Auction to renew Gandhi’s message to world: US collector

March 3rd, 2009 - 12:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, March 3 (IANS) James Otis, the California collector who plans to sell possessions once owned by Mahatma Gandhi, says he had hoped the auction would encourage a renewed discussion of Gandhi’s message.

President Barack “Obama talked a lot about Gandhi in the election and had a picture of him in his office, however since he became president he has sent 17,000 troops to Afghanistan, so it’s clear the hope of his message needs to be made relevant again,” Otis said.

“I hope a discussion continues about the importance of Gandhi’s work and his life message,” added Otis, a documentary filmmaker, activist, and avid collector. His Dr. Seuss collection is said to be among the world’s best, “Once the West understands how the power of non-violence is more important than violence they will be able to help do things to resolve conflicts without killing people,” he told The Daily Beast, a popular news website.

“The Iraq war would not have happened, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and India-Pakistan conflict, all these conflicts could be resolved much better with non-violence. I hope that’s what these items will bring about.”

According to Otis, he first became interested in Gandhi while studying his works in college at the University of Texas in Austin. Through Gandhi, he became involved in human rights activism and he estimates he has been arrested about two dozen times in non-violent protests since then.

“I think what spoke to me deeply was that he wasn’t only a great political leader but a far more great social and spiritual leader,” Otis said.

Otis is currently working on a four hour television documentary with Martin Sheen and Gandhi historian Lester Kurtz, “Peaceful Warriors: A History of Non-violence” recounting the stories of some of the most famous advocates for non-violence in history.

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