Play "Gandhi Before Gandhi"- An Appreciation

Published: 20.07.2011
Updated: 09.08.2011

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An Appreciation:

We saw the drama on Saturday, July 16, 2011 at High Point High School, MD. It was organized by the Jain Society of Metro, Washington. The Drama was first presented at JAINA Convention in Houston, during July 4th, long Week-end. Though all the artists were Gujarati Speaking, it was presented in Hindi. The reduced rate of $15.00 made it affordable to a larger number of people.

The Drama:

Based on book by Dr. Bipin Doshi and Priti Shah, the Drama brought out the significant events from the Life of Virchand Gandhi. The Title has been significant to the effect that both the Gandhis were from Saurashtra area of the State of Gujarat in India. They were contemporaries and worked for the high Ideals of Ahinsa and Patriotism. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi became Mahatma Gandhi due to his Success in getting Freedom of India from British Rule. Virchand Gandhi excelled in Promoting Culture and Religions of India in general and JAINISM in particular at the First Parliament of World Religions held in Chicago in 1893.

Swami Vivekanand represented HINDUISM and impressed the Conference with his Oratory and Knowledge. This fact is Known to many Indians. But, Virchand Gandhi, representing JAINISM was Not Known to many, even among the Jain Community of India and elsewhere. Who can be blamed for this, except the Traditional Conservative Jain Leadership. This Show has completed more than 175 shows comprising an audience of over 200.000 people in India and abroad, so far. Dressing, Musical Back Ground, Classic Direction, and powerful Dialogs with Punch Lines were Faultless. This Drama is Not For Jains Only. It Represents Indian Freedom Movement along with Fundamental Principles of AHINSA, TRUTH, Culture and Sacrifices of People, including Women. It depicted that Simple, but Knowledgeable People of Character and Courage can bring about Great Changes in Society, including FREEDOM.

JAINS are a Small Community among Indians, but its Influence in India and Abroad Go Far Beyond. Its Philosophy and Wealth has played an Important Role so far.

The Persona Of Charismatic Virchand Gandhi:

Born in Mahuva, a Small Town in Gujarat in 1864 and achieved Himalayan Successes in a Life cut short prematurely in 37 years. A Genius and a Scholar, having mastery in 14 Languages, A Degree from Elphinstone College in Bombay in 1884 and A Barristor from London. He helped Mahatma Gandhi in writing Legal Briefs, Experimented in Vegetarian Food and Informed him in the Ahinsa Philosophy of Jainism.

A Stalwart, who impressed The World Council of Religions with his knowledge of Hinduism-Vedant Philosophy, Buddhism, Christianity and their Comparisons. He exposed the Misinformation spread by Christian Missionaries about India. He gave 535 Speeches on Jainism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, and a wide variety of other topics including Indian Economics, International Trade and Western Philosophies in U.S.A.- Chicago, Boston, New York, Washington, - England, France and Germany. He was given accolades everywhere he went. He became Secretary of Jain Association of India at an age of 21 in 1885 and Represented Bombay at 1895 Congress Session in Pune. He wrote Books on Yoga, Karma, Six Systems of Indian Philosophy, Vegetarianism and Other Subjects.

He fought two great Non-Violent Battles against Poll Tax on Pilgrims to Shatrunjaya at Palitana and Closing Down of a Slaughter House near Sammet-Shikhar and Got Brilliant Successes. His achievements were neither acknowledged, nor Supported by Conservative Jains. On the Contrary, he and his family were put to shameful Poverty till his death in 1901. His wife, a Symbol of Indian Woman-hood stood by him valiantly and shared in his sacrifices boldly. 

Role Of Jains And Jainism:

Great Acharya Shri Atmaramji Deputed him to Represent Jainism at The Chicago Parliament of World Religions. Vijay Vallabh Suriji, his disciple is well known for his Community Services, including Mahavir Jain Vidyalaya. In general, the Traditional Jain Community did Not Help and/or Support Virchand Gandhi in his Unique pursuits of PATRIOTISM and NON-VIOLENCE. Mahatma Gandhi put it succinctly in his words to his Secretary Mahadev Desai, “If Virchand would have been with him in the Freedom Movement, India would have received FREEDOM 25 years early”.

What A Great Loss To India Of A Brilliant Patriot:

Jains missed A Golden Opportunity to Participate in The Non-Violent Freedom Movement of India due to questionable untimely Demise of a Pious and Cultural Jain Human Being of the caliber of -

“(VIRCHAND RAGHAVJI) GANDHI BEFORE (MAHATMA) GANDHI”

JAI AHINSA

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharya
  2. Ahinsa
  3. Atmaramji
  4. Bombay
  5. Buddhism
  6. Chicago
  7. Christianity
  8. Dr. Bipin Doshi
  9. Gujarat
  10. Hinduism
  11. Houston
  12. JAINA
  13. JAINA Convention
  14. Jaina
  15. Jainism
  16. Karma
  17. London
  18. Mahatma
  19. Mahatma Gandhi
  20. Mahavir
  21. Mahuva
  22. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
  23. Non-violence
  24. Palitana
  25. Parliament of World Religions
  26. Pune
  27. Shatrunjaya
  28. Swami
  29. Vegetarianism
  30. Vidyalaya
  31. Virchand Gandhi
  32. Vivekanand
  33. Washington
  34. Yoga
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