“Gandhi a Great Soul and a Great Human Principle”

Dr. Sriram Sonty-

Dr. Sriram Sonty

Dr. Sriram Sonty, is a glaucoma consultant at Midwest Eye Center SC, and health, wellness, and fitness consultant at Midwest Eye Center SC Flossmoor, Illinois, United States. He is also the Trustee of Gandhi Memorial Trust, Skokie Illinois USA; founder member of Gandhi King Global Initiative, chairman of Gandhi 150, US Commemorative Stamp Initiative, and founder-chairman of the Sri Annamacharya Project of North America (SAPNA).


“Let us all meet in Pietermaritzburg on June 7, 2023, to ‘peace’ this broken ‘world’ together back as ‘New World’.”

When I was a child, I knew who Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was but I did not know, what was ‘Gandhi’ like, until I visited his ashram.

I got introduced to Mahatma Gandhi in 1986 when I was invited as an ophthalmology faculty to the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad with my Professor Dr. N N Sood. It proved to be a transformative experience for me and I read Gandhiji’s Autobiography, “My Experiments with Truth” many times and collected 200 plus books both by him and on him.

I have also collected many images from the public domain for powerpoint presentations. I have already carried out over 200 presentations.

In 1999 I had the opportunity to visit Pietermaritzburg Railway Station where Gandhi was evicted from the first-class compartment by a few white men because he was a man of color.

I also visited the Phoenix settlement, The printing press for Young India, and Tolstoy Farm.

In 2019, I visited the Pietermaritzburg Railway Station when it was celebrating the 126th anniversary of the Eviction event to mark the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi held by the Pietermaritzburg Gandhi Memorial Committee.

Since then, I dreamt of bringing 100 Gandhians and 100 potential Young Gandhians to the 130th anniversary of the June 7, 1893 incident, to be celebrated on June 6-9, 2023, with help of the local organizing committee.

We are in the fifth generation of Gandhis and many Indian youths do not know the important contributions of Mahatma Gandhi. It is our responsibility to educate them about the contributions to the world freedom movements by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr for the African American Civil liberties in the USA, Nelson Mandela for the African freedom movement, Dalai lama for  Tibet, Lech Valesa for  Poland, Caesar Chavez for farmers in California, Larry Kramer for the Gay Movement, Benigno Aquino in the Philippines and Ang San Suu Kyi in Myanmar.

Gandhi was bestowed with the Title “Mahatma – a Great Soul” By Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore in 1915.

Gandhi was never awarded the Nobel prize, though many of his followers like former Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter, Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr, Lech Walesa, Hugo Chavez, and Dalai Lama got it.

My dream is to see the world celebrate the June 7, 1893 moment as a Global Awakening, Youth Transformation Moment so all of us can be at the Pietermaritzburg Station on June 7, 2023.

Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869, in Porbandar, Gujarat, India.  Born to Karamchand Gandhi and Putlibai, his early childhood was not remarkable except as a normal growing Hindu child following principles of discipline, reverence to Hindu gods, and average schooling.

At the age of thirteen, he was married to Kasturba Makanji.

Later, he went to England and became a barrister and returned to India but he could not become a successful lawyer.

In May 1893, Gandhi was hired to represent Dada Abdallah Seth in a Family Property dispute in South Africa where the Court needed an English-speaking barrister who could also interpret Gujarati. Just before he went to South Africa, Gandhi was introduced to the Jain Muni Rajchandji who enlightened him on the subjects of God, moksha, avatars and the divine purpose of Life.

On June 7, 1893, at 9 pm while traveling to Pretoria from Durban in a Train in the first-class compartment Gandhi was evicted because of racial discrimination.

Gandhi then had three thoughts – to flee from South Africa right away, to defend the case he came to attend to, and then leave, and the last choice was to stay in South Africa and eliminate institutionalized racism. His experiences in South Africa helped him conceive the Satyagraha movement.

He stayed there for 23 years and accomplished that and later came to India and fought for India’s independence. His mission of nonviolent resistance was adopted by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela, and others and now 4 billion non-whites of the world.

Gandhi spent 20-plus years and established 11-acre Phoenix Settlement, and 100 Acre Tolstoy Farm in Johannesburg.

Gandhi was influenced by Leo Tolstoy, John Ruskin, and Henry David Thoreau.

Gandhi said that true spirituality was not a speculation on the absolute, however profound and philosophical; nor was it a quest for personal salvation. His favorite hymn began with the line “He alone is a true devotee of God who understands the pains and sufferings of the others.” The divinity of the man manifests itself in 4 billion of the world’s 8 billion population who enjoy freedom because of Mahatma Gandhi’s techniques of peace through non-violence “Ahimsa” “Satyagraha”.


[Photo courtesy:Dr. Sriram Sonty]


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