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13 апреля / 2019

Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi: Ideas Still Alive

On April 11-12, St. Stephen’s College affiliated to the University of Delhi (DU) hosted the seminar titled Leo Tolstoy: Philosophical Horizons organized with the support of the Russian Embassy in India. Among the honoured guests of the event to commemorate the 190th anniversary of the great Russian writer, were Mr A.Annamalai, Director of the National Gandhi Museum, Prof. Ramesh C. Bhardwaj, Director of the Gandhi Bhawan (DU), Prof. Rajeev Gupta, DU Dean (Students’ Welfare), Prof. John Varghese, St. Stephen’s College Principal, Dr Neelakshi Suryanarayan, Head of the Department of Slavonic and Finno-Ugrian Studies (DU), Mr Anatoly Kargapolov, Minister-Counsellor of the Russian diplomatic mission and  other representatives of the Embassy and Rossotrudnichestvo as well as scholars from Russia.
As Mr Anatoly Kargapolov emphasized in his welcoming address, the correspondence between Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi, highly esteemed in Russia, came down in history of relations between the two countries and became an integral part of our common cultural heritage. In his turn, Prof. Rajeev Gupta noted that the philosophy of Leo Tolstoy, which inspired the Father of the Indian Nation, unites the peoples of India and Russia, making them closer.
The event opening ceremony included the dance and song performances by the students of DU and the Russian Embassy school as well as by the Russian compatriots living in India. A DU senior student also recited an excerpt from the novel Resurrection by Leo Tolstoy which was warmly received by the audience.
The reports by Russian and Indian researchers presented at the seminar highlighted the correspondence between Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi, their spiritual quest and ideas of non-violent resistance. The presentations were made by Dr Galina Alekseeva, Head of the Research Department of Yasnaya Polyana Museum-Estate (Religious preaching of Leo Tolstoy in appreciation of British and American contemporaries), Assoc. Prof. Guzel Strelkova, Moscow State University (Reflection of Tolstoy’s and Gandhi’s ideas in the works of Munshi Premchand), Prof. Gennady Karpenko, Samara University (Leo Tolstoy and the Church: a spiritual experience of passive resistance to the evil), Mr A.Annamalai, Director of the National Gandhi Museum (Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi),
Mr Y.P.Anand, his predecessor in the post (Correspondence between Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi: Contemporary Relevance), Dr Aarati Saxena, Gandhi Bhawan Management Committee Member (Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi: glorious thoughts on truth, humanity and nature), DU Prof. Ranjana Saxena (Actuality of the teaching by Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi in the period of "post-truth"), Prof. Om Mishra (Leo Tolstoy: Spiritual Guide to Gandhi) and Assoc. Prof. Suman Khanna Aggarwal (Tolstoy and Gandhi: stalwarts of non-violence), as well as by Ms Ananda Kapur, CINEMAD Founder Director (Cinemascapes: Tolstoy, Gandhi and the popular imagination), and Dr Girish Munjal, Assoc. Prof. of the DU Department of Slavonic and Finno-Ugrian Studies, the event convener (Leo Tolstoy’s “Kingdom of God is within you”: lasting influences on Gandhi).
A presentation of a miscellany by the participants of the seminar titled Tolstoy and Gandhi: Philosophical Horizons will take place in the near future. The book, edited by Dr Girish Mundjal, was published by the Gandhi Bhawan (DU) with funds provided by the Sun Group (India).
On the second day of the event, the guests had opportunity to attend a lecture by Dr Galina Alekseeva In Search of Utopia: Leo Tolstoy and the Communal Movement and watch a documentary film on the last two years of the writer's life. Students of DU, Jamia Millia Islamia University (New Delhi) and Meerut University (Uttar Pradesh) took part in various competitions, including quizzes on the biography and literary heritage of Leo Tolstoy and the contests for the best drawing and theatre sketch based on his works as well as for Leo Tolstoy’s and Mahatma Gandhi’s finest lookalikes.