Gujarati Literary Academy of N.A.

The Big Idea is to Promote Gujarati Literature

ગાંધી-કથા (શ્રી નારાયણ દેસાઈ પ્રસ્તુત – ૬, ૭, ૮ એપ્રિલ ૨૦૧૨)

Posted by ઊર્મિ on February 24, 2012

ગુજરાતી  લિટરરી  ઍકેડેમી  ઓફ  નોર્થ  અમેરિકા



સહર્ષ રજૂ કરે છે

શ્રી નારાયણ દેસાઈ



મહાત્મા ગાંધીજીના મંત્રી અને સૌથી નિકટના અંતેવાસી
શ્રી મહાદેવ દેસાઈના પુત્ર, અને ગાંધીજી
વિશેના સર્વમાન્ય નિષ્ણાંત,
શ્રી નારાયણભાઈ ગાંધીજીના જીવન અને કાર્યને વર્ણવતી
આ અત્યંત
પ્રેરક અને સંગીતમય કથા ગુજરાતીમાં રજૂ કરશે.


શુક્રવાર, ૬-એપ્રિલ-૨૦૧૨, સાંજે ૭થી …

શનિવાર,૭-એપ્રિલ-૨૦૧૨, બપોરે ૩થી …

રવિવાર,૮-એપ્રિલ-૨૦૧૨, બપોરે ૩થી …


TV Asia Auditorium, 76 National Road, Edison, NJ – 732-650-1100

કાર્યક્રમ વિશે માહિતી

રામ ગઢવી 973-628-8269

ચન્દુ શાહ 781-983-4941 * જયેશ શાહ 973-812-0565 *  ગૌરાંગ મહેતા 973-633-9348

દર્શના ઝાલા 484-380-3160 * મનુ ધોકાઈ 703-731-8545  * રોહિત પંડ્યા 718-706-1715

Driving directions to TV Asia Auditorium:  From NJ Turnpike, take exit 10.  Take I-287 North and take exit 2-B to Route 27 South.  Past a couple of traffic lights and take right on Talmadge road.  Go about ½ mile, then turn right on National Road. Drive about ¼ mile to the TV Asia building on your left.


About Shree Narayanbhai Desai… 

Mr. Narayanbhai Desai moved to Gandhi’s ashram as a month-old baby in 1924. He spent the next 23 years of his life in the ashram, getting educated and trained directly by Gandhi and his close associates. After Indian Independence, Narayanbhai joined the Peace Brigade “Shanti Sena”, (founded by Vinoba Bhave and presided by Jayaprakash Narayan). The Shanti Sena, trained peace volunteers who intervened and helped restore harmony during ethnic conflicts. Mr. Desai was active in the establishment of Peace Brigades International and was elected as the Chairman of the War Resisters’ International. He was actively involved in organizing refugee relief inBangladesh, reconciliation efforts between Greek and Turkish Cypriots and in promoting peace-keeping teams working unarmed in international conflict zones.

Narayanbhai is the author of over 50 books in Gujarati, Hindi and English as well as more than a thousand articles. Among the numerous honors awarded to him include India’s most prestigious Sahitya Academy Award for literature (1992), Bhartiya Gyanpeeth Murtidevi Award for literature (2004), Jamnalal Bajaj Award for constructive activities (1999), and the UNESCO Award for Nonviolence and Tolerance (1998), shared with a Pakistani Peace Group. Mr. Desai is the Chancellor of Gujarat Vidyapeeth, the university established by Gandhi. He is also serving as the President of Gujarati Literary Academy.

Mr. Desai is devoted to taking the message of Gandhi to the general public not only through the medium of books, but through more effective non-literary forms such as songs, plays, street theatre and most recently through a contemporary version of “Katha” (an age-old traditional story telling form). He has established a center at Vedchhi, a small tribal village in south Gujarat where hundreds of young, mainly rural activists have been trained in values originally enunciated by Gandhi — of self-reliance, non-violence, and community service.


Narayanbhai Mahadevbhai Desai:

A Profile by GopalKrishnaGandhi (from The Hindu, April 4, 2004)

Narayan, as the only child of Gandhi’s secretary and alter ego Mahadev Desai, had many occasions to observe and be observed by the Mahatma. When he was eight and had acquired skills in the art of carding cotton, “Bablo” (baby boy) as he was called by the entire Gandhi “family” in the ashram and outside, wrote to the Mahatma, signing himself as “Narayan”. He received, in response, this letter of felicitation and “promotion” from Bapu who was in the Yeravada Prison with Narayan’s father, Mahadev:

October 12, 1932

Chi.Narayanrao alias Bablo

I did receive a complaint against you. All children play, but they should play when it is time to play and should work when it is time for work…


The message went home and, at age 12, Narayan gave up school to become secretary to the most important secretary in the Indiaof the time, his father, Mahadev Desai. He typed letters for his father, articles, and even sometimes letters for the Mahatma. One of these, he recalls, was the controversial communication addressed to Adolf Hitler shortly after the outbreak of World War II. When Narayan was 17, Gandhi thought the young man’s skills in spinning and weaving should have a wider reach and asked him to go to Afghanistanas a khadi teacher. Narayan, never one to be told what to do (or what to be called) declined, giving the reason that the opportunity might place unknown temptations in his way and if he fell for them, he would be an unworthy representative of Gandhi. Accepting the decision, Gandhi wrote saying he did so “only because you have a moral reason for refusing to go”. The following year, on August 15, 1942, Mahadev fell dead of a stroke in the Aga Khan Palace prison, where he had been jailed just the prior week with Gandhi and Kasturba. “Bapu has lost both his right hand and his left hand!” the insightful Kasturba moaned. It is not widely known that Narayan being away, Gandhi performed his secretary’s obsequies himself in the prison grounds and, after the collection of the asthi, very reflexively, smeared his forehead with the ash that had remained on his fingers. Sanatanists would not have approved. But did that matter? Secretaries did not come like Mahadev often. No, nor secretaries who were like younger brothers or sons.

Narayan, meanwhile, had plunged headlong into the national movement with a vigour that only increased with the passing of his father. After Gandhi’s release from his last incarceration, he asked Narayan to join him. This time, Narayan did not decline the request and worked with the Mahatma until 1946 when he decided to take to teaching in a school in tribalGujarat. On his second day at school, Narayan saw that 60 of the 63 children in the school had no change of clothes. That spurred him to introduce spinning and weaving in the school. By the end of that year, the children had at least one pair of clothes made by themselves. Gandhi would most certainly have confirmed Narayan in his raohood at this point and Narayan would most certainly have disavowed the honour.

Declining Vinoba Bhave’s offer of the General Secretaryship of the Hindustani Talimi Sangh in 1948 on the ground that he should know the country more intimately before accepting a national responsibility, Narayan added that he was planning to work in some Indian village for some years to understand the realities of ruralIndia. But he did join the Bhoodan Movement, pioneering its activities inGujarat. Walking almost alone, he managed to collect some 3,000 acres of good arable land and have them distributed to the landless of whom the vast majority were Harijans and Adivasis. In 1960, Vinoba asked Narayan to move toVaranasi, then the headquarters of the Sarva Seva Sangh and train peace volunteers. Jayaprakash Narayan, meanwhile, was asked by the Sarva Seva Sangh to accept the position of Chairman of the Shanti Sena. JP said he would do so only if Narayan was to be its National Secretary. The two Narayans worked closely, inseparably, from 1960 to 1976. During this period Narayan worked with JP in Nagaland and in the ravines of Chambal where hundreds of dacoits surrendered their arms. The Shanti Sena’s work in the northeast is one of the unwritten success stories ofIndia. Setting up the Tarun Shanti Sena, Narayan established social work centres along the Sino-Indian border. Who would have even dreamt of attempting such a thing? When theBangladeshwar erupted, the Shanti Sena under Narayan’s “command” worked among 80,000 refugees in 23 camps. And, simultaneously, he agitated for world recognition, starting withIndia’s, ofBangladeshas a sovereign nation. Later, Narayan was to participate in quelling riots in Ahmedabad,Baroda, Bhivandi andSurat. He narrowly escaped death when intervening between a stone-throwing crowd and firing policemen and during a fast-cum-prayer for peace in Ayodhya when a bunch of hooligans attacked him. Nothing in the career of his “Narayanrao” would have pleased Gandhi more than these real-life contributions.

Narayan also saw world events claim his time. The Shanti Sena played a role in the setting up of the World Peace Brigade inLebanon(1962) and the Cyprus Resettlement Project, a pioneering experience of an international team of peace volunteers conciliating two warring nationalities. JP and Narayan Desai were among the (unrecognised) first to propose to the United Nations the idea of a UN Peace Keeping Force without arms. The proposal was not taken seriously at the time but now there is a revival of interest in the idea as the work of international bodies in conflict areas becomes far more diverse and complex than adversarial balancing.

And Narayan, despite his almost frenetic pace of activity — he has just done a padayatra inGujarat — wields a formidable pen himself. I will mention only two of his works — his Sahitya Akademi Award-winning biography in Gujarati of his father Mahadev Desai and his just-published biography in Gujarati again, of the Mahatma. This latter work is likely to be a standard reference work on its subject, being based in large measure on Mahadev Desai’s diaries. You cannot get a more authentic primary source.

5 Responses to “ગાંધી-કથા (શ્રી નારાયણ દેસાઈ પ્રસ્તુત – ૬, ૭, ૮ એપ્રિલ ૨૦૧૨)”

  1. […] શ્રી નારાયણભાઈ દેસાઈ વધુ અહીં વાંચો… […]

  2. jjkishor said

    હાજર રહેવું અશક્ય પણ સમાચારથી આનંદ થયો. એમને અને એમના દ્વારા ગાંધીજીને પણ વંદન સાથે…આભાર.

  3. […] શ્રી નારાયણભાઈ દેસાઈ વધુ અહીં વાંચો… […]



  5. BabuDesai said

    …Ane Pujya Shri Narayandada na kanthethi Pujya Bapu, Pujya Kasturbaa ane Pujya Mahadeoji farithi avtaarya!!! ‘TV Asia – NJ’ na Auditorium ma aa katha sambhalvano amulya lahavo malyo…..Sashtang Pranaam!

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