FAIRBORN — Wright State University welcomed the great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Tushar Gandhi, as he spoke about the discrepancies in healthcare in India and the rest of the world.
The event took place on Jan. 31 at 9:30 a.m. The event was free and open to the public, with the majority of the audience composed of Wright State graduate students from India.
This marked Gandhi’s first visit to the Dayton area, and following his presentation, he toured Wright State University and other historic locations in the Dayton area before leaving the region on Feb. 2.
In his speech, Gandhi echoed his great-grandfather’s philosophy of peace and selflessness, applying it to the modern world specifically in regard to access to medicine and affordable healthcare. He told stories of his time in India, emphasizing the decline in accessible government healthcare and the need for change.
Gandhi said his primary purpose visiting these students was to encourage them not to feel insignificant even in the face of large-scale disparities of the system.
“I always enjoy the interactions with students,” he said. “Those are impressionable minds, and they are more receptive. My mission in life is to spread the ideas and ideals by which I live, and I see that student minds are much more open than adult.”
When it comes to healthcare and healthcare disparities, Gandhi pointed to his father’s maternal side of the family as inspiration. He shared how this side of the family took healthcare into its own hands, and used knowledge of medicine to treat those around the family in a selfless manner. This selflessness, for Gandhi, is integral to the mission of equality and inclusivity that he said was one of the most serious problems America and the rest of the world face.
I think the problem is all of us have this belief that we are insignificant,” said Gandhi. “And so we don’t even attempt to do what we might be capable of doing. And so wherever I go, I just tell people ‘don’t think about the consequences or the result, just do whatever you can and be assured that that will leave behind a better place than what you encountered.’ ”
Gandhi said the main message he wanted to get across at this event was to instill a sense of responsibility in students.
“That they are responsible for the situation being the way it is, and they are responsible to make a change,” he said.
Social responsibility was a key theme throughout Gandhi’s presentation, which he said was inspired by many different members of his family. His great-grandfather is certainly the most well known, but he attributed equal praise and admiration for his mother and aunt as well.
“I grew up with them for inspiration,” he said.
As a descendant of Mahatma Gandhi, Tushar said he recognizes what he calls the “privilege of my birth,” and said he works to “make the most of it” through advocacy and presentations like this one.
Reach Ethan Charles at 937-372-4444.