived the idea of The Mahatma Gandhi lectures on Nonviolence and was also at the helm of the Annual Gandhi Peace festival since its inception 25 years ago. Sahadeo has no previous relationship with the university but was attracted to a community that displayed a rare cooperation between the City of Hamilton, The Humanities Faculty of the University and the India-Canada society. More co-sponsors join each year to an event that attracts lecturers and participants globally.

The university itself has students and staff from Guyana and the Caribbean many of whom are successful in medicine, business and science and has constantly improved its global standings. This year it was ranked 66th in the world and 3rd in Canada by the Shanghai Jiao Tong Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Sahadeo hopes that the scholarship will encourage research, reward excellence and help to spread the message of peace in a world that constantly seems to be on the brink of internecine conflict. While he is always appreciative of the opportunities offered to him and so many others in his adopted country he has never forgotten his native Guyana and hopes one day that similar efforts to promote the lifestyle and universal principles practiced by the Mahatma will find more consistent and widespread support. Quite apart from the spiritual growth that can be experienced, it is also a way of reducing the excessive burdens on health, legal and social services in countries which can least afford them. More importantly the proud son of Leguan who still longs for village life and the cultural values he inculcated as a child hopes that together we can prove Einstein wrong by ensuring that the day will never come when future generations may not believe that this soldier of peace was flesh and blood and actually walked this earth.

“Sahadeo is a rare individual,” comments Rama Singh, “as unlike the first generation Indo-Canadians who tend to be mired in Gandhi-India-Pakistan controversy, this son of Guyana has a long vision and can separate the chaffs from the kernels. His initiative was admired by Hamilton Community and I am sure his Guyanese friends would be proud of him”.

Online donations can be made : https://tinyurl.com/yboqglol
Canadian donors can make Checks payable to: McMaster University
American donors can make checks to FRIENDS OF MCMASTER
Memo line: Gandhi Scholarship
Post mail to: Deanna Tigani, 280 Main St. west OJN 432, Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4L8
If you would like to call with a credit card number, or like information on how to make a tax-deductible donation, please contact Deanna Tigani at tigani@mcmaster.ca or (905) 525-9140 ext. 26505.
Please visit www. Humanities. mcmaster.ca/gandhi

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