PRENOTE: Tomorrow, Monday Jan 25 is the International Day of Education Symposium, presented by UNESCO.  Details here (scroll down to first item).  I’m registered.


Most every day I take an “abstract-random” drive, just to get out of the house for a bit.  It’s my Covid-19 daily therapy.  It works.

Yesterday, my spur-of-the moment drive was back to 27th at E. Lake St. in Minneapolis to see my place, where the Gandhi Mahal restaurant used to be.  Gandhi Mahal was one of the many victims after George Floyd’s murder Memorial Day 2020.

Here’s yesterday’s photo.  Gandhi Mahal, indeed the entire block on which it stood, is still a vacant hole in the ground.

site of Gandhi Mahal, Jan 23, 2021, about 3 p.m.

Today’s Minneapolis Sunday StarTribune had an intriguing headline on the bottom of page 1: “RIOT AID NOWHERE TO BE SEEN” about the aftermath of Memorial Day week in Minneapolis.  I read on to see if any mention was made of Gandhi Mahal and its owner, my friend, Ruhel Islam.  There was specific reference near the end of the article on page A10:

“Ruhel Islam said he is forking out $80,000 to clear away the site of his destroyed restaurant, Gandhi Mahal.  He said city officials have not offered to reimburse him any of those funds.

“Just make it easy for us,” Islam say.  “Don’t make so much process.  We’re dealing with so many things in our lives right now.”

[Steve] Poor [Minneapolis director of development services]. said he is not sure if any of those owners will receive assistance since they hired their own contractors.  He said city officials are still ironing out those details.

“We can’t just give people money,” Poor said, “It’s illegal.”

Personal opinion: all of these comments, by both Islam and Poor, make sense.  This process isn’t, and cannot, and will not be, easy.

Eight months later, almost to the day, Gandhi Mahal is still a hole in the ground; its entire block a vacant lot.  But it’s neighborhood, including Gandhi Mahal, is being resurrected.

Over the months I’ve heard most of the “yah, buts…”

But I’ll make some suggestions anyway:

I’ll be sending another $100 to Ruhel Islam, no strings, to assist as he rebuilds.  I invite your participation.  Send me a check or other non-cash method, in whatever amount, made/payable to  Ruhel Islam, and I’ll get your letter, unopened, to him, two weeks from now.  Send to Dick Bernard, PO Box 25384, Woodbury MN 55125.  On the envelope put “RI” or similar in the lower left corner.

If you’re in the south Minneapolis area stop in at his interim location, “Curry in a Hurry” at the corner of 31st and Franklin Ave.

Or, alternatively, do something similar for someone else similarly affected in these last eight months.

I was back to that corner this morning, to take a few more photos.  Resurrection is happening.  Recovery is more than simply a soundbite.  Find some way to get involved.

Ruhel and his many fellow victims will appreciate it.  .

27th Ave at E. Lake St Minneapolis Jan. 24, 2021.  Gandhi Mahal would have been at the near center left between the traffic light and the snow-covered pile of dirt.  Every building on that side of the street has now been demolished and removed.

Gandhi Mahal as it was Nov. 13, 2016.  This photo was taken in the meeting room area.  The restaurant was a popular community gathering place.

Jan. 24, 2021: New building under construction two blocks north of Gandhi Mahal near the now reopened Aldi’s.

Ruhel Islam with my friend and peace and justice advocate Lynn Elling Dec. 2, 2015. Lynn was nearing the end of his life, and Ruhel and singer Larry Long and I went down to the Nursing Home where Lynn was then resident. Ruhel brought lunch from Gandhi Mahal. Lynn died in February, 2016, and Ruhel was at the Memorial Service in May.

POSTNOTE: So, who did the mayhem in Minneapolis-St. Paul and other places, like Portland and Kenosha and on and on?  There were protests, but that is different than mayhem – burning buildings, breaking windows and on and on.  So, re the local versions of the U.S. Capitol assault of Jan. 6, 2021.

My opinion:  Other than those already arrested and identified by media, I have no idea, of the specifics, but you can believe that the culprits will be brought to justice, though it will be more months and perhaps even longer.

The violence was perfect for ThePastMan, who went on the “law and order” offensive – until the U.S. Capitol disaster occurred.

Be patient.

Last night we watched the strangely addictive 48-hours – which specializes in real-life whodunnits sometimes many years old.

Last nights laid out a 30 year old murder in a small town in Alabama.  It was a true cold case which happened in the days before things like DNA.  In this case, it was a lady who had first-hand knowledge of what happened (but was not involved in the case itself), who finally came forward and told a story nobody had heard earlier.   Perhaps it can be watched at the programs website.  The town was Ozark Alabama.  The key word is Beasley.

Those involved in the Capitol mayhem are learning quickly the possible consequences.  Minneapolis was the pioneer, and the element of surprise has slowed down justice.  Just wait.

COMMENTS (More at end of post):

from Rebecca: Dick: Thanks for writing about my neighborhood and our mutual friend Ruhel Islam. I have not yet ordered from Curry in a Hurry, but I will. And make a donation online.Scott and I love Ruhel, supported him through his expansion 2 blocks from our house, the disaster that destroyed his place and Migizi’s just as they were creating an every-expanding presence of hope and unity in Longfellow at 27th and E. Lake St. We hope  that he can stay in this area. He is a really hard-working, spiritual activist and people-person. I guess that he isn’t a saint or a perfect man, no one is, but many of us, like you and me, call him brother.

from Maria: Thank you Dick for your today’s reflections on ‘resurrection’ and photos. I have vivid and fond memories of our meetings with various peace and justice groups at the Gandhi Mahal, especially with members of the Advocates for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. I still contribute to them.

So moving the photo with Lynn Elling…

from Jeff: interesting that two more guilty pleas for the police precinct arson shows both right wing and left wing radicals involved.

I tend to think people discount the ability of the mob mentality at night to embolden young males to do crazy things……less politics and more frenzy.
[Do] you know that Gandhi Mahal was attacked for sure by right wingers?
response from Dick:  to the preceding sentence, no, I don’t know.  As previously noted, however, the truth will out.  I do know that Ruhel Islam was well respected by the community, and made many civic contributions.  His restaurant would be a very unlikely target.
from Dennis: Dick, thanks for sharing this update and interesting, important Resurrection story — much appreciated! I’m pleased to mail you a check in the morning.


2 replies
  1. norman hanson
    norman hanson says:

    To be honest here, Dick, if the owner of the place was so sympathetic to the cause, why on earth did they burn his place down let alone the many other places that they relied upon for their daily goods and services? I still do not understand that rationale that justified that in the minds of so many.

  2. Barbara G
    Barbara G says:

    Mr Hanson, I believe it was not locals who torched those businesses. It has been verified that a significant number of the rioters (as opposed to protesters) poured into Minneapolis because protests are like magnets to them. Violence is their hobby.


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