A Speech delivered by Reverend G. Nagase on Hiroshima Day, 6 August 2018, at Tavistock Square, London:
Next year – 2019 – will mark Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary. It will also mark John Ruskin’s 200th birth anniversary. In 1904, in South Africa, Gandhiji read Ruskin’s Unto This Last, and the book galvanized him. It changed his life. In Unto This Last, Ruskin clearly states: ‘THERE IS NO WEALTH BUT LIFE’.
In 1908, Mahatma Gandhi paraphrased Unto This Last into Gujarati, and entitled it SARVODAYA. Sarvodaya means ‘equal rise or prosperity of all, without exception’. Gandhiji used the concept of Sarvodaya to envisage the establishment of a peaceful society through the nonviolence of the brave and the compassionate.
In 1897, the famous American sculptor Gutzon Borglum (1867–1941) visited John Ruskin at his home Brantwood, on the shores of Coniston Water in the Lake District. After Ruskin’s passing in 1900, Borglum created a sculpture of Ruskin in 1903 which today sits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York City.
John Ruskin was born in Brunswick Square at 54 Hunter Street, a mere 500 metres or so from here. In this progressive borough of Camden, Brunswick Square is yet to have a statue of Ruskin, and Hunter Street does not have a blue plaque marking his birth place.
In 1946, Mahatma Gandhi said: “So far as I can see, the Atomic bomb has deadened the finest feeling that has sustained mankind for ages. There used to be the so-called laws of war, which made it tolerable. Now we know the naked truth. War knows no law except that of might. … I assume that Japan’s greed was more unworthy. But the greater unworthiness conferred no right on the less unworthy of destroying without mercy men, women and children of Japan in a particular area. The moral to be legitimately drawn from the supreme tragedy of the bomb is that it will not be destroyed by counter-bombs, even as violence cannot be by counter-violence. Mankind has to get out of violence only through non- violence. Hatred can be overcome only by love.”
A Chant for Peace: NAMUMYOHORENGEKYO.
With palms together in prayer,
Nipponzan Myohoji London Dojo
Reverend G. Nagase
Reverend G. Nagase’s speech can be found on page 15 of Gandhi Way, no. 138, available from the Gandhi Foundation: https://gandhifoundation.org/resources/