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Indian Ambassador to UAE Speaks at Emory

August 2006
Indian Ambassador to UAE Speaks at Emory

The Indian ambassador to UAE, Ambassador Chandra Mohan Bhandari spoke at Emory University in Atlanta on July 6, 2006. His visit was sponsored by South Asians for Unity, IACA and the South Asian Studies Program at Emory University. The topic of his speech was "Ethics of Globalization and Erosion of Civilization: Rituals and Religion in Daily Life".

Chandra Mohan Bhandari is a career diplomat and has served in Thailand, Norway, Nigeria, Australia, Cambodia and Canada in different capacities. He was India's Ambassador to Cambodia from 1991--1994 during the UN Peace Process in that country. He was Consul General in Toronto from April 1998 - May 2002. The Indo-Canadian community in Toronto had conferred on him the title of "Consul General of the Millennium" for his services towards community activities. He took over as Ambassador of India to the UAE in June 2005. Mr. Bhandari has had three home postings in the Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi during which he has headed Africa, Coordination, Investment and Technology Promotion, Multilateral Economic Relations and Policy Planning & Research Divisions.���

The ambassador spoke to the audience drawing from his personal experiences and private reflections. He talked about Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. and the legacy of these two modern day icons. Gandhiji's famous quote, "We must be the change we wish to see", was a major theme in Ambassador Bhandari's talk.

He emphasized the fact that many people want to change the world but they only have power to change themselves. This power over one self is an extremely valuable tool that we all possess. He added that one should strive for self improvement through a life long struggle. All religions offer opportunities for self study and repentance. Simplicity and austerity are virtues that allow us to control over ourselves. According to Ambassador Bhandari, the strength of character is achieved through self-denial and not through self-indulgence.

There was a lively discussion that followed his talk. Questions were raised about religious tolerance and world politics. There was a discussion about health benefits that are derived from religious rituals. Ambassador Bhandari responded by talking about the health benefits of fasting and how he had always fasted on Tuesdays but after going to UAE, he had tried the Ramadan fasts which are much stricter.

With a keen interest in cross cultural studies, the Ambassador is author of three books. The first one, "Saving Angkor" on India's restoration of Angkor Wat was published from Bangkok in 1996; the second, "Journey to Heaven: Kailash Mansarovar" was published in 1998 from Delhi; and the third, "Yoga Shakti" was published in 2002 from Toronto. His speech was well received and well attended by all at Emory University.

~ Lala Ahmed

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