Professor of Communication and Department Chair | Communication and Digital Studies
Fredericksburg, VA, UNITED STATES
Dr. Rao specializes in communication and social media issues.
Ph.D., Post-Graduate Studies
M.A., Graduate Studies
B.A., Undergraduate Studies
Metta Center for Nonviolence online
We speak with P. Anand Rao who is a professor of Communications and Digital Studies at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. I reached out to Rao to see if he could talk to us a little bit about what research he’s done into this connection between Gandhi and the civil rights movement. And also, how it ties into the legacy of James Farmer.view more
P. Anand Rao
While touring India in 1959, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. visited Mani Bhavan, the house where Mahatma Gandhi had lived in Mumbai. It was in this home that Gandhi launched his Indian movement for truth and nonviolence, called satyagraha. The home had been turned into a museum, and the upstairs room where Gandhi had slept still held his mattress and shoes. When King visited, he asked if he could spend the night in that room, saying, “I am not going anywhere else. I am going to stay here, because I am getting vibrations of Gandhi.” The curators pulled two cots into the room, and Rev. King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, spent the night next to Gandhi’s mattress. Soon after, King told All India Radio that he had decided to adopt Gandhi’s methods of civil disobedience as his own.
P. Anand Rao et al.
We live, teach and learn in complicated times. As faculty in higher education, we have the opportunity to help uphold the civic purpose of higher education. We are accustomed to helping students navigate academic information, and to equipping them for more standard academic tasks. Through thoughtful course design, we can also help our students become better consumers and evaluators of less traditionally academic information: from critically interpreting what they read and see in the news media, to engaging the arguments of their friends, peers and family members. Further, we can challenge our students to use these evaluative skills to engage in debate and advocacy activities around critical issues of the day.