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Gandhi Bapu, My Books and Me

by Vidya Sury October 2, 2012 26 comments
I am thrilled to have Arvind Devalia here today to talk about his love for Mahatma Gandhiji and his influence on his life.
Arvind is a (mega) personal development blogger, speaker and coach. I’ve been a long time follower of his blogs and have the privilege of connecting with him personally. He’s a warm and wonderful person, besides being a very, very fun-loving one. He took our breaths away with his continuous stream of updates  of the London Olympics 2012 on Facebook. Arvind is an amazing writer who has a way of spurring his readers into action, encouraging them to break free from whatever holds them back from achieving their full potential.
On the occasion of Mahatma Gandhiji’s 143rd birthday, as a steadfast fan of his principles, I am very happy to present Arvind Devalia’s wonderful post today.
 Gandhi Bapu, My Books and Me
by Arvind Devalia

Today is Gandhi Bapu’s 143rd birthday.

I am so honoured and delighted to be here on Vidya’s blog to share my life-long love of Gandhiji and how his message has impacted my life. Indeed, only my late father has had a greater impact on my life.
 It was my father who first instilled Gandhiji’s essence into me from a young age. Then various books which I’ll mention below have helped me on my journey of immersion in Bapu’s life. And now I am so privileged that through my blog and my books, I am able to further spread Gandhiji’s message.  
Gandhiji may not be around but his 6 key life lessons live on.
In our fast and hectic lifestyles today, Gandhiji’s message is still relevant and is needed more than ever before. His life continues to serve us as a shining beacon, guiding us towards our own potential and magnificence.

There is more to life than simply increasing its speed” – Gandhi (Tweet this)

My earliest memory of Gandhiji is my father reading to me and my brothers’ stories about his life and how he got azadi for India through his message of non-violence. We used to be entranced by these stories and we reverently bowed at the many images of Gandhiji that my father had collected.
As I grew older, l developed an insatiable appetite for reading, and as a young boy I read my father’s collection of books on Gandhiji in both Gujarati and English. But what I enjoyed reading most were my father’s own articles about Gandhiji. You see my father was a prolific writer himself. I am so grateful that I seem to have inherited his love and passion for reading and writing.
I got even more into Gandhiji’s work when I went to college and I read so many books on his life. I read the classic biography by Louis Fischer and also the iconic memoir from William L Shirer. Today these books are amongst my prized book collection.
I must have watched the film “Gandhi” by Sir Richard Attenborough a dozen times – and even now, it never fails to move me deeply. If you haven’t watched it recently, then please do watch it again soon!
And if you have never watched this iconic, award winning film, then where have you been?! (Watch the full movie on YouTube)
I even have a signed copy of the book about the making of the movie – it’s signed by Sir Richard Attenborough, not Gandhiji 🙂
A few years ago, I came across this beautifully produced book simply called “Gandhi” which is full of black and white images of his life, many images never released to the world before. I showed my father this book and he loved it too – and he then proudly showed me many more images of Gandhiji from his own collection.

A friend gave me a lovely little book called “Quotes of Gandhi”. I just randomly opened this book and this is the message for all of us on this auspicious day:

I look only to the good qualities of men. Not being faultless myself, I won’t presume to probe into the faults of others” – Gandhi

Take this message into your life every day from today onwards.
Alas, one of my favourite books – “The Story of My Experiments with Truth” by Gandhiji himself has been borrowed by a friend – and yet to be returned. This is a classic and a book you must read too. (Click to Download it now)
So can you tell I am really into Gandhiji? His messages are timeless, and especially relevant in today’s world!
As a young boy, I was so inspired and drawn by Gandhiji’s message that I felt I too could change the world in a big way just like he did. Then somewhere along the way, “life” took over and I got busy with my own stuff. Or maybe that’s just my “story”.
I do what I can in my own way every day. I have also learnt that one doesn’t need to change the world in a big way. Just by making a difference to those around me and serving my community, I am indeed fulfilling Gandhiji’s legacy. And from those little acorns, who knows what will grow.

 “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”- Gandhi (Tweet this)

As Gandhiji said, let your life be your message.
So the question for you on this auspicious day is this – how are YOU fulfilling Gandhiji’s legacy? How are you being the change you want to see in the world?
Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.    

Arvind Devalia lives in London, UK, and blogs at Make It Happen. He is a coach, speaker and author of “Get the Life you Love“. Check out Arvind’s blog and get his Make It Happen Manifesto

Thank you so much, Arvind!

Please join Arvind’s Facebook community: Make it Happen Club and catch up with his Twitter stream  @ArvindDevalia

Thank you, friends! Please feel free to ask Arvind questions!

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Harleena Singh October 2, 2012 at 11:51 am

Wonderful to see you here Arvind! And nice you had him over Vidya, especially on Gandhi Jayanti. :)Oh yes! Gandhiji has been an inspiration for many – including me. I remember the chapters we had in our course books about Gandhiji and how we used to keep asking never ending questions about his life.Also, how engrossed I was when I watched the movie for the first time and saw it a couple of times more. Remarkable man indeed! There is so much to learn from his simplicity and ways, besides his books.Nice to know that you read so much of his books and took up writing and reading from your father. I guess that’s what makes you such a wonderful writer too Arvind. :)Thanks for sharing. 🙂

Arvind October 3, 2012 at 11:53 pm

Harleena, it’s really nice to be here – it feels like I as destined to write this post for Vidya:-).

My late father was a very prolific and talented writer – and he had a phenomenal memory. I remember how once at a cultural event he was spontaneously invited to speak about Gandhi and his life lessons. Totally unrehearsed and without any notes, he spoke for almost an hour – the huge audience were entranced and wanted even more at the end!

And “Gandhi” was his favourite film – except he kept finding anomalies in the story. I had to explain that they probably had to compromise the script here and there:-)

Let’s all continue to follow Gandhi’s message – and make the world a better place…

Vidya Sury October 2, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Thank you so much Harleena (I always appreciate that you come by right away as soon as I publish. I treasure that very much!)

Lovely indeed to have Arvind here on this very special day!

Gandhi – the movie – I remember seeing it the first time, too. I cried buckets. Some friends and I had gone to see it and we looked like soiled wet rags when we emerged from the movie hall – that Jallianwala Bagh scene still gives me nightmares!

Thank you, again, Harleena.

Arvind October 3, 2012 at 11:57 pm

Vidya, I remember being in tears at the end of the film when the credits came on and there’s the quote from Einstein:-

“Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as Gandhi ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.”

Emily Sovich October 3, 2012 at 2:54 am

Wonderful work, Arvind! And Vidya, thanks for another great feature!

Arvind October 3, 2012 at 11:58 pm

Thanks Emily:-)

Vidya Sury October 13, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Thank you, dear Emily!

Betsy at Zen Mama October 3, 2012 at 3:27 am

Vidya and Arvind,
Thank you very much for this reminder of Gandhi’s birthday. I love reading and watching movies about Gandhi. And I really love Gandhi’s quotes. Thanks for sharing this great post!!

Arvind October 4, 2012 at 12:00 am

Betsy, I wanted to write a slightly controversial post about Gandhi but am still working on it:-)

Gandhi came up with so many quotable quotes – what most people don’t know is that he write and published many journals during his life time, chronicling his life journey and his philosophy. There are over 40 years of Gandhi’s collected writings!

Vidya Sury October 13, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Thanks, Betsy. Yes, I share your love for quotes! 🙂 And Gandhi’s are inspiring!

Elle October 3, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Thanks Vidya and Arvind – how can you not love Gandhi – what an inspiration and your post has inspired me to watch the movie for the umpteenth time and see what books are still available, out of the ones you mentioned.

Great stuff!

Love Elle

Arvind October 4, 2012 at 12:01 am

Thanks Elle.

I am also inspired to watch the movie again. I am currently looking after a friend’s 50 inch TV and it will be a treat to watch “Gandhi” in full glory:-)

Vidya Sury October 13, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Wow. How cool, Arvind!

Elle, happy book browsing. That movie moves me still. I am glad some TV channel or other airs it every year at this time!

Love, Vidya

Terri Sonoda October 3, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Vidya is always so inspirational, it is not surprise that she would feature such an inspirational person on her blog. I thoroughly enjoyed this post, and look forward to following Arvind Devalia’s blog and writing in the future.
I was quite moved by the following Gandhi quote:

“I look only to the good qualities of men. Not being faultless myself, I won’t presume to probe into the faults of others” – Gandhi

If only everyone lived by this.

Thank you, Vidya and Arvind, for providing such insightful and thought-provoking information. I look forward to reading you both often.

Arvind October 4, 2012 at 12:04 am

Terri, great to meet you – and thanks for your kind words.

I too love that quote – my book of Gandhi quotes opened up on that page. So clearly, we were all meant to read that quote and apply the words in our life:-)

You say if only everyone lived by this – let’s begin with US.

Let US indeed be the change we want to be…

Vidya Sury October 13, 2012 at 5:52 pm

Dearest Terri, you’ll enjoy Arvind’s blog. Thanks so much for your beautiful comment! Hugs!

Galen Pearl October 3, 2012 at 9:31 pm

So glad to reconnect with Arvind and to learn more about a person I have long admired. Gandhi was a model not just in his own country but all over the world. Indeed, what has been best about the civil rights movement in my country (the US) is what was modeled on his life and teachings. Thanks for sharing this with us.

Vidya Sury October 13, 2012 at 5:49 pm

You know, there’s a little story, Galen. There was a time when people recognized India better as Gandhi-land. 🙂 Talk about true reach! Thanks so much for your lovely comment! Hugs!

Arvind October 3, 2012 at 11:48 pm

Vidya, thanks so much for having me here!

It’s a real pleasure and honour:-)

Let’s hope that we can all share and propagate Mahatma Gandhi’s message through the beauty of blogging – the world needs his wisdom more than ever before today.

PS And thanks too for all your kind words:-)

Love and best wishes


Vidya Sury October 13, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Absolutely my pleasure and privilege, Arvind. Thanks so much for the wonderful post on the occasion of the Mahatma’s birthday!

Yes, we need his wisdom more than ever today.

Hugs! Vidya

Sandra /Always Well Within October 3, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Arvind and Vidya,

I love Gandhi’s message of non-violence, which I feel can be applied equally toward ourselves and others! Thanks for sharing his inspiration here and all the ways we can read his words.

Vidya Sury October 13, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Thank you, Sandra! 🙂 Peace is always desirable, so is simplicity – both of which Gandhi believed in!

Hugs! Vidya

Fran Sorin October 4, 2012 at 4:58 pm


How you inspire! As soon as I finish here, I’m getting onto Amazon to check out the books you suggested. The love and admiration you have your father is magnificent. What he instilled in you are treasures for life.

I agree with you 100% that you don’t have to make changes in a big way. It is the small pearls that when strung together create a joyful life.

Vidya- thank you so much for sharing our dear Arvind on this special day. Love to both of you – Fran

Vidya Sury October 13, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Hi Fran! Lovely post, isn’t it? 🙂 Little drops of water, make the mighty ocean!

Enjoy your book browsing! Hugs, Vidya

Jack October 4, 2012 at 5:19 pm

I have never seen the movie, but I think after reading this I will make a point to do so.

Vidya Sury October 13, 2012 at 5:46 pm

You’ll enjoy it, Jack. Ben Kingsley did a fabulous job of playing Gandhi. Except I thought he was a little too healthy looking! 😀


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