Gandhi Research Foundation


Prof. Gita Dharampal

Dean of Research

Dr. John Chelladurai

Dean of Academics

Ashwin Zala

Program Co-ordinator and Editor

• Curriculum Vitae with Select Publications

Gita Dharampal, retired Professor and Head, Department of History, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University, acquired an interdisciplinary academic training in literature and philosophy (Manchester, England and Leipzig, East Germany, 1970-74), social anthropology (Cambridge, England, 1975-76) and Indian cultural history (1976-1980, SOAS, London and Sorbonne, Paris, Ph.D.), and completed her Habilitation (= German professorial dissertation) in early modern history (Freiburg, Germany, 1992). Her publications and research focus on topics ranging from pre-modern transcultural interactions between Europe and India, the maritime cultural history of the Indian Ocean region (1400-1800), medical history, religious-ritual transformations (1500-2000), the socio-cultural and political history of the colonial period, in general, with a special emphasis on Mahatma Gandhi’s movement of political and cultural resurgence. Besides participating actively in international conferences and giving invited keynote talks, she has held visiting fellowships and professorships at various international institutions, among others, at Stanford University, USA, as well as at Indian universities (Delhi, Kolkata, and Hyderabad). Her language competencies include English, German, French, Latin, and basic Hindi.

• Curriculum Vitae

Dr. John did his doctoral research on ‘Social Conflict’ at the Peace Research Centre, Ahmedabad, India, (1992-95). He was part of a social experiment "Friends Commune" for seven years. It was a bread labour based commune living with common property, common economy and common kitchen. He served as the Director of India Peace Centre, Nagpur (2003-12), during which he worked on idea creation, dissemination and advocacy in the areas of social justice, equitable economics, sustainable ecology and disarmament. As a seasoned facilitator of "Conflict Transformation" training, he has evolved an optimized approach to deal with the challenges of life and a hybridized (inclusive-exclusive) methodology to convert conflict into creative experience. He has facilitated sixty-nine workshops on ‘Dealing with conflict’ and twenty-five TOTs on ‘Peace Building’. As Dean of Academics at GRF, he was instrumental behind the launching of a number of academic programs including the PGDSRR (PG Diploma in Sustainable Rural Reconstruction), International Winter School on Gandhian Nonviolence, and Internship on Sustainable Development. He has designed an innovative learning exercise called ‘Peace Walk’ that enables people to explore their seamless "self".

• Curriculum Vitae

Ashwin Zala has submitted his doctoral dissertation on ‘Gandhi’s Resource Mobilization for Public Work: Cause, Method and Management’ at the Gujarat Vidyapith, Ahmedabad. His Master’s dissertation on ‘People’s Preparedness against Disaster’, with special reference to the Kutch district of Gujarat, was conferred with the ‘best research work in disaster management’ award by Unnati Foundation and the Government of Gujarat. He is regularly invited by universities and colleges to hold keynote lectures on Gandhi and Ahimsa, the scope of social work, Gandhian economics, and Gandhi as a leader and management guru. His research and publications focus on various tenets of Gandhian thoughts. Prior to joining the GRF, he was the coordinator of MSW College affiliated with Bhavnagar University and a core member of the curriculum design committee at Bhavnagar University. At the GRF, besides being the research associate and program coordinator of the PG Diploma course in Sustainable Rural Reconstruction, he is also the editor of the GRF’s monthly bilingual magazine ‘Khoj Gandhiji Ki"