Page 1

Martyrs’ Day Special

Delhi No. F. 2 (S-45) Press/ 2016

03

Vol-1 | Issue-7 | February 05, 2017 | Price ` 5/-

sulabhswachhbharat.com

EMPOWERING THE NATION

nagaland

gandhian in spirit

This old man has stayed put and spread peace in the state that was hit by insurgency

30

photo feaTURE

GANDHI’S LIFE & TIME He was once the perfect English gentleman who later took to the simple dhoti

32

ANECDOTES

KASTURBA’S GOODBYE

Mahatma Gandhi’s final goodbye to his companion of 40 years was an emotional one

The Living Gandhis Sulabh Swachh Bharat tried to find some of the Gandhians and bring their personalities and work to you to not only read and enjoy but also have some take aways, some lessons and some inspiration

E

very human being is destined to die but his deeds are reflected in his memory. Better deeds, longer the memory. But there are very few men whose memory lasts as long as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. He was not called a Mahatma for nothing. His body of work was much greater than many Mahatmas (saints) born before and after him. In fact, his life is legendary, lifestyle is still being copied and his thought process still called Gandhian philosophy. He has been a source of inspiration to millions of people across the world including greats like Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama. There is hardly a country which doesn’t have a statue of Mahatma Gandhi or doesn’t have a road named after him or doesn’t have a chapter Gandhi. But, we don’t remember him merely by naming roads and monuments after him. Gandhi is known for his thoughts

dr bindeshwar pathak

GANDHIAN IN ACTION Much acclaimed founder of Sulabh International, Dr Bindeshwar Pathak is embodiment of Gandhian values, spreading them through his contemporary lifestyle and work... sharad gupta

L

ecturing on Gandhian philosophy might be easy but imbibing and internalising it and practicising in everyday life is very difficult. Its often said that there can’t be another Gandhi. But if someone comes very close to the mark, it is Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of Sulabh international. His journey from being a student seeking a comfortable and well-paying job to being someone liberating millions from bondage

is not only interesting but inspirational as well. His thought process too comes very close to Gandhi’s. And after a brief chat session it is also enlightening to know how practical and relevant his thoughts are in the present context. Dr Pathak was born in a Brahmin family in Bihar. When he was 14 his family’s fortune incurred huge financial loss after his grandfather’s death. As a young English Graduate he tried many jobs. In 1967, 25 year old Bindeshwar Pathak had missed getting a First Class that would have landed

him a lecturer’s job in a college. He tried being a school-teacher, a pay-roll clerk and even a street by street salesman of his grandfather’s bottles of proprietary homecure mixture. Deciding to get himself a Master’s degree at Sagar University, MP, he boarded a train. At Hajipur, an elderly family friend talked him out of his move and promised him a ‘good job’ instead, in the Gandhi Centenary Committee at ‘Rs. 600 per month’. He got off the train and was ...Contd. on Page 2

which he evolved, imbibed and practicised before preaching. That is why there still are billions who believe in him and try to emulate him in their lives and work. The man might have been killed on December 30, 1948 but he is still living on in the work of similar people who have devoted their lives to selfless service to the society. Some of them may have become famous but for every such well-known Gandhian, there are thousands of those Gandhians who have been working silently in some distant corner of the country. Sulabh Swachh Bharat tried to find some of the Gandhians and bring their personalities and work to you to not only read and enjoy but also have some take aways, some lessons and some inspiration. Let millions of Gandhis be born for the death of every Gandhian. Gandhi can’t die. He is still living in many of us.


02

Martyrs’ Day Special

February 05, 2017

Cover Story

...Contd. from Page 1

led to Patna. The promised job wasn’t quite there, but he believes that his lifelong commitment to scavenger liberation through maintenance-free toilets began that day. His Brahmin family in Rampur Baghel village of Vaishali believed and practicised untouchability. In his Rampur Baghel village, when women would come to sell sieves and other ware used in winnowing his grandmother always made it point to ensure that nobody from the house ended up touching these women. One day, little Bindeshwar decided to see for himself, what happens when such a person is touched. Nothing happened to him but all hell certainly broke loose in the family. A Brahmin touching a scavenger was a taboo. To cleanse his body and soul the boy was given a ritual bath with Ganga Jal, administered cow-dung and cow-urine. Dr Pathak did not take up the Gandhi Centenary Committee’s job for any social service. He joined the committee because it was paying well. But, actually he had been deceived. The political instability in Bihar meant that instead of Rs. 600 as promised, it was a temporary job at Rs. 12 per month. But one meeting in 1967 with wellknown Gandhian RajendraLal Das, changed the course of his life. Das then 65, was a member of Sarvodaya movement, that worked on Gandhi’s social concerns. His main focus was on scavenger liberation. He urged Pathak to work with him. This was a cause very dear to Gandhi himself. Gandhi always used to sweep his ashram and clean toilets. He always opposed untouchability. He often used to eat with scavengers. At the 1901 Calcutta Congress Convention Gandhi shocked delegates asking them not to engage scavengers but to clean their own toilets. Finding no takers, he shocked them some more by dramatically cleaning his own. It left a deep impression on the convention. Subsequent annual conventions had only Congress volunteers cleaning toilets. He always believed in saying - Be the change you want to see around you. At Das’s urging, Pathak went to live in a Bhangi colony in Bettiah. This cleared him with any brahminism left in him. He wanted to rid them of scavenging. The challenge was to make maintenance-free toilets and train the scavengers for other occupations. The western-style flush toilet was too expensive for middle class India so he looked for technological solutions which should be suitable for both rural and urban India. A deeply sloping toilet pan was developed to enable effective flushing with just a mug of water. But there were no takers thanks to red-tapism. The break finally came in Arrah in 1973. Municipal Officer when approached Pathak with the idea,was a game. He have an order for two public toilets at a cost Rs 500. Thus India’s first two-pit, maintenance-free privy

Dr Pathak carrying human excreta on his head with others

was built in Arrah using local masons. From here emerged the Sulabh business model, that is still continuing successfully. Sulabh will insist on advance payments but will seek no subsidies, donations, loans or grants. Orders followed in quick succession and soon made the entire Sulabh operation self-sustaining. Sulabh International has so far, built 1.5 million toilets, liberating more than 1,20,000 scavengers and 640 towns from scavenging. But the task is huge. Over 7 million toilets are still being scavenged by human beings in India. We need 10 million toilets to completely eradicate scavenging. Dr Pathak is known for the high level of professionalism in achieving his targets. He has a systematic way of surveying the place, estimating the cost and building the toilets. Only Rs 25,000 to Rs 30000 is required to built a toilet. Corporates are willing to fulfill their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) by associating with Dr Pathak. How many people in today’s world would hand over entire cost of the project to somebody before even embarking on it? Can you think of a person to whom Government agencies hand over projects without inviting tender? That is the kind of integrity and credibility Dr Pathak enjoys. Like Gandhi Dr Pathak too is a man of Spartan habits. He has his strict routine, spiritual practise, simple Khadi dress, simple food habits etc. one could say that he acquired a status of a saint. Who is a saint? Someone who is able to control his desires, who respects his environment, nature, and his surroundings. By this Gandhi was a saint. So many people idolised Gandhi, but only a few focused on implementing his

Despite being a Brahman, Dr Pathak took up the cause of scavengers and lived their experiences

Snapshots At the Calcutta Convention, Gandhi shocked people asking them to clean their own toilets That principle has found its modern flowering in the Swachhta Movement Sulabh has liberated millions of human scavengers by using technology developed by it

philosophy. These days when basic fundamentals of Gandhian philosophy are being questioned and sought to be demolished by a section of the society especially on the internet, it is necessary to reorient Gandhian way of life. In Dr Pathak’s philosophy, there are no restrictions in eating and dressing habits of people. When a child is born, there are three things it inherits naturally which become the fundamental core of his or her being. First, the place he is born. He will naturally have an attachment to that place. No matter where he lives in this world, he would always want to go back to the place he was born. Second, he will always love it, always remember it and will always want it the food cooked by his mother. He could have tried different dishes from around the world, but mom’s food is something he will always long for. Third, his mother tongue. It doesn’t matter how much a man studies, how many languages he learns, every time his mother tongue is spoken he will have a natural affinity for it. He will think in that language. Any conversation in his mother tongue will always touch his heart. Gandhi might have abjured nonvegetarian food and any other cloth than

Khadi, Dr Pathak never put any restrictions that interferes on an individual’s identity. Like Gandhi, he respects and celebrates our country’s pluralism and diversity. Same goes for Khadi, our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, brought in back in style. He showed the world how fashionable Khadi can be. Khadi is increasingly becoming popular with young people. But, Dr Pathak doesn’t make it compulsory for people to wear Khadi. If you force something on someone, it never becomes a popular move, he feels. If someone thinks that Khadi is important to be a Gandhian, then they will feel disconnected and will not prefer to wear it. Dr Pathak experimented with the two towns in Rajasthan to remove untouchability. We cannot get rid of the caste system but the discrimination against the lower caste can be stopped by the society though economic independence. The women scavengers were trained in different fields like food processing as well as market oriented trades like tailoring, embroidery, fashion designing, and beautycare. The trained women naturally acquired self-confidence. In fact, it has boosted their morale and they were engaged in selfsustaining professions. Earlier they earned a merge Rs 300-400, but after training their income went up to Rs 15 thousand a month. They provide beauticians’ services to the women of the very houses they were once barred from entering. Earlier people from the other upper caste wouldn’t even walk on their shadows but now they allow them message their faces. He wanted to break the concept of ‘twice born’. He helped them perform rites and rituals of the Brahmins and the other upper castes. Initially, there was resistance from the people and they denied them even entry into the temples. He took some of the ‘outcastes’ to the Nathdwara temple. He was met with lot of resistance. Instead of taking a confrontationist attitude he took the path of persuasion and successfully convinced the Priests to allow them entry. The Brahmin who used to abhor these families later offered them a cup of tea and even invited the ‘untouchables’ on two separate occasions to attend the marriages of their daughters. The scavengers freely mingle with the families of upper castes, especially the families, who earlier employed them to clean and carry night soil. This demonstrated a change in the mind set and attitude of the people of the society. There is hardly any sign of untouchability in these towns now. The Economic and Social Council of the United Nations invited these liberated scavenger women in 2008 to attend the Proceedings of the House at the United Nations. They also walked the ramp with famous models from United States of America and India. They went to see the Statue of Liberty, a symbol of liberty, equality and freedom and they were so overwhelmed that from this great monument they gave a clarion call that they


February 05, 2017

Cover Story Martyrs’ Day Special

natwar thakkar nagaland

GANDHIAN IN WORK & SPIRIT It is surprising that a man from Gujarat would go to a land not just far from his home but stay put to stop insurgency violence

are no more ‘untouchables’ and have now achieved real freedom. Today nobody can say that there is no answer or solution to the problem of scavenging or untouchability in India. With persistence, determination and strong leadership we can together challenge, eradicate and reform many unjust practices in our society. The ownership lies with us to take actions. With right affirmative action, former manual scavengers can be brought higher up the social pyramid. It doesn’t happen in a day. You need to be a part of them and understand their pain and suffering. This will generate confidence in them and also among those who believe in untouchability. He often cites example of Che Guavara who got freedom for Cuba by violence but when he came to India in 1959, he accepted the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi and said if you work against the oppressors they will crush the oppressed. Therefore it is better to bring change in the society by non-violence rather than violence. Truthfulness, non-violence, honesty, integrity, ethics, morality coupled with vision, mission, commitment, capabilities, action and efficiency are some of the ingredient of the philosophy he follows. God has helped each human being to help pthers. Swami Vivekanand said “they alone live who live for others.” While Gandhian philosophy says, “An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.” And lastly what John F. Kennedy stated in his inaugural address – “ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” The most important thing is that we can solve the problems of the society by love, compassion and affection etc. To make a harmonious relationship among the people living in the society we will have to accept the philosophy of Confucius, a great Philosopher and Social Reformer of his time. Dr Pathak always held that he was not Gandhi, but he strongly believed in Gandhian principles implementing them it in every way he could for the betterment of society and prosperity of the country. His dream for India is no different from the one envisaged by the Father of India, he feels.

rajeev bhattacharya

W

hen the hills in Nagaland were set ablaze by separatist militants demanding independence, a frail young man landed from Gujarat in 1955 to spread the message of Mahatma Gandhi. Four decades later, he came to be known “Nagaland’s Gandhi” for the selfless service he offered at a remote hamlet in Mokokchung. Natwar Thakkar, popularly known as Natwar bhai, is a Gandhian social worker who migrated to Nagaland for social work at the age of 23. Not surprisingly, rebels belonging to Naga National Council (NNC) threatened him with dire consequences if he did not leave Chuchuyimlang where he planned to set up a Gandhi ashram. He was suspected of being a spy of the army who had been tasked to report on the activities of the militants. The 1950s and 60s were turbulent times in Nagaland. The Naga rebels would not accept anything less than complete separation from India and foreign powers were also contacted by the rebels to assist the fledgling movement with weapons, training and bases. Thakkar had been attacked and threatened by insurgents several times to leave the state. But he

found support from Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India, who encouraged him to stay in the village and to continue his work. The prime minister also allotted funds to promote his initiatives. But the tide began to turn after a couple of years. On several occasions, Thakkar acted as an intermediary between the army and villagers and was successful in preventing many a gun-battle in the village between the two sides. Such incidents usually result in massive collateral damage and loss of innocent lives. Gradually, his bond with the locals was strengthened. Convinced about his dedication and commitment, the villagers appealed to the militants not to harm Thakkar. A humble beginning of the Nagaland Gandhi Ashram was made within a few months of his arrival in the village. In due course and after the threat from the militants subsided he evolved a scheme to assist residents in various development and income generating activities, including beekeeping, production of jaggery, a biogas plant, a mechanised carpentry workshop, and a Khadi sales outlet. He also launched a vocational training centre for school drop-outs and the physicallyhandicapped children. Encouraged by the success in these endeavours, Thakkar went ahead to set up a primary school, medical centre and library in the village. The village where Thakkar set up his base is inhabited by the Ao, one of the most advanced and literate Naga tribes

Thakkar helping a scabies ridden boy in 1955

03

Snapshots He landed up in Nagaland in 1955, when the state was burning with militancy Four decades later, now the people in the northeast know him as Gandhi of Nagaland He has been attacked and threated many times by rebels but Nehru supported him

perhaps because of their centuries-old interaction with people in the plains of Assam. The Ao were among the first to give up headhunting after conversion to Christianity began in the later decades of the nineteenth century. Headhunting was a custom among the Nagas that included raids on neighbouring villages, decapitating the rivals’ heads and bringing them back home as war trophies. Thakkar overcame the initial hostility from the Nagas and decades later the village honoured him with the “Lifetime Service to Naga People” award. Thakkar was born in 1932 to a Gujarati family in the coastal Dahanu town of the then Bombay Presidency of British India. He drew inspiration from the Gandhian social reformer Kaka Kalelkar early in his life and subsequently decided to go to Nagaland at the age of 23 to foster goodwill and emotional integration through voluntary social service using Gandhian principles. Due to his relentless efforts, an extension centre of the government funded National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology was set up in Chuchuyimlang village in 2006. Acknowledging the efforts of Thakkar, villagers donated 232 acres (94 ha) of land to the Nagaland Gandhi Ashram for construction of the Mahatma Gandhi centre of Social Work (MGCSW). The Tata Institute of Social Sciences has shown interest in getting associated with this institute. He is also the managing trustee of Mahatma Gandhi Ishani Foundation and edits a bimonthly journal Ishani. Thakkar has been on the board of various committees like the National Literacy Mission, Northeastern Zonal Committee of CAPART, Weaker Section Expert Committee and many others. The government and agencies have showered him with awards in recognition of his unique efforts to spread the message of the Father of the Nation at one of the most disturbed zones in the country. In 1999 he was conferred the Padma Shri Award which was followed by the Diwaliben Mehta Award, Jamnalal Bajaj Award, Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration, Meghalaya State Mahatma Gandhi Award, as well as the highly prestigious Karmayogi Award in 2015.


04

February 05, 2017

Martyrs’ Day Special

Cover Story

Gvvsds prasad andhra pradesh

following gandhi’s path

There is need to rework our concepts of scavenging and about regenerating our rural economy

Do you think the youth is still interested because there is a huge campaign against Gandhi and Gandhi-ism especially on the social media? Gandhi stood for equality of all people. Some people who do not believe in that can never accept Gandhi. Because his basic principal is ‘Sarvodaya’, welfare of all. But our Prime Minister is himself promoting Gandhi. Do you think there is conflict somewhere in the ruling party itself? I think when the Prime Minister has spread the message of Mahatma Gandhi today, the whole nation has started taking Gandhi and his words seriously. I believe it’s a positive thing, and according to me for everybody who is working for the values of Mahatma Gandhi, it is a strength. So the nation has a good opportunity to work on the Gandhian ideals. Do you think there is a lack of information and interest among youth about Gandhian values? Here I would say it’s a failure on our part. If we don’t teach them the Gandhian values we can’t blame them for not having those values. If we do teach them these values and still they are indifferent, then you can say youth are not in our fort. And I would like to stress that these youths are our children and we should take the responsibility to teach them the values.

sharad gupta

G

VVSDS Prasad is secretary of Sarva Seva Sangh, a loose confederation of Gandhian organisations. Basically a Telugu, Prasad keeps flitting between Sevagram, Wardha and Hyderabad besides of course travelling across the country and the continents propogating Gandhian values. While on a visit to Sulabh Gram, Delhi to meet its founder Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, he spoke to Sharad Gupta about where Gandhism is headed to and how relevant Gandhian thoughts are in the present context. Here are the excerpts...

Tell us something about your Sarva Seva Sangh... Mahatma Gandhi wanted to organise a meeting on February 5, 1948. But six days before the meeting could take place he was assassinated. So his followers and nationalists at the time organised the meeting in March, a month later. The meeting was headed by the then President of India, Dr Rajendra Prasad, and attended by the Prime Minister of India Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narain, Aacharya Vinoba Bhave, Zakir Husain, Sarojani Naidu, JB Tripulani. All the national leaders of the time, around 80 of them, attended the meeting. Sarva Seva Sangh was founded in that meeting.

Snapshots Gandhiji wanted a meeting to discuss how to rebuild our society, but he was killed After his death the meeting was held and Sarva Seva Sangh formed The Sangh works for equality and for reviving the rural economy of the country

What was the meeting about? The title of the meeting was, Gandhi is gone, who will guide us now. We had developed a slavish mentality after 200 years of British rule that had broken our morale. So Gandhi said let’s discuss how to rebuild our society. And he felt that we should do it on the foundation of truth and non-violence which can be found in the simplest of villages. He understood the culture and traditions of our country embedded within the roots of Indian civilisation. This organisation was established under the leadership of Acharya Vinoba Bhave, Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narain, Siddharaj Dadda. So that is the virasat (herirtage) the entire Gandhian movement is into Sarva Seva Sangh.

Do you get the support you should be getting from the public? We go to the public, teach them these values and inform. Then if our people reject that, it’s a different story. Gandhi wrote in Hind Swaraj detailing the image he had for the future of India. He emphasised on the rural mindset. How to check the disparity between the villages and cities? Exodus from the villages is something I am also not happy about. And the best model of development is that the rural wealth should stay in the villages. The products like tobacco, liquor, soft drinks are taking away the rural money. All this doesn’t add an inch to the quality of life in villages. Villagers are using Colgate, don’t they have alternatives? One can make toothpowder out of cow dung. I use it myself. So, excellent alternatives are always available. The Britishers took your money beating us; now with westernisation of our culture, same is being done. Gandhi said, we hug the chains that bind us. Then how to reverse the trend? Don’t use them. I estimate around Rs 20 crore is being taken away from each village in the country every day. All with liquor, tobacco, soft drinks, confessionary, cosmetics, etc. On top of that they are taking it to our subconscious with the advertisements. And if a state has 30,000

Gandhi believed in equality. Some people who do not believe in that will never believe in Gandhi

villages around Rs six lakh crore is being taken away from each village every year. We have to save our village economy. But employment opportunities are dying out in the villages. What is the alternative if not migration? There are employment opportunities within the resources available. With technology it’s possible. There are models. Just like biogas, such an excellent technology. It can be performed in every household. It’s a policy matter. There is no encouragement, no policy support for the decentralised systems. And the conditions are so bad because the policies are in the hands of people running the centralised systems. In the 73rd amendment, Panchayati Raj, the idea to take financial empowerment to the grassroots. Has it succeeded. Have schemes like MGNREGA succeeded? It’s one of the most beautiful systems where you can manage the areas, resources, people and determine your priorities. People’s self government. But today these have become, I think training grounds for corruption. I have worked with many of them, they cry over finances shortages. I tell them, you don’t have the money but you do have the power. Use that power and you can achieve anything with that. But the centralised model that we have in the country today, that destroys any good possibilities like that.We have to allow independent economy in the rural areas, only then can the Gandhi come alive. How close do you think, is Sulabh to Gandhi’s model? It’s completely Gandhian model. One, a social issue was taken, harijan, scavengers. Gandhi said I would be born a ‘Bhangi’ in my next birth, Dr Pathak has done it already. He became a part of their community and got them rid of the malpractices using technology. He brought them respect and gave them back their self respect. He brought awareness about how the same product can be properly used. This is not an ordinary action and this is purely a Gandhian model. I can say that Gandhiji’s real work was done by Sulabh. So do you think that it’s a sustainable model that can be used to connect with the youth? I think not only sustainable, but for youth it is a dynamic model. He has shown, what is taboo can be converted into a commodity for merchandise. There is a huge demand for toilets across the country. That’s a business model for you.


February 05, 2017

Cover Story Martyrs’ Day Special

chandrabhushan bihar

05

Snapshots

Tamso ma jyotirgamaya

It is that, literally… the extremely impoverished, denigrated Musahar community is being brought of ages of darkness with the spread of education Kids from Musahar community at the centre

Chandrabhushan and his organisation are working for the uplift of Musahars Their primary focus is to reach education to this extremely backward community of Bihar Today these people are more confident and seeking their dignity back

villages of Kako block in Jahanabad district namely Titai Bigha village, Ratan Bigha, Latanpati, Golakpur, Salempur, Badsara, Kosiawan, Firozi and Usari.

sanjay upadhyay

“B

haiya ji! Schoolwa me kab namma likhtai? Tolwan ke sab ladkawan schoolwa jaye laglai,… ta hamaar ladkawa kahe na padhtai?” (Bhaiya ji! When will the admission process start in the schools? All the boys of the group are going to school. Why can’t my son study?) This heart-wrenching voice not only comes from Lal Bihari Maanjhi, Meena or Paaswan of the Musahar community but is echoing from every nook and corner of the society. The Musahar community now is craving for a new identity for its men, women and children after having lived for ages in a dark world. They want to be literated and independent and want to walk with their heads held high. The Musahar community in India is considered the lowest of the Dalit strata and is the most despised and denigrated community in India. The term ‘Mushar’ literally means rat-eaters. They are named musahar due to their eating habits. Most of them live in abject poverty and rarely has a Musahar boy or girl gone to, let alone finished, school. The emphasis on elementary education under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is on full swing in every state of the country paving way to education for all villages through primary schools. Making primary education a fundamental right has accelerated the level of awareness even among scheduled caste people towards

the importance of education. But it is still the lowest caste, based in Bihar even today among the Musahar community. If anything is to be held responsible for their backwardness it is certainly their socio-economic condition but equally responsible are their own customs, practices and traditions. Like in other states, there are NGOs in Bihar also, partnering with the state government and contributing towards bringing this community at par with others in the field of education. Although right to education had been associated with fundamental rights a long time ago but it needs to be reflected in the Musahar community of Bihar. Gandhian Campaigner ‘Abhiyan’ is an NGO working towards the upliftment of this community. Its director Chandrabhushan has been working constantly for the past two decades for Musahar people. The urge for the advancement of this community at the grassroots level made him choose Jahanbad district in Bihar as his work land. And today he is the last person to work closely for educating this community and make it self-reliant. He is working constantly in 35 villages of Kako block in Jahanabad and 25 villages of Masaurhi block in Patna district for the people of this community. The organisation, before starting its work, first went to 60 villages predominantly populated by Musahar

The situation is such that

there is just one person in that village who has passed the Class 12 exams community and studied about their real conditions. Then it facilitated them in phases to get work under the MNREGA and other social security schemes. They specially took help of Anganwadi centres to spread awareness among Musahar children. Today, 1,685 children of this community go to either government schools or Anganwadi centres regularly. The efforts are building new confidence in this community as these can be seen as important steps towards mainstreaming them with the society. On the other hand, children who could not get admission in the government schools, or they are unable to attend Anganwadi centres for some reason, go to special support centres set up in government school building premises by Abhiyan. The organisation has setup these support centres in nine Musahar majority

Special Support Over 396 children of 400 Musahar families are getting education in these support centres after the main school gets over. It is a unique experiment that the government school buildings are used for such centres for spreading education. Not only this, Chandrabhushan and his organisation are taking a lot more initiatives in order to inculcate education, confidence and self-reliance among the Musahar community. Until today, people of this community used to think that they are only meant to work as labourers but now they are encouraged to become members of the Anganwadi development committee. Mundar Devi, Sonamti, Shanti Devi and few other local Musahar women are contributing and supervising the development programmes by themselves as the members of Anganwadi development committee. There is a positive atmosphere in the community due to such initiatives. Young men like Maheshwar Maanjhi of Titai Bigha are working as ‘tola sevak’ (peer educators) and cooperating in running the support centres in the primary school premises. Providing them with something as basic as education becomes even more important when we learn the fact that in Latanpati village only one person of this community is graduate. The picture is even gloomier when it comes to Inter mediate students. There is just one person who is Class 12th pass. One can understand the level of paucity of education from such eyeopening facts. Chandrabhushan tells how his efforts have brought new rays of hope. “Puniya Devi and Rajmati Devi have fought ward and Panch elections and have won them too. Rekha Devi of Latanpati has joint the school management committee while Gita Devi is representing her community in the Anganwadi Development Committee,” says he. Such efforts have not only helped the Musahar community to come in the mainstream society but have also motivated it towards a bright and better future.


06

Martyrs’ Day Special

February 05, 2017

Cover Story

razee ahmed bihar

GANDHI IS THE final solution

The modern pattern of development is disastrous and this has to be changed to follow the Gandhian pattern, with villages at the core of our thinking, says the octogenarian

sanjay upadhyay

R

AZEE Ahmed, a noted Gandhian had a tete-a-tete with our Bihar Correspondent and expressed his views over use of modern technology in the context of globalization of economy and society. He advises the policymakers to keep people’s benefit as the overall thrust of technological advancement. Inspired by Gandhi’s deeds and thoughts, he picked up a project of Gandhian philoshphy in association with the Government of Bihar. He left the job of a college lecturer and joined the Gandhian movement in 1959 as a fulltimer. He travelled across the globe spreading Gandhian thoughts. He gave a presentation as India’s representative at the UNO and several foreign countries. Here are some experts from his Interview:Do you feel that Gandhian thoughts are relevant in the present era of globalization and consumerism? Nowadays people laugh at Gandhians wearing dhoti and espousing Gandhian ideas. Those ideas are not being adopted by the young generation. People have no idea about Gandhi. Ideas of the present era are taking us towards devastation. They have no sense of Ahimsa (Non-Violence). Society and governments have not nurtured this generation into Gandhian way of life. The thoughts of Gandhian philosophy is a composition of various philosophies. That is why it is far

more relevant in the present era than any other linear philosophy. Martin Luther King Jr. says leader does not help reach a consciousness but also he must be capable to mold the consciousness. Gandhi was capable of it. He identified himself with the downtrodden in general, but, to be honest every succeeding Indian government has let down the Gandhian ideals. See, dhoti has many symbolisms. It has a feudal character too. But Gandhiji’s style of wearing it connected him synaptically with the downtrodden. Gandhiji used it almost like a loin cloth, with another small piece of cloth to cover his body. That is why the teeming millions supported him not only in India but across the world. He has not only propounded a theory but practiced it hard throughout his life. Once he used to dress and live his life like a perfect English gentleman, espcially during his study period in England. But as soon as he came into the freedom struggle, he gave up English dress and started living like a common Indian. He was a man who practiced himself his preaching. This is really a rare quality.

much to be relevant. Gand hi never appreciated what is termed ‘modern’ paradigms of growth and development. Most other modern-day philoshophers have deplored this modern design-plan, which appears constructive but is in essence damaging and destructive. For instance, with the entire pilt of nuclear bombs we have can destroy the earth five times over. The depleting ozone layer, huge ecological imbalances, socialpolitical instability, etc., are the results of that so-called modernism. About 80 per cent people are reeling under choking social, political and economic life, which comes out when sometimes they explode in protest.

How were you influenced by Gandhi and his thoughts? You had left the job of lectureship. Had you no feeling of insecurity? During college days, we used discuss seriously about many philosphers. But Gandhi’s philosophy captured me. I produced a project related to Gandhi before the government and started floating the ideas of Gandhi. After getting my Master’s degree, I was offered a job. But my conscience could not allow me to do it. I listened to the call of my soul and moved along with Gandhian ideas. I was born in 1934 at Beehat (Barauni, Bihar) in Begusarai District. In those days, Beehat was nicknamed ‘Leningrad’. Marxism had a natural root there and many top Leftist leaders had risen from that soil. In those days discussions on the philisophy of Marx and Lenin were common. But after reviewing thse various ideas, I came to the conclusion that the problem of modern days can be solved only by the ideas of Was Gandhi not in favour of Gandhi. Though many philosphers of the development of world interpreted Ahimsa modern science and in their own way, but hoti has many technology? Gandhi’s concept is a Visionaries like Gandhi symbolisms. The style unique model of noncould forsee all of this in in which Gandhi wore violence. Gandhi had the 20th century.That is tapasya. He left every it connected him to done why his thoughts and materialistic thing that he the teeming millions used in his past. Is this not philosophy appear very

D

Snapshots Gandhi never preferred the so-called modern paradigm of development Successive governments in India have ignored the teachings of the Mahatma Gandhi-ism must be taught as part of our school and college education curriculum

a sort of tapasya? And, the question of my insecurity does not arise for a man who is possessed with the ideas of Gandhi. Gandhi is the solution of insecurity. So I was strong enough to follow the way of the Mahatma. What is your messege for the present generation? Do you feel that they are capable enough to practice Gandhian thoughts? Yes, I am very much hopeful. Hope and expectaions should not be ruined. In fact, the present-day academic environment is responsible for not providing proper education about his ideas. There should be an overall transformation in society. Of course, society is transforming fast but in in a devastating manner. It must become a checked immediately. India’s ego to be super power and hankering after material living can be checked right from the grassroots level. The whole system has to be overhauled in the Gandhian process of development. Humanity must be safeguarded. What should be the model of development? See, this is a very difficult question to be answered. This can not be described just off the cuff. It requires a full scale debate. Gandhi used to say that India is a country of villages, where the soul of the nation dwells. Today, political bosses have started realizing that without development of villages, the country cannot be developed. Villages must be developed in Gandhian way. People are dying of malaria, cancer, dengue and other diseases. Modern technolgies are being misused everywhere. Most of the youths residing in villages are innocent and misguided. They have grown up under tension and unwanted pressure of this materialistic era. We will have to nurture them about the moral values and practice hard to be self-reliant. They are not being trained to be self -reliant. They are the future. They must be grown up in a proper way. It requires to be modified. Though, hope should not die easily. Many things remain now to be done. Gandhi is the only solution in not only India but also for the whole human civilization. Even though America and other developed nations realized the importance of Gandhian values,we have not.


February 05, 2017

Cover Story Martyrs’ Day Special

sandip pandey uttar pradesh

07

Snapshots He took a dalit friend home but because of the friend’s caste, his mother discriminated He worked hard to bring peace during the Kanpur violence after the Babri Masjid attack He joined the Narmada Bachao movement and there met his future wife

the rebel gandhian

Gandhi had inspired him and his first tryst with the Mahatma’s way was when his mother discriminated against his dalit friend in serving tea srawan shukla

A

n incident in his childhood moved him so much that he took up solace in the Gandhian philosophy. A young engineering and IAS aspirant returned to his home in Lucknow from his village in Hardoi. Tired after travel, he asked his mother to prepare tea for him and his friend, a dalit. The moment his mother learnt that the second cup of tea was for a dalit, she served tea to him in a different cup that had been kept for lower castes. This made the young man so furious that he left his home in protest against the subjugation, anti-low caste mindset and ill-treatment of his friend. Rebellion was kicking in him since childhood. Untouchability, atrocities on dalits and women, poverty, superstition, etc., reverberated in his mind so much that the young man decided to fight against social evils. One day, he found Mahatma Gandhi’s autobiography “An Experiment with Truth”. And he made learning from the book his weapon to bring justice to the poor, downtrodden and women. Clad in uniorned khadi kurta and pyjama and a pair of ordinary Hawaii slippers, Sandeep Pandey (51), the Magsaysay awardee, never looked back. He made Gandhian philosophy the mission of his life to work for the dalits’ uplift, women’s empowerment, education of poor children and other social evils plaguing the society in rural

Uttar Pradesh. went on for about six months and finally “First I made education the tool to he was asked to quit. Back home, he was fight against these evils but soon realised forced by his parents to prepare for civil that the rural masses, who have difficulty services, but Gandhian principles had in arranging even two meals a day, are made an indomitable imprint on this not much interested. This realisation rebel mind. To buy time, he went to the came to me when I was a faculty member US for higher studies and Ph.D in at IIT, Kanpur, where we used to run a control theory. In Berkeley too, his school for poor children of labours and Satyagrah against US policies and attack had formed a cooperative of labours to on Iraq continued. There he had a check contractors exploiting them,” chance to join a group of Indians called reveals Pandey. Asha Parivar. “Since the US Impressed by Gandhian Baba Amte, administration was using most of our Sandeep shelved his suit research work for and tie to wear a Khadi strengthening their e had to quite IIT defence and producing vest and half pant inthe campus and classrooms, weapons for destruction, because of his much to the discomfiture I decided to quit and Gandhian ways and came back to my village of prestigious IIT faculty. He then annoyed in Hardoi where I set up also left Berkley the faculty further by Asha Ashram in village introduc ing a University in protest Laalpur to devote my life revolutionary evaluation for poor, dalits and system under which students were free socially backwards on a land donated by to consult books, references to answer one of my old time friends.” their test papers. “The job of a teacher Along with his IIT and Berkley does not end in taking exams and friends, he re-established Asha Parivar grading but making the student to back home to begin a chain of schools understand the subject thoroughly,” for the poor and downtrodden. While says he. In Kanpur, he organised many social audits and RTI were yet to arrive, rescue and relief operations during riots he used provisions of Pachayati Raj Act in the aftermath of Babri Masjid to fight for the rights of villagers. “We demolition in 1992. The small IITian would do our own social audits by group also staged many street-corner collecting papers and then hold plays on the request of the district meetings in the presence of a gun-toting administration to restore peace and army of influential Pradhans to expose communal harmony in riot-hit Kanpur. them and get justice to dalits, women, The fight with the faculty members poor by empowering them about their

H

democratic rights,” points he. The impact was so high that soon people in about 30 villages around Hardoi and Sitapur districts stood up to fight for their rights against the corrupt administration, high and mighty. Pandey received so many life threats, attacked by of Pradhans but it did not deter this Gandhian to shelve Babu’s philosophy of working for strengthening democracy at grass-root level and bring the rural masses to the mainstream. Pandey took Pokhran to Sarnath peace march. The 88-day 1500 kms long Satyagrah march was disrupted at many places by RSS and BJP in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Ideological differences apart, the same RSS and BJP men would arrange his stay and food during this march during the march. He also jumped into Narmada Bachao Abhyian to support Medha Patkar. There he met Medha’s favourite associate Arundhati Dhuru. He met Arundhati in jail where he wrote a poem in praise of her social works. Soon they came close and Pandey’s parents forced him to marry her since he had announced to remain single to complete his Gandhian mission. He made ahimsa (non-violence) and Satygraha his weapons to fight against injustice and lives a simple life for social cause. “I never drink milk as I feel it is meant for her calfs,” he reveals. He was awarded Ramon Magsasay Award, often termed as Asian Nobel prize, in 2002 in the emergent leadership category. To broker deadlock, Pandey also took out a peace march from Delhi to Multan in 2005 and launched a massive signature campaign to bring the two warring countries across the table. Among his charter of demand was free visa and open border between the two countries. “A Sikh illiterate youth once told me during the peace mission that had he made this last charter of demand as the first, this mission would have turned table on statesmen of the two countries due to social pressure,” confides he. The peace could be brokered between the two countries once people of both countries strengthen social bonding else stakeholders involved in the animosity have covert agenda to pursue.


08

Martyrs’ Day Special Cs Bhattacharjee

O

n January 30, the day of assassination of ‘Father of the Nation’ Mahatma Gandhi, he will be at Sevegram of Wardha in Maharastra. So, the 1949-born Gandhian Chandan Pal, who holds a Master’s degree in Gandhian Thoughts from Gujarat Vidyapith, and the Secretary, West Bengal Gandhi Peace Foundation, moved out from Kokrajhar of Assam. He has to be in Sevagram as he is the Secretary to Sevagram’s Sarva Seva Sangh (All India Sarvodaya Mandal). He is also a member of the Delhi-based South Asian Fraternity, Governing Body member of the Banwasi Seva Ashram at Govindpur in UP, member of Gram Niyojan Kendra in Ghaziabad, Executive Member of the Balarampur Abhay Ashram, Belda’s Shram Vidyapith and West Bengal Sarvodaya Mandal, apart from holding several other very important posts of responsibilities. But none can ever complained of laxity in his duties. That is Chandan Pal, popularly know as Kolkata’s Gandhi. Humble and polite, Pal resides in Howrah district of West Bengal, but his activities are spread over large parts of our sprawling nation. During the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971, West Bengal witnessed the influx of millions of Bengali refugees, most of themarriving barefoot and in tattered clothes, having eaten little or nothing for days. The selfless Pal joined the Salt Lake Refugee camp abd put some balm on their hearts and food into their unfed mouths for months together. He was active in Jagatsinghpur and Paradip in Odisha in 1999 to serve the millions of people devaststed by the supercyclone. The Tsunami of Banda Ache, Indonesia in 2004 devastated Andaman & Nicobar Islands and coastal South India. Immediately ‘Gandhian Peace Soldier’ Pal rushed to Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andaman-Nicobar Islands. He spent almost a year there halping the people of Port Blair, Hut Bay and Harminder Bay

Ela Gandhi, grand-daughter

of the Mahatma, handed him over the Jamnaben Loksevak Award in 2015, which was a matter of huge prestige

February 05, 2017

Cover Story

Snapshots He lives in West Bengal but is the secretary of many a Gandhian centre across India He has rushed in with help to Andaman after the 1999 super cyclone and to other such places His main work now is in the once troubletorn Kokrajhar during Bodoland violence

return to normal life. Whenever there is any socio-political destabilisation, Pal jumps in to bring peace. This was first witnessed in the late 60’s Naxalite uprising, young Sarvodaya workers’ cycle rally at Lalgarh in 2010, and peace marches and public meetings at Nandigram during the violent anti-landgrab agitation. He joined Gandhian Movementi n in 1964 and started working for peace. He claims, “I practiced this for the society from great teachers and stalwarts like Acharya Vinobha Bhabe, Dhiren Majumdar, Dada Dharmadhikari, Jayaprakash Narayan, and others.” Being inspired by them he joined Tarun Shanti Sena and Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Vahini and participated in movements like Bhoodan-Gramdan of Bhabe and Sampoorna Kranti of Lokanayak Jayaprakash Narayan. However his most-acclaimed service is at Kokrajhar of Assam where he is serving for more than four years. He went there after a gruesome clash between Bodos and Muslims which left 114 people dead in 2012. More than four lakh people became homeless and took shelter in different relief camps. Several thousand houses were burnt. Chandan Pal organised a team of 52 volunteers from 12 states and reached there at a time when government officials were afraid to go there. He formed a group of local youths, ‘Assam Shanti Sena’, and organised peace activities in those affected areas of the so-called Bodoland. Assam Shanti Sena volunteers were spreading messages of saints like Kabir, Nanak, Chaitanya, Mahavir, Buddhadev and of Gandhi and Tagore. Initially the team of 52 worked for 10 days and then the team started decreasing gradually. Pal said, “We can’t claim huge success, but we are successful to some extent in restoring peace, amity and brotherhood among the different communities like Bodos, Muslims, Ravas, Santhals, Munda, Oraons, Rajbangshis, Nepalis, Biharis, Bengal and, Assamese belonging to different religious communities like Hindu, Muslim and Christian. Now the area is comparatively peaceful. To carry on the activities of peace and communal harmony, an organisation named ‘Gandhi Shanti Sangh’ has been formed involving different local communities.” He was awarded ‘Mother India Award’ for best social services by Global Achievers

chandan pal west bengal

Gandhian from Kolkata

Whenever there is social unrest or natural calamities, this Gandhian rushes to give the people succour Foundation, New Delhi, in February, 2016, ‘Rising Star of Asia Award’ by Indian Organization for Commerce and Industry, New Delhi in May, 2016 and “Deshasnehi” award by India Development Foundation. These three awards is for his commendable ‘Shanti-Sadbhabna Cycle Yatra’ from Kokrajhar (Assam) to Jammu & Kashmir. It took 50 days to reach Jammu to spread the message of peace, amity, brotherhood, communal harmony. During the yatra, Pal and his team of group of young boys and girls, students and non-students – consisting of Bodo, Assamese, Muslims, Bengali and others, covered nine states of Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, UP, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu-Kashmir pedaling 2,900 kms on bicycle. His people were with Pal on bicycles. Wherever they felt,they addressed people and media to spread their message. Apart from that, Pal has been awarded with prestigious “Jamnabehn Loksevak Award” in 2014 by Maharastra Go Vigyan Samity for his 50 year’s of social service in many fields, particularly for his commendable peace work in Bodoland, Assam. The grand daughter of Mahatma Gandhi, Ela Gandhi handed over the award to him at the Gandhi Research Foundation, Gandhi Tirth, Jalgaon, Maharastra in 2015. Sri Padmavati Mahila Viswavidyalaya (Women University) felicitated him jointly with Academy of Gandhian Studies and Gandhi Peace

Centre, Tirupati on October 2, 2015. He is recipient of “Pranati Ghosh & SureshSisir Smarak Samata Samajseva Puraskar” by Samatat Publication for his service in Assam and “BTM Matribhoomi Award in 2015 in recognition of his extraordinary social service for more than 50 years. As a devout Gandhian of high esteem, Chandan Pal also has special interest in organic farming and nature. He is seriously working for rainwater harvesting, water conservation and proper utilisation. He developed a model of water conservation called “Talao Se Banao”. Earlier, in 1987, he developed PAL (People’s Action for Liberation) Model using dilapidated ponds and tanks to hold rain water to recharge groundwater and to use excess water for number of revenue earning activities for self-reliance. During the JP movement, Pal published a fortnightly magazine ‘Sampoorna Kranti’ in Bengali as Chairman of the editorial board. His quest for letters forced him to author books like ‘Prasnattore Gandhiji’, ‘Rabindranath: Kichhu Prasanga, Kichhu Bhabna’, ‘Alor Disari Swami Vivekananda’, ‘Shibir Sanchalan Paddhati’ and several articles in dailies and periodicals. He visited at least eight countries like the Netherlands, West Germany, Denmark in 1982 to study adult education systems and took part in international seminars in Nepal, Bangladesh and Russia, Poland and Bhutan.


N

NDS MI

BR LE

ON ATI

OF THE

YO U

G

11 FEBRUARY 2017 the ashok, new delhi theyouthconclave.com

CE

Parliamentarian is organising a

Youth conclave on February 11, 2017 at Hotel Ashoka, New Delhi

Parliamentarian’s youth conclave will be one of its kind, where dialogue and discussion will take the centrestage . We will take a deep dive into some of the most elementary issues, viz ideas and innovation, policies and politics, spirituality, etc, which affects the youth and bring the thought leaders on a common platform to discuss them

Well known personalities of various fields will be adressing the day-long invigorating conclave

Suresh Prabhu

Prakash Javadekar

Piyush Goyal

Vijay Goyal

Amitabh Kant

Dr Bindeshwar Pathak

Varun Gandhi

Rajeev Shukla

Poonam Mahajan

Sushmita Dev

Sudhanshu Mittal

Avinash Saxena

Our moderators

Tridib Raman

Sharad Gupta

Harsh Ranjan

Dr. Sunil Jogi

You can confirm your participating by dropping a line at 9999191218 or 8447144359 or You mayregister yourself at theyouthconclave.com tv PARTNER

Print Partner (HINDI)

good news partner

digital partner

www.newsz.in


10

Martyrs’ Day Special

February 05, 2017

Cover Story

social media hate mongering

Snapshots A well educated friend living abroad seemed to hate Gandhi, setting the author thinking He decided to check out the social media platforms where young India spends a lot of time Most of the posts and tweets are uninformed and the youth do not care to check facts

an instant sense of belonging. Gandhi’s ideals are caught in a complex web of selfrestraint and morality, which is devoid of current reality. So, students are bound to be repelled by such ideals.” “Can you blame the Gangotri for the pollution of the Ganga?” differs Subhash Chandra, a research associate at the National Physics Laboratory. “It is always easy to put the blame on Gandhi’s ideals than questioning ourselves. But majority are not interested in self-questioning and introspection, especially the younger generation. It requires lot of patience, which is quite scarce these days.”

young india’s beguiling hate

makes the number of these Gandhi bashers increase, day by day? Our textbooks have tried their level best to teach us about Gandhi’s ideals. They talk about truth, non-violence, equality, tolerance, satyagraha, celibacy, self-reliance and much more. One tends to categorize these into their appropriate Not all is well in the sick heart of young India, which is buckets, whether of sociology, polity, philosophy and other social sciences for a reflected vehemently in the social media clearer understanding. But as one digs deeper, the realization ROBIN KESHAW It set me thinking. What about the dawns that it’s quite difficult to categorize lakhs of other Indian youth, who have and classify Gandhi. His pitch (if you friend of mine working for a top- never got a chance to understand Gandhi want to call it that) is essentially about notch American consultancy in or his thinking? How do they perceive how to live life simply and develop regular Seattle, was visiting India after a Gandhi today? Has young India outlived habits. There is no hyperbole here, nor gap of three years. I picked him up from Gandhi’s legacy or were his ideals any fancy terms. Yet, our youth find it the airport and on the way back home, impractical from the start? Or could this difficult to understand. decided to show him around. The be the most relevant time to understand I approached Tarang Kapoor, a PhD insecure Indian in me wanted him to and propagate his ideals? These were student in Philosophy at Delhi University, appreciate how much Delhi has changed some of the questions I needed to who is researching Gandhi’s influence on over the years and also India. While understand before seeking answers to Western thinkers. She offered some driving past Rajghat, I said: “Maybe, we Gandhi’s relevance in modern India. insight here: “I once tried to fit a biscuit are slowly moving towards an Indian into a Pepsi bottle. Because the bottle had dream, which Bapu had envisioned long CATEGORISING GANDHI a narrow opening, I had to use force, the ago.” I headed to social media to understand biscuit broke and the crumbs spilled over. He looked at me in disdain and replied about Gandhi’s perception, as this is Gandhi’s ideas are so extensive and high caustically: “Shouldn’t this structure be where most of Indian youth spend a on morality that one needs a very opengone already? How long are we going to considerable time. To my astonishment, mind and flexible approach to understand deify a man who has done irreversible social media is abuzz with anti-Gandhi them. Else there will be misinterpretation.” damage to our nation’s foundation?” sentiments these days. Facebook, Twitter, Does this mean Gandhi’s ideals are so I was taken aback, but remained WhatsApp, etc, have become a hotspot righteous that they put off today’s youth? silent. Here was this guy, whom I have for Gandhi bashing. Every School history teacher known for more than ten years, and who other day, a new article or a oung Indians are Meenu Tanwar’s answer was always known for his balanced and ‘historical fact’ crops up, yes. Most sharing anti-Gandhi isof “definitely rational arguments in our friend’s circle, which brings a new angle to my students would who has studied in premier engineering anti-Gandhi theories. agree to Honey Singh’s ideas every day and MBA colleges in India and abroad, These are then shared, botal vodka’ than writing absurdities on ‘chaar and yet he seemed to have utter contempt forwarded and retweeted Gandhi’s call of the social media for the Father of our nation. number of times. What celibacy. It gives them

A

Y

ALL ABOUT OPINIONS Subhash’s argument seems valid. If we zoom out of the nitty-gritty of daily life, we can see how drastically society has changed, especially over the last decade. Reasoned and sensible discussion has given way to superficial newsroom debates, blame games and trolling on social media. Being opinionated is trendy these days. All it requires is a cursory glance through a few articles, if not headlines, and lo and behold, you have an opinion. In the pursuit of short-term gratification, no one has the time for understanding Gandhi. If one browses through certain FB pages like “I Hate Gandhi”, or “Respect Nathuram Godse”, it’s not difficult to see how easily opinions can be built up or manipulated. All that is required are some photoshop skills and fluency with language. All such FB pages have two points common to them – unequivocal hatred towards Gandhi (not essentially his principles) and an appalling departure from all logic and substance. And the pages buzz! “Confirmation bias has become a decree in social media these days,” says Anurag Kundu, who works with Delhi government. “I mean, why should I need to verify facts, when the given information subscribes to my per-conceived notions! The other day, someone was questioning Mahatma Gandhi’s questionable role in seeking commutation of Bhagat Singh’s death penalty. According to this gentleman, if Gandhi had tried, he could have saved Bhagat Singh. I then reproduced the letter sent by Gandhi to Lord Irwin, the then Viceroy of India,


February 05, 2017

Cover Story Martyrs’ Day Special

11

(Clockwise from bottom left) A picture of Gandhi circulated in social media to malign him; protest against Gandhi; members of Hindu Mahasabha unveiling statue of Nathuram Godse

smartly by his detractors to malign him. See how this works. It is relatively easy to hold the Congress responsible for the nation’s failure, as it has ruled India for more than 50 years. The frame of blame can be easily shifted on Nehru, as he was directly or indirectly involved for most of these years. Through syllogism, it can be easily deduced that Gandhi is responsible for India’s current miseries even though the truth has been compromised at many stages. “Isn’t this how the propaganda machinery works?” asks Ramya, who heads the advertising firm, GetReal in Mumbai. “You feed people with some manufactured theories and then wait for psychology to take over. As no one wants to validate information through facts, they tend to take mental shortcuts which rely on immediate examples that come to the person’s mind when evaluating a topic, concept or decision. This, availability heuristics, a form of cognitive bias, is being increasingly used by advertising firms as well as propaganda theorists.”

“There are two types of people in the world: those

admiring Gandhi and those who don’t understand him seeking pardon for Bhagat Singh. To this the gentleman replied, ‘I don’t see the required sincerity in Gandhi’s words’.” Kundu says he chose to remain silent. “You see, there are just two kinds of people in this world, those who admire Gandhi, and those who don’t understand him at all.” EMOTIVE PROPAGANDA But we can’t completely ignore Gandhi’s detractors even if their arguments lack substance. Let’s try and look at some of these arguments. Accusations that he was an imperialist stooge or a sex addict hold no ground and can be easily dismissed. Where there is evidence offered against him, the most obvious are his ostentatious adherence of non-violence as shown by his decision to end the Non-Cooperation Movement and his criticism of the revolutionaries; his immense faith in few individuals especially Nehru; and his impractical views on secularism which his critics say has resulted in the “trivialization” of the Hindutva agenda. “To a remarkable extent, all of this is true,” says Prof Swati Sonal, who teaches Hindi at Banasthali University. “Gandhi placed his ideals much above individuals and events. Hence, his condemning the Chauri Chaura incident and the killing of police officer John Saunders, is no

surprise. Equally true is his admiration of and over the top reliance on Nehru, at the cost of other popular leaders like Subhash Chandra Bose. That has a practical reason though. In his later years, Gandhi could foresee how Indian society could be easily fragmented on the basis of religion. Hence, secularism became his priority. In Nehru, he saw the mellowed statesman, who could carry forward the agenda of pluralism. How his secular bend harmed Hinduism, as claimed by right wing extremists, is debatable.” The ferocity with which Gandhi’s critics charge him has a distinct pattern. They mostly pick on emotive issues, where there is a very thin line between right and wrong and which are open to interpretation. The interpretation invariably shows Gandhi in poor light. Nathuram Godse’s court address during his trial is one example. It is quite evocative, high on rhetoric and full of uncorroborated opinions. This can be effectively used to put the blame squarely on Gandhi and justify Godse’s actions. Gandhi’s over reliance on Nehru has also been used quite

PERFECTLY IMPERFECT GANDHI It becomes easy for us to seek perfection in every individual, especially our leaders. In the process, the slightest imperfection leads us to reject the complete idea of the individual. Here, we are talking about a man who has undergone the strictest possible scrutiny through different generations. After all, Gandhi too was a human being and imperfections were integral part of his existence. His own admissions of lies and theft are a few examples of his imperfections. In his younger days in Africa, he was in favour of imperialism (for a short time), and had reservations about Africa’s black people. But the important point to remember is how he reflected upon his shortcomings and worked to improve on them. Nelson Mandela in his article Gandhi, the Prisoner, wrote: “Gandhi had been initially shocked that Indians were classified with Natives in prison. His prejudices were quite obvious, but he was reacting not to “Natives”, but criminalized Natives…. All in all, Gandhi must be forgiven these prejudices in the context of the time and the circumstances.” Mandela’s words gives an interesting insight into Gandhi’s persona. Gandhi’s ideals were not a result of epiphanies and serendipities. They emerged out of the cocoon of social conditions of his time and matured over the time with his discernment and prudence. It is quite

easy to find out a dark spot on a white sheet. But, turning those dark spots into life lessons, was what made Gandhi, Mahatma. MAHATMA IN OUR TIMES One might still argue that Gandhi’s ethos were quite pertinent in his times but have become obsolete now. Lalit Bansal, Assistant Manager at ICICI Bank, Mumbai, agrees –“Gandhi was smart enough to use his ideas of non-violence and celibacy in times, when information was not easily accessible. In this age of consumerism, when Sunny Leone is all over TV, internet and newspapers, do we expect youngsters to follow celibacy?” There are many more like Lalit, who feel that Gandhi’s ideals have long expired. In current scenario, more practical and contextual ideas are needed. Abhishek Anand, an ISB graduate, had similar questions and concerns. He spent his summer in Gandhi Ashram, Wardha, to validate his doubts. “Now is the time, when we need Gandhi more than ever. In fact, Gandhi was way ahead of his time. It would be his ideals which is going to save our society into spiralling into that endless pit we are headed to”- he contends. “There is quite a fine line between practicality and sustenance”, Anand continues. “Sometimes we discard solutions which require more efforts and time and rather opt for short term, bandaid solutions. US, the superpower, tried to destroy Taliban with all its might, but look how Taliban is making its headway into Afghanistan again. But, Gandhi’s non-violence, which inspired both Mandela and King, uprooted much deeprooted social problems. That talks a lot about sustainability of an idea.” One might take sides with either Lalit or Sonal, but one simply can’t ignore the power of Gandhi’s ideas, which is still being discussed all around the world, long after he is gone. Right from power corridors to on-ground implementations, Gandhi is guiding our thoughts in some way or the other. When Modi gave a clarion call for ‘Make In India’, did you hear ‘self-reliance’ in all the hullabaloo? Or when Amartya Sen talks about development economics, do you see a linkage to the rural economy which Gandhi a long ago? I set out to find answers for some of the questions I had in my mind after the Rajghat episode with my friend. I have definitely found some answers, while some remain unanswered. But, in the process I realized that when given a choice, we always tend to pick the easier ones which have short term gains. That day, at Rajghat, I chose silence. I didn’t ask the questions, uncomfortable yet right questions. Gandhi chose that over anything else in his life. That’s why he is Mahatma and will remain so for all times to come.


12

Martyrs’ Day Special

news in brief

Cashless infy

Chandigarh campus of the company takes the bold step

T

he Chandigarh campus of software major Infosys has become cashless for all transactions, the company said. “The Union Territory administration has recognised our campus in Chandigarh as cashless for all transactions at food courts, shopping centres and guest houses,” said the IT firm in a statement. Of the company’s 15 campuses across the country, housing its software development centres, Chandigarh is the eighth largest with around 1.2 million square feet built-up area for 6,615 techies.

Farmers’ Club NABARD to give training and financial support for 3 years

I

February 05, 2017

n a bid to bring technology to the doorsteps of the cultivators, the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has launched 20 farmers’ clubs in Diyun circle of Arunachal Pradesh’s Changlang district. Farmers’ Club is a grassroots level informal forum. Such Clubs are organised by rural branches of banks, NGOs and KVKs etc. with support and financial assistance from NABARD for mutual benefit of banks and the farmers. The objective of the programme is development through credit, technology transfer, awareness and capacity building. The emphasis of the programme is on increasing the income of the farmers by increasing the production and productivity by adopting appropriate technology, good agricultural practices, and proper use of credit and marketing skills. NABARD’s District Development Manager Kamal Roy advised members of the farmers clubs to work together to develop appropriate technologies and solutions to the problems of the farming sector. NABARD supports farmers clubs for a period of three years with assistance for exposure visits, training through experts to encourage progressive farming methods etc. After the period of 3 years, these farmers clubs are encouraged to start their own small savings.

Good News

news in brief

WOMEN AWARD

Celebrating girlhood Women performers feted by the Ministry for Women & Child Development india abroad news service

I

ndian women who showed remarkable performances in their respective fields were applauded by the government on the celebration of National Girl Child Day, themed on the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme (BBBP). Women and Child Development (WCD) Minister, Maneka Gandhi praised women including Silver medalist at Rio Paralympics 2016 Deepa Malik and Avani Chaturvedi, a fighter pilot, for their success. First woman amputee to climb Mount Everest Arunima Sinha and Shanno, main advisor of Balaknama newspaper, which is run completely by street children, were also applauded.

homeless IDENTITY

“The BBBP program has done very well across the country especially in Haryana,” Gandhi was quoted as saying. Narrating her experience and said: “It is the parents, especially the mother, who can help girls become arrows into the future.” Leena Nair, Secretary to the WCD, said that the government has launched the program BBBP to check the adverse sex ratio by changing the mind-set of the people. “Not only this, the WCD Ministry is putting in all efforts to address the issues related to nutrition of girls and violence against girls or women,” she added. The winners of quiz competitions organised across various Kendriya Vidyalaya schools in Delhi on the theme of “Empowerment of Girl Child” were also rewarded. The occasion was also marked by felicitation of the districts under the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme for their exemplary performance. The government felicitated at least 10 districts across states of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Chatthisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana for their “exemplary performances” and “effective community engagements”.

Homeless children to be provided Aadhar Cards To cater to their nutritional, medical & education needs

Facility started for rehabilitation of the homeless children puneet dubey

T

he orphan children in the country will be allotted aadhar cards to enjoy the health and educational services. The Ministry of Women and Child Development has approved the standard operating procedures in order to provide educational and health services to the orphan or homeless children in the country. These guidelines are passed with the aim to provide rehabilitation to the homeless children. In order to oversee the

Financial Assistance to the poor for housing in Agartala

U

nion government has sanctioned a total of 42,876 houses for the municipal and nagar panchayat areas of Tripura under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. Among the sanctioned houses, a total of 17, 368 houses would be given to the beneficiaries of Agartala Municipal Corporation (AMC). As per the prescribed rules for a PMAY house, each beneficiary will get Rs. 1,50,000 from Central government, Rs. 16,666 from State government and each beneficiary will have bear Rs. 1,04,237 as their own contribution for construction of the houses. The Union government has given Rs. 258 crore to the state government as first installment for PMAY housing scheme and among the all states of the country, Tripura has started the works of first phase by transferring the amount of first installment to the beneficiaries.

Quick Glance An initiative of Ministry of Women & Child Development

Aadhar for Orphans

PMAY Houses

medical, education and nutrition needs of the children, other decisions include health insurance, bank accounts and financial sponsorship. Save the Children NGO Advocacy Director Vidisha Pillai says, “80 per cent of children living on the streets don’t have any identity proofs, it is their biggest obstacle in exercising their rights or receiving government services. Schools don’t enroll these children. They also don’t get proper medical attention due to the lack of basic identity proofs.” An aadhaar card would cater to most of these issues. NCPCR (National Commission for Protection of Child Rights) and nongovernmental organization, Save the Children have developed standard operating procedures for four sections of homeless children. These categories of children are, ‘abandoned or orphaned children, ‘runaway or missing children’, ‘children living on the street or belonging to a street community’ and ‘children begging on the street’.

Varishtha Pension Scheme

Scheme to be run by LIC has been approved by the Cabinet

T

he Union Cabinet on Tuesday gave post-facto approval for the Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana 2017 (VPBY-2017) as part of financial inclusion and social security programmes. “The scheme would be implemented through Life Insurance Corp (LIC) during the current financial year to provide social security during old age and protect elderly persons aged 60 years and above against a future fall in their interest income due to uncertain market conditions,” the Finance Ministry said in a statement. The scheme would provide an assured pension based on a guaranteed rate of return of 8 per cent per annum for 10 years, with an option to opt for pension on a monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or annual basis. “The difference between the return generated by LIC and the assured return of 8 per cent per annum, would be borne by the government as subsidy on an annual basis,” it added.


February 05, 2017

Good News

Martyrs’ Day Special

news in brief

EDUCation ADMISSIONs

Preserving Heritage

Reaching the last mile An NGO is helping children to get admission in Delhi schools under 25 per cent EWS quota puneet dubey

O

ne of the greatest challenges India faces in policy implementation is to reach the right set of beneficiaries, in the most cost-effective manner. Section 12(1) (c) of Right to Education Act, 2009 is one of the most progressive policy steps, which was getting brutalised at the altar of execution. This provision mandates 25% reservation for students belonging to economically and socially weaker sections in private

Quick Glance Opportunity for the poor for admission in private schools NGO Indus Action to help them get admissions 45,000 seats in 2600 private schools in Delhi up for grabs

unaided schools. “The whole admission process was quite complex and a lot of information was not easily available in public domain, making it difficult for the parents to get their children admitted”, says Gaytri Dey, Lead, Community Champion Cooperative at Indus Action. Indus Action is a Delhi based organisation, which runs a campaign to ease out the admission process for the students from economically and socially weaker sections and works to provide seamless information to the families.

It runs a toll-free helpline number (011-39595925), through which parents and guardian can access all the required information for admission, viz documents r e q u i r e d , ad m i s s i o n deadlines, number of seats, etc. One needs to give a missed call on the number and a Shiksha Sahyogi (helpline volunteer) calls back with necessary details. “In Delhi there are more than 45,000 seats up for EWS admissions, in around 2600 private schools. Last year, our campaign could reach 50,000 families. This year we are catering to almost 9,000 families every day, with more than 1,000 calls through helpline and rest through our centres. One can pass on this helpline number among their circles to make the best use of this provision”, informed Dey.

OIL BUILDING STOCKS

‘Deal’ing with strategic reserve In a strategic deal with Abu Dhabi, Government of India has inked long-term supply contract to build oil reserves for exigencies india abroad news service

I

n India has been long aspiring to fill up its strategic reserves to deal with unexpected exigencies. Its quest got a shot in the arm after a pact that will see crude oil for strategic storage flow in from a state-run company of Abu Dhabi. The agreement was entered into between two state-run companies -- the Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company. “Our energy partnership is an important bridge in our linkages. It contributes to our energy security,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, after overseeing the signing of the agreement and talks with the visiting Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. “His Highness and I discussed ways to transform our energy ties in a strategic direction through specific projects and proposals. In this regard, long-term supply contracts and establishment of

13

joint ventures in the energy sector can be beneficial avenues.” Since India imports nearly 80 percent of its oil requirements, the government had decided to set up oil storages as a cushion against external supply disruptions, as also during emergencies. These storages, typically in rock caverns,

are in addition to the existing ones of oil companies. UAE contributes in a major way to India’s energy security, being the sixth-largest supplier of crude oil. India is the second-largest destination for UAE’s oil exports. India formed a separate company -the Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd -- to execute the crude reserves plan. Three such projects were finalised under phase one with a total capacity of 5.33 million tonnes. Under the second phase, reserves of 12.5 million tonnes will be built, to take the total to 17.83 million tonnes. This apart, there are also concrete plans for a capacity of 10.0 million tonnes -- 4.4 million tonnes at Chandikhol in Orissa and 5.6 million tonnes at Rajasthan’s Bikaner.

Plans to conserve Darjeeling Himalayan Railway are underway

U

NSECO has agreed to develop a Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan (CCMP) incorporating all aspects of heritage conservation as well as maintain Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) as an operational railway. A Fund-inTrust agreement between Indian Railways and the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization ( U NE S C O ) was signed at Darjeeling. U n d e r the FIT agreement, I n d i a n Railway will pay $533,332 in Indian Rupees to UNESCO for assisting the Ministry of Railways, in facilitating the preparatory stage of the development of a CCMP and establishing the framework for an effective management system. It may be mentioned that Darjeeling Himalayan Railway had been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on December 2, 1999 following an appeal by Indian Railways. It was the second railway in Asia to be inscribed as World Heritage Site.

Brand-new HUMAN organ identified Mesentry’s discovery proves 100-yrs old anatomy incorrect

S

cientists in Ireland have classified a brand-new organ inside human body, one that has been hiding in plain sight in our digestive system, proving the anatomic description laid down over 100 years of anatomy as incorrect. Researchers hope that the reclassification will aid better understanding and treatment of abdominal and digestive diseases. The mesentery, which connects the intestine to the abdomen, had for hundreds of years been considered a fragmented structure made up of multiple separate parts. However, new research by J Calvin Coffey, Professor of Surgery at University of Limerick in Ireland, describes the mesentery as one, continuous structure. Mesenteric science is its own specific field of medical study in the same way as gastroenterology, neurology and coloproctology. .


14

Martyrs’ Day Special

February 05, 2017

Parliament

SIKKIM

GANDHISM IN ACTIONSM POLITICS lachen-lachung

legislators need gandhigiri? There were times when Parliament could legitimately boast of having some outstanding and accomplished Parliamentarians R C Rajamani

I

t is difficult and futile to separate politics from Parliament. Parliament is a natural adjunct of politics. After all parliamentary democracy has evolved from politics. So, some verbal violence with overtones of party politics on the hallowed floor of parliament is inescapable. But, India’s Parliament and state legislative assemblies have witnessed unseemly physical violence too in recent decades. Verbal violence, on the other hand, is the order of the day. Had Mahatma Gandhi, the apostle of peace, been alive today, he would have wondered if India had not got its freedom before it was ready or mature enough to enjoy parliamentary democracy which entails a great responsibility on the part of the people and their representatives. PIONEERS OF GANDHIGIRI It is not that we do not have serious minded members with proven debating skills. The truth is such members are being swamped by those with lung power, who do not believe in the logic of orderly discussion. Serious members may not add up to more than 100-150. There were parliamentary giants in the initial years. Among them were Acharya Kriplani, H.V. Kamath, T A Pai, Jyotirmoy Basu, Joachim Alva, A K Gopalan, N G Ranga, Minoo Masani, Piloo Mody, Indrajit Gupta and others. Of course, there was Jawaharlal Nehru, G.B. Pant and Shyama Prasad Mukherjee as well. They maintained high standards of debate and dignity. Wit and delightful repartees marked debates. Courtesy and culture were pronounced in relations between members. It is said that Indira Gandhi and

Piloo Mody, who were bitter political rivals and unremitting in their criticism of each other, enjoyed rare personal rapport. When the House was conducting business, Mody would send a note to Indira Gandhi addressed to ‘I.G.’ She would mark ‘P.M.’ in return note. Subhash C. Kashyap, former secretary general of Lok Sabha and a known authority on parliamentary practice, recalled a few more instances in a newspaper article a few years ago. “There were times when Parliament could legitimately boast of having some outstanding and accomplished Parliamentarians who could do honour to any Parliament in the world,” he wrote. Once when a member drew the attention of the venerable socialist Acharya Kripalani, to the fact that he

was running down the Congress Party which had attracted his own wife to its side, the sharp witted Acharya retorted: “All these years I thought Congressmen were stupid fools. I never knew they were gangsters too who ran away with others’ wives.”The whole house roared with laughter. “When Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia was pleading that Stalin’s daughter Svetlana, be given asylum in India since she was married to an Indian, the charming lady member Tarkeshwari Sinha pointed out that when Dr. Lohia was not married how could he talk of conjugal sentiments? Dr. Lohia hit back: “Tarkeshwari, when did you give me any chance. “Later, on one occasion, the heavyweight member Piloo Mody, was accused of showing disrespect to the chair by speaking with his back to the Speaker. Mody defended himself by saying ‘Sir, I have neither front, nor back, I am round.’ Such wit and humour is the most effective instrument for managing tensions and keeping tempers cool. Of late, it has largely disappeared from the Houses of Parliament, bemoans Kashyap. In the early years, high quality and character marked the membership on both sides. The Lok Sabha was having a heated debate in the wake of the Sino-Indian war of 1962. Members were agitated about the loss of Aksai Chin to the Chinese forces. Making light of the reverse, Prime Minister Nehru remarked, “not a single blade of grass grows there.” Mahavir Tyagi, a senior Congress leader, pointed to his bald head, quipped, “Nothing grows here. Does it mean it can be chopped off? Even a sad and dejected Nehru could not help enjoying the repartee. Once in the days of provisional Parliament while rejecting an

No attempt has been made to evolve a programme to

promote discipline, character and probity in public life

Snapshots Members of Parliament, the epostle of democracy, have forgotten power of discussion Only those with lung power and some muscle power hog the limelight Its high time that Gandhigiri returned to Parliament to make it true temple of democracy

amendment moved by Rajaji, Nehru said: “You see Rajaji, the majority is with me”. Rajaji retorted: “Yes, Jawaharlal, the majority is with you but the logic is with me”. Nehru laughed with the House and accepted Rajaji’s amendment. WHEN STANDARDS FELL The rot started from 1971 when the House saw many members elected on money power rather than for their qualities of head and heart. The days of ‘Aaya Rams and Gaya Rams” had also begun, particularly in state assemblies. Parliament also saw their presence, though on a much smaller scale. Defectors were rewarded and they enjoyed an open field. All this changed the character of Parliament for the worse. Of course, defection has become a thing of the past with the enactment of the anti-defection law in the mid 1980s. Dr. Ambedkar had warned in the early days that however good a Constitution may be, but it was sure to turn out bad if those who were called to work it happened to be a bad lot. Philosopher President Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was more forthright when he said: “Our opportunities are great, but let me warn you that when power outstrips ability, we will fall on evil days.” The ruinous result of the decline in the stock of the lawmakers came to be seen in many an unseemly episode witnessed on the floor of parliament in later years. In 2005, eleven MPs were caught receiving cash for raising questions in Parliament. In 2008, three MPs rained bundles of currency notes on the floor in the Lok Sabha, claiming these were bribes for them to vote in favour of the then government facing a trust vote. Thus, pessimism towards parliamentary institutions and erosion in the esteem of parliamentary processes and the Parliamentarians was inevitable. Sadly, little attempt has been made to evolve a programme to promote discipline, character and probity in public life of the lawmaker. Needless to stress that it was time Gandhigiri returned to our Parliament to make it a true temple of democracy.


February 05, 2017

Gandhian Thoughts Martyrs’ Day Special book LECTURE

Hind Swaraj, a Diya to sky Mahatma Gandhi had written this beautiful book which is as relevant even today what with concepts of Panchayati Raj and climate change. But, is there need for another Hind Swaraj?

That’s why I am requesting you to read it. Not because he is our ‘Father of Nation’, but in next 20 years the temperature of earth is going to increase by 3 degree Celsius and your river Ganga will not exist anymore. Including many other cities even you won’t have your metropolitan Mumbai anymore. That day what Bramhputra will go through no one knows even that. With the rate we are increasing the world’s temperature; it is going to destroy anyway. So, remember that Mahatma Gandhi who once said it is a diabolical civilization and this will ruin you one day. Today worldwide scientist and intellectuals are worried and discussing, whether this earth will remain the same or not, if it will not remain the same will our civilization able to survive. As river Saraswati got vanished Journalist Prabhash Joshi was a great Gandhian himself same way even our intellect has also vanished. We are not able to see Mohenjo daro and Harappa the civilization we had before, how they got killed off. These civilizations were not destroyed in any war. It’s nothing like, any outsider invaded, Aryas attacked or any other aggressor destroyed this civilization. Probation shows Mohenjo daro and Harappa destroyed gradually

The book ‘Hind Swaraj’ Gandhi wrote, was to make India Independent and have Swaraj

Snapshots It is for self-enlightment that everyone needs to read Hind Swaraj, as one read scriptures Gandhi has described impact of climate change by telling us about Lothal and Mohanjo Daro Those who attend above the minimum required number of times are given awards

PraBHASH JOSHI In the month of Kartik (it’s a moth in Hindi suppose to be very auspicious. India celebrates Festival Diwali in this month) the tradition we have to light a Diya. This Diya is for our ancestors and gods. Friends, this is the month of November. Specially the November of 2009. This is the Demotic, ideologic and religious month. Hundred years back during 13th to 22nd of this month, Mahatma Gandhi while travelling on a ship had lit a Diya in the sky on the name of his parents. Name of that Diya is ‘Hind Swaraj’ because light of Indianess in this Diya has the extract of history and Puranas. This is why when Pratipada(first day after Purnima or amavasya) starts and we have Shardiya Navratra(Festival in which we worship different form of godess durga for nine days) we chant Navahan for all the nine days. We read Ramcharitmanas. Taking it as a duty, if you read 10-10 pages of ‘Hind Swaraj’ of Gandhi ji from 13th to 22nd November, you will complete reading it in nine days. The day you will complete it, you will light a Akash deep above your country. Our mind is made up of three books. First book is Adam Smith’s ‘World of Nation’. Second book is Karl marx’s ‘communist manifesto’ and the third book is Mahatma Gandhi’s ‘Hind Swaraj’. Because of Adam Smith capitalism is flowing. Karl Marx is the reason behind the communism in the world. But in next twenty years if something is going to be discussed will come out of the Gandhi’s ‘Hind Swaraj’.

15

with their destroying environment. After leaving Mohenjo daro and Harappa we moved towards east and south. These all happened as we learned to make brick. For doing this we put the Clay Londe in small wooden boxes and bake it. From these bricks we made drains and then build cities. To protect ourselves from rivers we arranged these bricks. In doing so, we did not spare forests. Friends, in Sindhi mohenjo daro means mound of dead bodies. In Gujrat we have one port named ‘Lothal’. In Gujrati ‘Loth’ means deadbody. Even ‘Lothal’ means same as mohenjo daro. So, we have one mound of dead bodies in Gujrat and another one in Sindh. Where ever we have done excavations we find things related to that civilization and mounds of dead bodies proving they were not killed in any disaster. There are people who all think that heating of atmosphere and sinking of world, are just fables said to scare people. People who keep these kind of perception should go to Mohenjo Dero or remember the pre-existing river Saraswati. On the Bank of Saraswati only saints and sages had scripted all the Vedas. If you go through Vedas you will get the description of just this river only. You won’t get description of Ganga and Yamuna as our Saints use to reside on its bank only. Now, if we have destroyed one of our ‘Mahanadi’ and Saraswati. There is no doubt if the temperature of earth will keep increasing same pace, the

civilization we are proud of is going to reach the same end like Mohenjo daro and Harappa. This is the reason Mahtma Gandhi wrote in ‘Hind Swaraj’, this civilization is based on unlimited consumption and one it is going to end. That’s why Mahatma named it ‘diabolical civilization ‘and after 100 years we can sense the danger standing in front of us. Now, it is not that Mahatma Gandhi was against the western civilization. He used to feel, India is greater civilization than them. Mahatma Gnadhi was a man who took intellect as debauchery. According to him, thoughts which couldn’t be materialized in life are useless. He had written very clearly - torch all the literature I have written or spoken because it is not going to stand out. He never wrote ‘Hind Sawarj’ for any discussion. Neither though his writing he every tried to prove Indian civilization better than western. He was never kind of man who would get indulged in to intellectual war. So friends, it was not Mahatma Gandhi who decided the fight of civilization. He was just worried about human being getting slave to civilization. Because as much you get dependent on others you will get slave to it. He was concerned about bringing Swaraj. He never took Swaraj as the political independence. He wrote ‘Hind Swaraj’ against people who wanted to liberate the country with the help of violence and industrialization. Sorry to say, even Pt. Jawahar laal Nehru was also one of them. They use to believe, only Industrial revolution like west, development of English and western genre can prosperous India. We walked on the foot prints of Russia and now from past 18 years we are following America. So friends, this year I’m travelling and telling people the need of writing next ‘Hind Swaraj’. It is because the ‘Hind Swaraj’ Gandhi wrote was to make India Independent and have his own Swaraj. (Extracts from a lecture by late Editor of Jansatta, Prabhash Joshi at a function on November 4, 2009 to mark centenary of release of Mahatma Gandhi’s bookn Hind Swaraj)


16

February 05, 2017

Strength does not “come from physical

capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

Young India, August, 1920

remembrance

Long Live Gandhi

tridib raman Tridib Raman is a senior journalist with over 30 years experience in Print, Broadcast and Digital Media. He has founded Parliamentarian magazine with the sole objective to focus on pro-people approach

VIEW POINT

GANDHIGIRI: RE-OWNING THE APOSTLE Gandhi’s non-violence has a large following worldwide. The problem lies at home where the political class has misused Gandhi for their gain. For the new generation, regrettably, Gandhi is just a name and his ideals as fuzzy and irrelevant as their own scruples.

One can question Gandhi and his ideals, but one can’t ignore his relevance

T

here is an old saying about friendship. Finding your true friend is not difficult. He is somebody who thinks about you before himself. And you too think about him before yourself. If there are three chapattis, the moment you offer your friend two of them if not all the three, you have passed the test. Same goes for social service. The moment you start thinking about others before caring for your own welfare, you have taken the first step to what is being called Gandhism. There is a story about a young boy telling the dhoticlad Gandhi that he would ask his mother to stitch a pair of clothes for him. Gandhi replied, “Your mother can’t stitch for everyone dressed like me because I won’t wear them till everyone has got it. He was the person who renounced clothes because a large number of people in our country did not have clothes. He used to have very frugal food because most people were not getting two square meals. His popularity can be gauged by the simple fact that half of India used to renounce food if Gandhi decided to fast for some issue or demand. That was why he earned sobriquets like Naked Fakir, Mahatma and Father of the Nation. His life is an inspiration and his teachings are basic lessons in life. He showed us benefits of non-violence, truth, renunciation, faith, devotion and religiosity. If we could follow even one of the virtues demonstrated by us, the society would automatically become so much better. But, there are always counter-arguments. There are not many who find virtue in Gandhian philosophy, even reviling him for his decisions like saving Muslims during post-partition riots when Hindus were being killed in Pakistan or for ensuring Pakistan got a share of Indian treasury post-partition. But, such calumny can never overshadow his massive work. For his life and work was not as simple as it would appear. It was layered and it would require myriad more researches to unravel the true meaning of his words and deeds. Lets pray that his goodness should prevail over the slanderous campaign. Long Live Gandhi.

Editor-in-Chief

Kumar Dilip Edited, Printed and Published by: Monika Jain on behalf of Sulabh Sanitation Mission Foundation, owned by Sulabh Sanitation Mission Foundation Printed at: The Indian Express Limited A - 8, Sector -7, NOIDA (UP) Published at: RZ - 83, Mahavir Enclave, Palam - Dabri Road, New Delhi - 110045 (India) Corporate Office: 819, Wave Silver Tower, Sector - 18, NOIDA (UP) Phone: +91-120-6500425 Email: editor@sulabhswachhbharat.com, ssbweekly@gmail.com

A

merican physicist Fritjof Capra saw the dawn of the 21st century in terms of the rise of global capitalism and the network society; also the creation of sustainable communities. While these are current and happening and occupy a lot of the mind space, what about the equally current unbridled violence we see in our communities and neighbourhoods? How does one explain the mindless cruelties inflicted by the Islamic State on fellow Muslims? Or ‘civilized’ Europe turning its back on refugees from Arab lands, putting up fences to keep them out and calling them pejoratively “migrants”. How does one explain all this at a time when humanity is on the cusp of great progress and discoveries? The cynics will

say this is how it has always been, which is true. Perhaps the answer or solution lies in the pursuit of truth in all circumstances, in non-violence and human-centric societal transformation irrespective of religion, caste, class, gender and region. In other words, time to own Gandhi again. Many understood and sought to emulate: The Dalai Lama for one; Martin Luther King Jr, who in his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in 1964, pointed out that American blacks followed the path of non-violence to win their rights. Another Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai created the Green Belt Movement for sustainable development, an idea inspired by Gandhi. Sadly, Gandhi is missing in his own

The answer to global

violence lies in pursuit of truth always and human-centric societal transformation


February 05, 2017 homeland. We know how our leaders or ‘elders’ have dealt with Gandhi; for our youth, he’s little more than a textbook curiosity, cursorily read and barely understood. Yet one can argue that Gandhi’s relevance in the 21st century has never been greater. His thoughts on decentralised administration, lower carbon signature and sustainable development reflect Capra’s 21st century imperatives (maybe he read Gandhi). The Mahatma’s preference for austerity in an age of mindless consumerism and materialistic pursuits remains valid, as does his bottom-up approach towards development with strong focus on the rural economy. And somehow, somewhere, I do see hope on the horizon. At a very superficial level Rajkumar Hirani’s film Lage Raho Munnabhai made Gandhi understandable (even likeable I dare say) to a legion of young people. There have been other films Cattle, My Experiments with Truth, short films of about 15 minutes duration that give children a peep into Gandhi’s world. Cattle, for instance, is a 7-minute long film on honesty told in a seamless, non-preachy fashion. It revolves around an incident from Gandhi’s school days when he refused to copy the word ‘cattle’ even after his teacher’s warning.

Our parliamentarians

have lessons to learn from Gandhi so that unseemly scuffles and intolerance is stopped These are small projects, yet impactful I believe. They will expose the young generation to Gandhi and his ideals, to the values of equality, his faith in non-violence and the power of our conscience. It brings me to the larger picture: the need to align our politics with what Gandhi believed, taught and practiced. We need to move away from the politics of bitterness and competitive rivalry, which is only breeding opportunism, regressive politics, corruption and violence. Our Parliament is supposed to be a beacon of a strong vibrant democracy, but the curse of intolerance, personal enmities and political violence have taken over this revered institution. Scuffles in the well of either House, derogatory remarks, uncivilized debates, use of pepper spray underscore the depth to which we have descended. Gandhi can dig us out of this well. His principles should guide our political representatives and the rising new generation. Kudos to Narendra Modi for trying to infuse Gandhi’s ideals into governance, every time he talks about corruption free governance, about bringing development to the marginalized sections of society, or the use of khadi, or Swachch Bharat, it brings a practical element of Gandhi into our daily life.

sharad gupta

A journalist with 30 years experience, working as a Senior Editor with ‘Parliamentarian’

upfront

Oped

17

India, a strong Republic

A number of laws need to be enacted to meet the changing needs of the society

A

t the stroke of midnight of August 14, 1947 two countries were born – India and Pakistan. While in its 70 years history Pakistan has witnessed three military coup – by General Ayub, General Zia-ul Haq and General Parvez Musharraf – and at least half a dozen unsuccessful coup attempts, India ‘s military has never shown any such inclination. It’s not that India’s military is any less fierce than Pakistan’s. The reason lies in our constitution. India is a republic for 67 years now. Except for a brief period of emergency there has never been any scare of democracy during this period. The reason is that framers of our constitution were wise enough to strike a perfect balance between Legislature, Executive and Judiciary. No one has a free run. None of the three pillars of democracy have absolute powers. Each one depends upon others and it’s a perfect symbiotic relationship. Legislature enacts laws and judiciary

interprets them. Whenever latter feels the former has transgressed its powers it strikes down the law as happened in the case of appointment of Collegium which was passed by the government but struck down by the Supreme Court. Similarly, legislature has overturned many SC decisions through amendments eg Shah Bano verdict or latest being SC decision banning Jallikattu. Yet, there are certain areas which remain undefined. Successive governments are keeping them hanging

afire while trying to evolve a consensus. Common Civil Code is one example. Some people have been rooting for it and some others opposing it. But, Goa Government has already shown the way by implemented the Common Civil Code. Similarly women reservation bill has been pending in the Parliament for a long long time. But, government is unable to get it passed because of a section of the society staunchly opposing it. Another such contentious area is prohibition. That tobacco and alcohol has been contributing immensely in spoiling generations after generations, is a well known fact. Tobacco is major source of oral and lung cancer. Governments have been spending billions of rupees to find their cure. They probably spend more on cancer patients than earning from taxing tobacco and alcohol. But, why don’t they ban it through law like Bihar and Gujarat have banned alcohol. The laws should be in sync with the time and the need of the society.

letters to the editor work. My best wishes to Mr Paliwal and thanks to you for providing us such positive and constructive story. Rajni Thakur, Bihar

village republics Dear Sir, Your story idea regarding the ‘Villages’ own Republic’ was really fascinating. I went through the story of Rajasthan. I was amazed to see their sensitivity and caring attitude towards their daughters. It is also very interesting to know that water level in the village has increased. Nice to hear people are leaving bad habits and they are up to doing some positive and productive

amendments needed Dear Sir, In reference to the editorial piece in the Republic Day special of the newspaper, I totally agree that we do need many more amendments in our Constitution. And it’s not only me, the fathers of our Constitution also believed this. The constitution was written more than 60 yearsago. Our needs and requirements have changed. We need to keep ourselves updated with the demand of time. This was the primary reason the Constitution had a provision for amendments. Saurabh Singh, Agra exemplary tabo Dear Editor In reference to the article ‘Class 10 Minimum for being Pradhan’ in the January 29th issue, I am glad to find that the village is taking concrete steps and giving the much needed

importance of education. Sushruti, Delhi kudos to isro Dear Sir, It’s nice to read about India’s space pursuits, where it is raking moolah with regular commercial launches. This is a brilliant use of tax-payers’ money and has a considerable return on investment. On a larger picture, it will also motivate many young students of the country to participate actively in scientific research. Harsha Bhagat, Delhi interlinking a must Dear Sir, With reference to your story on KenBetwa river interlinking project, story seems to infusing a ray of hope for worst drought hit areas of UP and MP. Every day we hear sad stories of farmers’ suicides due to drought and non productivity in fields and debt. This project will lead to solve the problem of irrigation at large and will set example to be followed elsewhere. Ashwin Lamba, New Delhi

Please mail your opinion to - ssbweekly@gmail.com or Whatsapp at 9868807712


18

Martyrs’ Day Special

February 05, 2017

Education

THOUGHTS NAI TALEEM

Snapshots Primary education won’t be complete if did not include reading, writing and arithmetic End of all education surelyis service. If some can do it while studying, it is a complement Co-ordination of faculties of body, mind and soul constitutes the true economic of education

Educating India the gandhian way

A compilation of Mahatma Gandhi’s writings on what our education system should be like and how different it is from foreign education

T

he curriculum and pedagogic ideas which form the fabric of modern education were imported from Oxford and Cambridge, Edinburgh and London. But they are essentially foreign, and till they are repudiated, there never can be national education. The fact to be realized is that India by the very fact of her long established and elaborated civilization had once the advantage of an educational system of her own, the only thing entitled to be called ‘national’. But it was fundamentally distinct from the Anglo-Indian type and from the pseudo-national type that is its descendant. The question then is this: The choice must be clearly and finally made between national and foreign education, the choice of type and archetype, of meaning and purpose, of end and means. It has so far not been made. We are almost certain that the necessity for choosing is hardly realized. As long as confusion on this matter exists, ‘national’ education cannot flourish. And that for a simple reason. The

Government is already imparting one type will have in their hands the secret of the of education in respect of which it is future. impossible for any purely non-official (Young India, 20/3/1924) body to complete. Official organization is bigger, it has more money, it has more No Relation to Environment prizes to offer. With the best motives in the world, the We believe that this root paradox will English tutors could not wholly understand last as long as there is no hard and clear the difference between English and Indian thinking about fundamentals. If, as a result requirements. Our climate does not of careful decisions, we promise to the require the buildings which they need. people that the education we offer will be Nor do our children brought up in truly Indian and not a mere inferior predominantly rural environment need prototype of the education offered in the the type of education the English children schools and colleges of Government, brought up in surroundings predominantly people are bound to listen to us. We urban need. believe that the folk who suffer from the When our children are admitted to effects of the existing arrangements, who schools, they need, not slate and pencil deplore social disruption, who are stricken and books, but simple village tools which by the waste of youth, they can handle freely and will be thankful to find hildren don’t need remuneratively. This means an avenue of escape. a revolution in educational Institutions that stand slate and pencil and methods. But nothing short for the inevitable books, but simple of a revolution can put revolution for the within reach village tools which education restoration of national of every child of schooland social continuum they can handle freely going age.

C

It is admitted that so-called knowledge of the three R’s (reading, writing and arithmetic) that is at present given in Government schools is of little use to the boys and girls in afterlife. Most of it is forgotten inside of one year, if only for want of use. It is not required in their village surroundings. But if a vocational training in keeping with their surroundings was given to the children, they would not only repay the expenses incurred in the schools but would turn that training to use in afterlife. I can imagine a school entirely selfsupporting, if it became, say, a spinning and weaving institution with perhaps & cotton field attached to it. The scheme I am adumbrating does not exclude literary training. No course of primary instruction would considered complete that did not include reading, writing and arithmetic. Only, reading and writing would come during the last year when really the boy or girl is readiest for learning the alphabet correctly. Handwriting is an art. Every letter must be correctly drawn, as an artist would draw his figures. This can only be done if the boys and girls are first taught elementary drawing. Thus side by side with vocational training which occupy most of the day at school, they would be receiving vocal instruction in elementary history, geography and arithmetic. They would learn manners, have object-lessons in practical sanitation and hygiene, all of which they would take their homes in which they would become silent revolutionists. (Young India, 11/7/1929) To Develop Character One word only as to the education of the heart. I do not believe that this can be imparted through books. It can only be done through the living touch of the teacher. And, who are the teachers in the primary and even secondary schools? Are they men and women of faith and character? Have they themselves received the training of the heart? Are they expected to take care of the permanent element in the boys and girls placed under their charge? Is not method of engaging teachers for lower schools an effective bar against character? Do the teachers get even a living wage? And we know that the


February 05, 2017

Education Martyrs’ Day Special

teachers of primary schools are not selected for their patriotism. They only come who can not find any other employment. Purity of personal life is the one indispensable condition for building a sound education. And my meetings with thousands of students and the correspondence which I continuously have with students, in which they pour out their innermost feelings and take me into their confidence, show me quite clearly that there is much left to be desired. Sir M. Vishweshwarayya has emphasized one grave defect of our present education which places exclusive emphasis on literary merit, I would add a graver defect in that students are made to think that whilst they are pursuing their literary studies, they may not do acts of service at the sacrifice of their studies, be it ever so small or temporary. They will lose nothing and gain much if they would suspend their education, literary or industrial, in order to do relief work, such as is being done by some of them in Gujarat. The end of all education should surely be service, and if a student gets an opportunity of rendering service even whilst he is studying, he should consider it as a rare opportunity and treat it not really as a suspension of his education but rather its complement. Real education consists in drawing the best out of yourself. What better book can there be than the book of humanity? What better education can there be than to go, day in and day out, to Harijan quarters and to regard Harijans as members of one human family ? It would be an uplifting, ennobling study. Mine is no narrow creed. It is one of realizing the essential brotherhood of man. (Compiled from Young India and Harijan) Teachers and Text-books There seems to me to be no doubt that in the public schools the books used, especially for children, are for the most part useless when they are not harmful. That many of them are cleverly written

cannot be denied. They might even be the best for the people and the environment for which they are written. But they are not written for Indian boys and girls, not for the Indian environment. When they are so written, they are generally undigested imitations hardly answering the wants of the scholar. In this country, wants vary according to the provinces and the classes of children. For instance, wants of Harijan children are, in the beginning stages at least, different from those of the others. I have, therefore, come to the conclusion that books are required more for the teachers than for the taught. And every teacher, if he is to do full justice to his pupils, will have to prepare the daily lesson from the material available to him. This, too, he will have to suit to the special requirements of his class. Real education has to draw out the best from the boys and girls to be educated. This can never be done by packing illassorted and unwanted information into the heads of the pupils. It becomes a dead weight crushing all originality in them and turning them into mere automata. It we were not ourselves victims of the system, we would long ago have realized the mischief wrought by the modern method of giving mass education, especially in a case like India’s. Attempts have undoubtedly been made by many institutions to produce their own text-books with more or less success. But in my opinion they do not answer the vital needs of the country. I lay no claim to originality for the views I have endeavoured to set forth here. They are repeated here for the benefit of the managers and teachers of Harijan schools, who have tremendous task before them. They dare not be satisfied with mere mechanical work resulting in simply making the children under their charge indifferently and in a parrot-like manner learn the books chosen anyhow. They have undertaken a great trust which they must discharge courageously, intelligently an honestly.

19

Primary aim of all education is, or should be, the moulding of the character of the students

The task is difficult enough but not so difficult as one would imagine, provided the teacher or the manager puts his whole heart into the work. If he becomes a parent to his pupils, he will instinctively know what they need and set about giving it to them. If he has it not to give, he will proceed to qualify himself. And seeing that we have stated with the idea that the boys and girls have to have instruction in accordance with their wants, no extraordinary cleverness or possession of external knowledge is required in a teacher of Harijan and for that matter, any other children. And when it is remembered that the primary aim of all education is, or should be, the moulding of the character of pupils, a teacher who has a character to keep need not lose heart. Young India, 1/12/1933 Self-reliance & Respect for Manual Labour The Gurukula boys need a thorough industrial training if they are to become self-reliant and self-sup-porting. It seems to me that in our country in which 85 per cent of population is agricultural and perhaps 10 per cent occupied in supplying the wants of the peasantry, it must be part of the training of every youth that he has a fair practical knowledge of agriculture and hand-weaving. He will lose nothing if he knows a proper use of tools, can saw a piece of board straight and build a wall that will not come down through a faulty handling of the plumber’s line. A boy who is thus equipped, will never feel helpless in battling with the world and never be in want of employment. A knowledge of the laws of hygiene and sanitation, as well as the art of rearing children, should also form a necessary part of the Gurukula lads. The sanitary arrangements at the fair left much to be desired. The plague of flies told its own tale. These irrepressible sanitary inspectors incessantly warned us that in point of sanitation all was not well with us. They plainly suggested that the

remains of our food and excreta need to be properly buried. It seemed to me to be such a pity that a golden opportunity was being missed of giving to the annual visitors practical lessons on sanitation. But the work must begin with the boys. Thus the management would have at the annual gathering three hundred practical sanitary teachers. Last but not least, let the parents and the Committee not spoil their lads by making them ape European dress or modern luxuries These will hinder them in their afterlife and are antagonistic to brahmacharya. They have enough to fight against in the evil inclinations common to us all. Let us not make their fight more difficult by adding to their temptations. Integrated Education I hold that true education of the intellect can only come through a proper exercise and training of the bodily organs, e.g. hands, feet, eyes, ears, nose, etc. In other words an intelligent use of the bodily organs in a child provides the best and quickest way of developing his intellect. But unless the development of the mind and body goes hand in hand with a corresponding awakening of the soul, the former alone would prove to be a poor lop-sided affair. By spiritual training I mean education of the heart. A proper and all-round development of the mind, therefore, can take place only when it proceeds pari passu with the education of the physical and spiritual faculties of the child. They constitute an indivisible whole. According to this theory, therefore, it would be a gross fallacy to suppose that they can be developed piecemeal or independently of one another. The baneful effects of absence of proper co-ordination and harmony among the various faculties of body, mind and soul respectively are obvious. They are all around us; only we have lost perception of them owing to our present perverse associations. A proper and harmonious combination of all the three is required for the making of the whole man and constitutes the true economics of education. Harijan, 8-5-1937


20 A

Martyrs’ Day Special

ldous Huxley, an English writer, had pointed out Gandhi’s indifferent attitude towards science and termed his Khadi movement as anti-Science. He wrote, “Tolstoyans and Gandhiites tell us that we must ‘return to nature’, in other words, abandon science altogether and live like primitives, or, at best, in the style of our medieval ancestors. The trouble with his advice is that it cannot be followed - or rather, it can be followed if we are prepared to sacrifice at least 800-900 million human lives. Science, in the form of modern industrialization and agricultural technology, has allowed the world’s population to double itself in about three generations. ...Tolstoy and Gandhi are professed humanitarians, but they advocate slaughter, compared with which the massacres of Timur and Jinghiz Khan seem imperceptibly trivial.” Most of the contemporary scholars had similar views about Gandhi’s approach towards Science. Even Nehru, one of Gandhi’s closest followers, wasn’t very privy to Gandhian thoughts on science and he responded to Huxley above: “It [Gandhi’s] may not be a correct attitude; its logic may be faulty... Even this attitude is not necessarily accepted by the political associates and followers of Gandhi. Personally, I do not agree with it and I should make it clear that the Indian Congress and the national movement have not adopted it.....” While Nehru’s views on science have been written about and quoted extensively, Gandhi’s have not received much scholarly attention. Through his quotes and writings, we will try to understand his views on science and what made him think so. Mayhem of machinery Gandhi’s views on science have often been confused with his views on machinery, the machine age and modern civilization. “Modern civilization, far from having done the greatest good to humanity, has forgotten that its greatest achievements are weapons of mass destruction, the awful growth of anarchism, the frightful disputes between capital and labour and

Gandhi’s grudge with

science might be attributed to the violence science tends to propagate

February 05, 2017

Science

misnomer temperaMENT

The Science of Mahatma

Every aspect of Gandhian thoughts have been widely examined. It is surprising that Gandhi’s views on science and technology finds a paltry mention in the texts.

the wanton and diabolical cruelty inflicted on innocent, dumb, living animals in the name of science. The boast about the wonderful discoveries and the marvelous inventions of science, good as they undoubtedly are in themselves, is, after all, an empty boast”, Gandhi had said. Gandhiji opposed the frenzied run for machinery which no doubt saves time and labour at the same time throws thousands on the open streets to die of starvation. Gandhi said, “ I want to save time and labour, not a fraction of mankind but for all. I want the concentration of wealth, not in the hands of a few but in the hands of all. Today machinery merely helps a few to ride the backs of millions. The use of machinery increases greed.” In his opinion the earth has enough to satisfy everybody’s need but not anybody’s greed. He replaced greed by love and he believed that everything would be all right. Machines should not be allowed to cripple the limbs of man.

‘Root’ing for Science As opposed to popular perception, Gandhi had a real appreciation for scientific education and he distinguished between ‘education in science’ and other branches of learning in the following words: “Education of man in science is the opposite of literacy training, which, he kept repeating, does not add one inch to one’s moral stature. By its learning and research, science is real education. It applies the mind to the reality around us. It promotes objectivity and grounded in the rigorous and disinterested pursuit of truth, forcing out all prejudice and illusion....” Gandhi wanted to promote and nurture science and research culture in the country. He strongly urged the scientists to interact with people to understand their problems and requirements while conducting their research. He emphasised on direct intervention of scientific community in the village development programme.

Snapshots Gandhi’s principles of selfreliance and village-industries was construed as anti-science The Mahatma was actually fond of science and use of machines in daily life Gandhi wanted science to help innovate agriculture and village industries

“I sent a questionnaire to several of our well - known doctors and chemists, asking them to enlighten me on the chemical analysis and different food values of polished and unpolished rice, jaggery and sugar, and so on. Many friends have responded only to confess that there has been no research in some of the directions I had inquired about. Is it not a tragedy that no scientist should be able to give me the chemical analysis of such a simple article as gur? The reason is that we have not thought of the villager.... What kinds of laboratory research shall we have to go in for?” It is clear that Gandhi was not opposed to modern science; rather he wanted scientifically informed knowledge to formulate policy decisions. Gandhiji was very keen on rooting out two problems of Indian - idleness and the broken connection between the villages and the urban mass. During one of his tour, he realised that villagers are merely becoming a producer of raw materials and there is hardly any innovation at their end. The villagers only gave and got little in return. It is with this vision of “reinstating the villager” that Gandhiji started the All India Village Industries Association on December 14th, 1934. The board of advisers of 20 members of AIVIA thus included eminent scientists like C V Raman, P C Ray, J C Bose and Sam Higginbotham. Gandhi felt that there was a need for “centralisation not of administration, but of thought, ideas and scientific knowledge”. From 1934 onwards Gandhi clearly started emphasising on “science for the villages”. In his speeches Gandhi stressed on “rural mindedness”. To him “rural mindedness” was no “mere detail, but a prime necessity”. Science of non-violence Gandhi’s grudge with science might be attributed to the violence, science tends to propagate. At the same time, he had a firm belief that science would be able to bring the dawn of peace on earth. His opinion on science can be very well understood from his statement –“But science, which can be used to serve man, can also be used against Man. Science is not good or evil but its use and users are”.


February 05, 2017

Lecture Martyrs’ Day Special

lecture gandhi’s strengths

Modi-Obama link Purushottam Aggarwal on 2nd October 2005, delivered a lecture on “ Majbooti ka naam Mahatma Gandhi” meaning Mahatma Gandhi, is a synonym of strength. Excerpts...

Prem Prakash

A

fter Gandhi, ‘Gandhi Peace Foundation’ has emerged as a hotbed of Gandhian ideas and programes. Especially in the 60’s and 70’s when it was the regulatory body for various Gandhian activities. In this New Delhi situated facility, senior critic Purushottam Aggarwal on 2nd October 2005 delivered a lecture on Gandhi. The topic was, Majbooti ka naam Mahatma Gandhi meaning Mahatma Gandhi, a synonym to strength. In his address, he especially highlighted that between all the ethical inflation and dilemmas Gandhi’s life is an example for the rest. It has played a crucial role in keeping the people of the country and the world, be it a politician or a common man connected to humanity for the past century. Presently, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former American President Barack Obama are the two world leaders mostly linked to Mahatma Gandhi. However, those interested in participating in this debate only because it contains the names of the two world leaders, it must be hard for them to understand if we try to introspect life, development and nation building through it. When the prominent environmentalist Anupam Mishra died a few days ago, senior Hindi critic paid him a tribute in his writing speaking of his Gandhian aesthetics. There is hardly any issue of concern in human life that Gandhi haven’t already touched in his lifetime or one that we don’t have dated context of consideration program. Hence, Gandhi’s life and his ideology naturally attract the positive people or the ones associated with social or national welfare.

When Narendra Modi visited America after becoming the Prime Minister of India, he took Gandhi’s ‘Geeta Bhasya’ for President Obama. Interestingly, Obama also didn’t forget to express his affection for Gandhi on his visit to India. However, the reason why the two world leaders like Modi and Obama don’t forget Gandhi is because they realize his ability motivate something ordinary to transform into extraordinary and his lessons of decisive awareness for peacefully co-existing world. In the beginning of his presidential candidacy in year 2008, Obama in a statement said, “I have always looked to Mahatma Gandhi as an inspiration because he is a symbol of change that indicates that together common people can do extraordinary things.” Then again in 2015 he called Mahatma Gandhi a hero not only for India but the world. If we talk about the country’s current Prime Minister, then Narendra Modi also come from a place where Gandhi’s ideas and values have been in question from the beginning. But it’s appreciable how this leader has been constantly supporting his beliefs with Gandhian values for the last three years. From Khadi to sanitation there are a lot of programs and ideas Narendra Modi has progressed upon after becoming the Prime Minister. In this new generation of branding and image marketing, his

From Khadi to sanitation

there are a lot of Gandhian programmes and ideas Modi has taken up

Snapshots On a number of occasions Barack Obama praised Mahatma Gandhi’s ideology Both Modi and Obama know of Gandhi’s ability to transform ordinary into extra-ordinary Gandhi’s take on sanitation will not only help human welfare but will ensure its success

initiatives have provided India a refreshing new identity in the world. In the BRICS summit in South Africa last year, the picture of Modi and leaders of countries like China, Russia and Brazil wearing Khadi clothes went viral. The Gandhi ideology purist may believe it won’t help Gandhi’s khadi movement. But if Khadi were to rise above the pressure of sale and production in this time of market and consumerism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on the right track to do it. Those with fundamental objection with his methods must present the blueprint of policy and programmes to further the Gandhian ideology against the market. Otherwise there will only be talks of Gandhism while his connection to our lives continues weakening every day. The good news is that the talks of Gandhi and associated programmes are only going to increase in the next two years. Gandhi’s first major breakthrough in the country’s freedom was the Champaran movement between 1917 and 1918. The movement is about to complete its centenary. Nitish Kumar has decided to celebrate it with a global event in Champaran and Patna on the occasion. Sources say the Bihar government is going to set up a committee to start the preparation of the global event. It is being said that it will the biggest event in the history of Bihar. Gandhian leaders around the world are supposed to be invited to the event. According to the sources, former president of the United States, Myanmar former President Aung San Suu Kyi and many South African leaders are some of the primary guests to be invited. The Modi government, like the Champaran Satyagraha, is also planning to celebrate the sesquicecntennial (150th anniversary) of Mahatma Gandhi between 2018 and 2019. Multiple committees have already been appointed for preparations of the event. The people who know NAMO’s working process know how the event will turn out. In a time when the base of public acceptance of leadership, ideas and programmes has became a necessity, Gandhi’s presence in public life and question on cleanliness will not only help in human welfare but will also, to an extent, ensure its success.

21

defying death

Compilation of attempts on Gandhi’s life, before death finally overhwlmed him 1. In 1934, while Gandhi was on his way to attend the reception held in his honour by Poona Municipality, a bomb was hurled at him. But it hit the car ahead, and Gandhi was saved. 2. Another attempt on his life was at Panchgani in 1944. A man with a dagger rushed towards him. According to Manishankar Purohit, the proprietor of Poona Surati Lodge, the assailant was none else but Nathuram Godse. It has been recorded that B.D. Bhisare Guruji, the ex-Congress MLA from Mahabaleshwar, had snatched away the dagger from Godse. Gandhiji soon sent for Godse, but he did not turn up! 3. In September 1944, Gandhi was scheduled to go from Wardha to Bombay to meet Mohammed Ali Jinnah. A group from Poona went to Wardha, to attack Gandhi and sabotage the programme. When Gandhi came to know about this, he insisted that he would walk along with the demonstrators and not board the car until they were allowed. But before his departure, the police had apprehended the group. One of them, G.L. Thatte, was detected to be carrying a dagger, but he told the police that he had only intended to tear off the tyre of the car by which Gandhi was to travel! 4. The fourth attempt took place in June 1946. Gandhi was traveling to Poona by a special train. They had hatched a plot to derail the train in that dark night between Neral and Karjat by putting huge stones on the rail tracks. Thanks to the engine driver’s vigilance and skill the tragedy was averted although the engine was damaged. 5. On January 20, 1948 one fanatic, Madanlal Pahwa, had hurled a bomb at Gandhi at the prayer meeting. It missed him, and Gandhi continued his prayers unperturbed. Let us not forget that the problem of fifty-five crores etc. had cropped up only after January 12 and not earlier. The fundamentalist were looking for was a chance to kill Gandhi; any excuse was good enough to assassinate him, and they spared no pain to find one or fabricate it.


22

Martyrs’ Day Special SANJEEV

I

T is very exciting to know that Mahtma Gandhi had not only played a vital role in the independence of India but he was the one, to light the torch of independence for many other island and countries where Girmitiyas (descendents of indentured Indian labourers) were living. Gandhi was like a family head to all dispersed Girmitiyas, who were transported in huge numbers from India to different countries. Mauritius was one of the many crown colonies (British Overseas Territories). My Mauritian friend Raj Hiraman keeps narrating me the stories from Mauritius and everytime it leaves me amused. Mauritius had been special to Gandhi since the time he was mere Mohandas and hadn’t become a Mahatma. Although he visited Mauritius in 1901(it was just coincidence) but he mentioned about this sland on 22nd May, 1896 for the first time. In many of his books he talked about Mauritius. For the first time in Durban(South Africa) he wrote about right of voting in Mauritius. In the same year, on 21st December again he wrote regarding it. In fact, in 1901 his ship ‘Naushera’ had anchored on Port Louis seaport. He met few people over there and visited few places. While returning, he had instructed the people from Indian origin there. His

February 05, 2017

International

Snapshots Mauritius was inhabited by Girmitiyas, descendents of indentured Indian labourers

mauritius freedom

liberating the crown

Gandhi’s nonviolence liberated India from the clutches of British. Interestingly, he was instrumental in freedom of Mauritius, too

Gandhi was vocal about the rights of people of Indian origin in the island nation Mauritius chose its Independence Day on the same day Dandi March started

major instructions were 1. Educate your kids. 2. Motivate kids towards politics. 3. Keep a watch on the progress of India. On 24th December 1901, Congress session was held, in that too, he talked about it, he said, “our brother and friends have shifted to countries like Africa, Janjibar, Maritius, Fiji, Singapore. Did Indian missionaries, lawyers, doctors and professionals follow them? Now, Europeans are serving them. European missionaries are teaching them religion.” He requested people to visit South Africa and take care of NRIs there so that their sorrow and pain could be reduced. On 3rd September 1893 in his newspaper ‘Indian Opinion’ he wrote an article on epidemic in Mauritius. On 26th June he invited great freedom fighter

Couple of other instances where gandhi’s influence is quite evident in the context of mauritius 1. From 1968 to 1969, the birth century of Mahatma Gandhi was celebrated for a full year in Mauritius.

Mauritius too and was dissolved in the sea, people gave him tearful adieu.

2. In the year 1969, the postal department of Mauritius released a commemorative stamp on Gandhi.

9. In the year 1958, Gandhian Professor Vishnu Dayal rose higher up the political circles and an Indian came in to the power.

3. In Lavanchir village they constructed Gandhi Bhawan. There are many roads, lanes and chocks were named after Mahatma Gandhi.

10. There are a lots of institutions working in the name of Gandhi. Obliged country remembers him in every step. Even my friend Hiraman , wrote a book ‘The Mahatma Remembered’ in 2001 on the arrival century of Mahatma.

4. On most of the part of country busty statues of mahatma Gandhi is figured. 5. In 1970, then PM of India Indira Gandhi kept foundation of ‘Mahatma Gandhi sansthan’ it works on the important philosophy of Gandhi. 6. In 1970 ‘Gandhi Khadi Vidyalaya’ was open, here Charkha and Khadi both are alive till now. 7. On 30th January 1948 Gnadhi was assassinated and Mauritius kept half day working. 8. Gandhi’s remains were taken to

11. Abhimanyu Anant’s novel ‘Gandhi ji Bole The’ is included in the syllabus of Cambridge. 12. In each house of Mauritius , Mahatma Gandhi is present in the form of picture. It is considered that the foundation of ‘Swaraj’ and work on Hindi journalism started from here only. Likewise a colony till 1810 and since 1834 until 1910, the country of Girmitaiyas became a republic in 1992. Will indebted India and grateful Indians ever be able to forget the doyen of liberation, Mahatma Gandhi?

Gopal Krishna Gokhale to South Africa. He had asked him to reach South Africa via Ceylone and Mauritius so that he could see and observe the pathetic situation of people of Indian origin over there. On 7th January 1911, he wrote in his news paper Indian Opinion, ‘In Mauritius the situation of NRI’s is piteous. They are living life of a slave; this kind of bondage should be resolved.’ He was spreading the seeds of independence. He even used to keep eyes on types of newspapers, “In Mauritius there is scarcity of people to publish good newspaper.” That newspaper was published by the Doctor Maganlal Manilal who was sent by him only. On 24th October 1911, in Transvaal (South Africa) Gokhlae praised him and wrote, “Doctor in Mauritius is doing a great social service. He has won the heart of poor non residents and has become their friend”. In India Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Swami Dayanand had spread the wave of renaissance against polygyny. Gandhi was concerned about Mauritius in same context. On 14th Dec 1912, law regarding polygyny was passed. On 8th July 1914, Gandhi wrote against it. In those days, he received a request letter

from Pt. Totaram Sanadhya regarding the deteriorating situation of Girmitiyas from. He requested for their liberation. Gandhi was not in a situation to go himself, so he sent doctor Maganlal Manilal to Fiji. Thus, it was Gandhiji’s effort only to spread the seeds of reform from South Africa and Mauritius to the third island Fiji. Till his death, he remembered Mauritius, he remembered Fiji and remembered the ill conditioned Girmitiyas over there. Gandhi’s interference was truly an Indian way, not just these nations achieved their independence, but also the people of Indian origin gained political power. Indian languages and tradition could be maintained there. While in Mauritius and Suriname, Bhojpuri was flourishing, Awadhi was gaining grounds in Fiji. The fire of liberation spread to all the Crown Colonies. The indebted people of Indian origin remembered him profoundly. On 12th March 1968, Mauritius got its independence and they selected this date because it is the date when Dandi March started. The ideas of liberation was spreading, in all the places where Indians lived.


CASHLESS

an INITIATIVE by

Digital Payment The Future of Payments

BANEGA INDIA

Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak

STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS FOR VARIOUS MODES OF PAYMENT: Cards, USSD, AEPS, UPI, Wallets

www.cashlessbanegaindia.com

Founder, Sulabh Sanitation & Social Reform Movement

Transfer Funds to another Bank Account

types of POs

Dial *99# from your phone

PHYSICAL POS

Physical Card Swiping – PTSN with landline/GPRS enabled

Welcome to NUUP Enter 3 Letters of your bank’s short name or first 4 letters of your bank’s IFSC

Enter Your Option 1. Balance Enquiry 2. Mini Statement 3. Fund Transfer-MMID 4. Fund Transfer-A/c No. 5. Fund Transfer-Aadhar 6. Know MMID 7. Change M-PIN 8. Generate OTP

Enter Beneficiary Mobile No.

MPOS

types of cards & usage

Phone connected with external POS device through jack/Bluetooth

Prepaid cards

debit cards

1. Pre-loaded from your bank account 2. Safe to use, limited amount of transaction 3. Can be recharged like mobile recharge

1. Linked to your bank account 2. Used to pay at shops, ATMs, wallets, micro-ATMs and online shopping

ussd based banking Can be used for payments upto Rs 5,000 per day per customer

V-POS

Phone connected with external POS device through jack/Bluetooth 1. Visit your branch to link mobile number and bank account

2. No need for separate MMID; You will get your Mobile Money Identifier (MMID) and Mobile PIN (MPIN) upon registration; Can be done at ATM or online also

3. Remember your MMID and MPIN

aadhaar enabled

bhim

Seed your account with your Aadhar number at bank or with the help of banking correspondent

Step-1: INSTALL BHIM APP and open Step-2: Select Language: English or Hindi Step-3: It will asks for permission, click Allow Step-4: Click on “let’s get started” Step-5: Verify your bank account registered mobile number Step-6: Enter a 4 digit pass-code you just received on your mobile and confirm Step-7: Select the bank account you want to use with this app BHIM APP Download process completes You are all set to send/receive money

You can do Account balance Aadhar to Aadhar fund transfer Cash withdrawal Cash deposit Purchase at Fair Price Shops with AEPS Now you can do many transactions at any AEPS point without any pin or password (AEPS points – Micro ATMs)

Go Cashless India!

e-wallets

UPI based banking

using wallets

UPI REGISTRATION

start using wallet to make payments

sign-up using mobile

load money using credit card or debit card or internet banking

DOWNLOAD ANY BANK’S APP OR 3RD PARTY APP

CHOOSE YOUR UNIQUE ID (BANK AC NO., IFSC CODE, AADHAR, MOBILE NO.) AS VIRTUAL PAYMENT ADDRESS (VPA)

select bank

GIVE ACCOUNT DETAILS FOR FIRST TIME

registration COMPLETED SET M-PIN FOR VALIDATING TRANSACTIONS

Advertisment

consumer downloads the app in smartphone


24

Martyrs’ Day Special

February 05, 2017

Sanitation

cleanliness Bapu’s dream

vision for a clean india

Gandhi realised it quite early in his life that cleanliness and sanitation are absolute necessities for India’s progress. He exhorted countrymen to work actively for it

villages have become open defecation free. Sikkim has shown the best work in the field of sanitation with hundred percent completion of toilet construction and cleaning of the state. It has become first state that is completely open defecation free. Himachal and Kerala have also been a glorious part of the success story. Other states are also following the footsteps to become open defecation free. More than eighty percent work has been completed in Haryana, Uttarakhand, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Manipur and Gujarat and more than seventy percent in Punjab, West Bengal, Goa, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh.

taking a cue from the west

prasann pranjal

O

nce a British man asked Mahatma Gandhi what shall he do if he is made Viceroy of India for a day? “I will clean that slum area near Rajbhavan,” replied Gandhi. He asked him again, what if he remains on the same position on next day too. He said, “I’ll do the same thing again. You cannot keep your cities clean until you take broom and bucket in your hands and clean your surroundings by yourselves.” This wasn’t an one-off instance. Gandhi ji used to treat cleanliness above worshiping God. Right from his South Africa days till his assassination, he kept making people aware about the importance of sanitation. He had sensed the reluctance of Indians towards sanitation and wanted to create a change in their mindset.

eminence of toilets

People generally make loathsome faces when they hear about toilet but to everyone’s wonder, Gandhi ji used to clean his toilet, all by himself. His first chore after getting up in the morning at 4 am, was to clean the Ashram. He even built a toilet by himself in Vardha ashram and cleaned it every day. Once, he said, “I learnt 35 years ago that a lavatory must be as clean as a drawingroom. I learnt this in the West. The cause of many of our diseases is the condition of our lavatories and our bad habit of disposing excreta anywhere and everywhere. I, therefore, believe in the absolute necessity of a clean place for answering the call of nature and clean articles for use at the time.” The construction of more than 2.5 crore toilets, under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, is certainly a result of Gandhi’s views on toilets. More than 1 lakh

Sanitation was an important social issue for Gandhi ji. During his visit to South Africa in 1895, he observed that Asian and Indian businessmen were discriminated because they used to keep their work places unclean. Therefore he gave immense importance to sanitation. According to him, it is the duty of municipality to provide people with a proper place for sanitation, fundamental and structural facilities and clean atmosphere. He also wrote a letter to Health Officer of Johannesburg highlighting this matter. ‘I am writing to you to bring your notice towards awful condition of Indian residential colonies. It is difficult to tell how so many people are stuffed in one small room. Cleaning in these areas is irregular and many people have complained in my office that the condition is even worse now.’ In his biography, he wrote, ‘the carelessness of municipality and unawareness of Indians towards sanitation led to the conspiracy of keeping some localities filthy. He asked people to take lesson from the discrimination happening in South Africa. It is written in Gandhi Vangmaya regarding this matter, ‘we should know the value of sanitation…we will have to remove it completely…Isn’t cleanliness a reward itself? Recent incidents are big lesson for the people of this country.’ Gandhi Vangmay, Part 25 elaborates Gandhi’s point of view regarding urban sanitation citing a welcome speech by him, in which he had said that, ‘we should take inspiration from the way western countries’ municipal corporations do their work of cleaning. We should also learn how they have developed corporate culture of sanitation and cleanliness. We should stop taking water resources for granted.’

Clean village happy village

It has been mentioned in Gandhi Vangmay, Part 13 that Gandhi ji gave his first public speech about sanitation

Snapshots Gandhi was way ahead of his time, when he talked about a clean India Health, hygiene, cleanliness formed an important aspect of his speeches and meetings Realisation of Gandhi’s dream has been set in motion with Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

on 14th February 1916 during a missionary summit. More than a hundred years ago, Mahatma had asserted that the issue of sanitation in villages should be resolved on top priority. But even today, lots of villages are grappling with this issue. Fortunately, the work is in progress in this direction. To motivate this spirit of clean villages, Nirmal Gram Puraskar (2005), Clean India Movement (2012) and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (2014) have been initiated. It seems that Gandhi ji’s dream of clean villages will soon turn into reality.

Education and sanitation

Mahatma Gandhi put a great emphasis on including sanitation and cleanliness education as mandatory in school curriculum and higher studies. During one of his visit to a school he said to a teacher that if he taught the students cooking and cleanliness along with studies then only his school would be an ideal school. Part 13 of Gandhi Vangmaya also consists of some excerpts of his speech that he delivered in Gurukul Kangdi on 20th March 1916. He said in his speech that ‘it is equally important to execute ideas of sanitation instead of just imparting theoretical knowledge to the children… It should be part and parcel of teaching process… The sanitation invigilators have informed that all is not well on the sanitation front… I think we have lost a golden opportunity of annual felicitation of the guests.’ Gandhi ji, who saw education and sanitation as inseparable, established Gujarat Vidyapeeth in 1920. This school followed the lifestyle of Ashram system. In the Vidyapeeth, everyone including teachers, students and other volunteers were assigned cleaning work from beginning. Cleaning streets, offices, premises and work place was an integral part of their day to day life. Gandhi ji used to sensitise and guide every person who was new to that place and instill these values. This tradition continues even today. Gandhi ji interpreted sanitation as arogya (health). He had always put forth the importance of awareness and education pertaining to sanitation in


February 05, 2017

Sanitation Martyrs’ Day Special

our lives. He used to say that good health is possible only through the practice of sanitation.

say yes to hygiene

Many people used to think of living with him. They used to express their wish through their letters to him. He received many letters regarding this but there was only condition to live in his Ashram. He used to explain in a strong and strict voice that sanitation was most important for him, ‘people, who want to live in the Ashram, will have to clean it including the toilets.’

Cleaning railways

Gandhi ji travelled extensively throughout the county in third class rail compartment. He was horrified and astounded to see the mucky condition of third class railway coaches. His letters published in newspapers aimed to bring everyone’s attention towards that issue. He wrote one such letter on 25th September 1917 and mentioned about railway that ‘the third class coaches must be discontinued if people travel in such horrific conditions because it affects the health and morality of people travelling in it. They certainly have a right to receive basic necessities and by treating them as third grade people we are depriving them of their fundamental rights of sanitation, good management and dignified life of simple living and high thinking.’ Until a few years ago Indian railways were in similar condition. Recent initiatives by the Indian Railways has changed a lot and one can be hopeful that Indian railway will see cleaner days.

worshipping Sanitation

Comparing sanitation with worshiping God, Gandhi ji tried to draw people’s attention towards unhygienic conditions of temples and pilgrimages. Gandhi Vangmay Part 14 mentions that on 3rd

November 1917 in Gujarat, he said in a political meeting, ‘Holy shrine of Dakor is not very far from this place. I went there. The place is absolutely sacred but looking at the huge amount of garbage and filth I can say that a person, who is habitual of cleanliness, cannot stay there even for 24 hour. I consider myself as Vaishno devotee that’s why I can criticize the condition of Dakor Ji. The pilgrims, who visit there, have polluted tanks and streets. Similarly he wrote in Young India about Gaya, a sacred place in Bihar on 3rd February 1927. He wrote that ‘My Hindu soul revolts against the ample amount of litter on streets and the foul smell of dirty drains in Gaya.’ In his speech on 25 august 1925 in Calcutta (now Kolkata) he said that ‘they (volunteers) should not come as spiritual Gurus and leaders in the village but bring brooms in their hand to send the message of sanitation. We have to fight poverty, filth and indolence with the help of broom, Quinine pills and castor oil.’

attention to sanitation

Gandhi ji raised matters pertaining to sanitation throughout his life. During Congress sessions, many of his speeches revolved around this issue. He felicitated Congress members for keeping Dahod city clean in April 1924 and suggested them to spread awareness amongst scavenger community on sanitation. Similarly, in 1925 he appreciated efforts made by the members of congress in Kanpur in keeping the city clean. He suggested congress workers to focus on sanitation work after becoming councilors. He said that it was the responsibility of Panchayats to take elementary education, charkha and sanitation to every single household in the village. His views on Panchayat and sanitation were published in Young India on 19th

Gandhi ji with Congress workers during one the sessions

25

PM Modi had launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan to fulfill Gandhi’s dream

“Scavengers and sweepers are standing in the last row of the social strata however they are the most important ones”

November 1925 and later in Gandhi Vangmay Part 28. ‘I have been hurt utterly, seeing the insanitary condition during my tour in the country…I am compelled to tolerate this filthiness.’

A battle against Untouchability

Gandhi ji hated the term ‘untouchable’. He always criticized the age-old tradition of untouchability and caste system of the Indian society. He was against that system since his childhood and even opposed his mother on this issue despite having great amount of affection and respect for her. She had asked him to stay away from sweepers but he never listened to her. In fact he said that keeping places clean was the duty of every individual. He wanted to eliminate the tradition of manual scavenging, which was done by only one particular community. Sweepers and scavengers used to live separately outside the village in awful condition during that time. They were living there deprived of basic necessities of life, health, education and money, in terrible circumstances and were looked down by the society. He went to their community and embraced such people. Not only this, he suggested others also to do the same. He wanted upliftment and inclusion of these people in the mainstream society. He urged everyone in the country to help such people who were living in slums. He criticized the inhuman behavior of others towards scavengers and sweepers in Indian society. It is written in 54th part of Gandhi Vangmay. He wrote that ‘Scavengers and sweepers are standing in the last row of the social strata however they are the most important ones. They are

indispensable and subject to respect in the society. We should respect such people like we respect our mothers. Should everyone do the work of sanitation similar to them, this bad tradition would have ended long time back.’

for body, soul and environment

Gandhi’s famous slogans were ‘Quit India’ and ‘Clean India’. PM Modi wants to make his dream of clean India come true. He called for Swachch Bharat mission in his very first speech of Independence Day from the ramparts of Red Fort. He wants to accomplish Gandhi’s dream of clean India by 2019 i.e. Bapu’s 150th birth anniversary under ‘Swachch Bharat Abhiyan’. There is a plan to build 12 crores toilets by 2019 all over the country in order to make it absolutely free of open defecation. The government is investing a lot of money, 1.96 lakh crores on Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and providing financial help to the people for building toilets in their houses. PM Modi initiated this movement by taking up the broom in his own hand. Not only this, he keeps reminding everyone about the pledge of cleanliness in all his programmes and keep appreciating people and organizations that are working towards achieving this goal in his popular programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’ and on social media. The process of granting money under this policy has been made smooth and easy so that people do not hesitate and feel motivated for building toilets. He is walking straight on the foot prints of Gandhi for making India clean and beautiful.


26

Martyrs’ Day Special

February 05, 2017

Economics

J C Kumarappa gandhian

Returning to the roots

Gandhian economics is criticised for being impractical. Kumarappa had endorsed it when there were very few takers prem prakash

H

uman rights advocacy seems to be picking up steam these days. Right from education to economy, the advocacy of human rights is pushing for implementation of some logical and relevant requirements in these fields. Although it seems quite paradoxical that at one end of the spectrum we have a society deeply indulged in consumerism while on the other hand human rights is finding new grounds at national and international level. This reminds us of one of the greatest proponents of human rights – Gandhi. His worldview had an inherent element of human dignity and the means to achieve it was through non-violence and antodaya (upliftment of the last man). It would be quite interesting to observe the impact of Gandhi’s socioeconomic ideals in the current context of indiscriminate growth. His socioeconomic ideals can’t be seen through a prism which is bereft of the principle of non-violence. He followed an inclusive philosophy where human dignity is accorded the highest status and values of celibacy, co-existence and self-reliance form an important part. Due to these quixotic ideals, Gandhi’s critiques term his theory of nation building as impractical and devoid of realism. J C Kumarappa, an economist and a close associate of Gandhi had written a book – ‘The Economy of Permanence’. The book espouses the ideals of nonviolence and economists rate it quite highly. In the very first chapter of the book, Kumarappa busts the myth that economic development is permanent. From the times of industrial revolution to much recent liberalisation, the needs and requirements of development keep changing. Aligning with the changed definition, government and the society also keep shifting their priorities. There hasn’t been much emphasis given on the end goal of this change. Vast section of economic fraternity endorses the rhetoric of ‘survival of the fittest’, which doesn’t have much room for compassion and dignity. It highlights the scarier side of prosperity and development, the side where one needs to trample the other in order to progress ahead in life. The likes of Amartya Sen and Jean

Dreze today talk about the concept of welfare economics. At a fundamental level, their economic outlook borrows from that of Kumarappa’s. Albeit Kumarappa’s thoughts take us much closer to Gandhi, it also hinders our direct attachment to his ideals. Sudhir Chandra, a Gandhian thinker and ideologue, terms this ‘direct attachment’ as an ‘impossible possibility’. One can’t approach Gandhi, the apostle of truth and compassion, with a convoluted conscience. Kumarappa’s book is one the most effective way to understand the transcendental ideals of Gandhi and also the dynamics of development and selfreliance. Kumarappa clarifies in his book that economic empowerment of our nation is not possible without decentralized approach towards self-reliance. There is a very evident juxtaposition of coexistence and self-reliance in the rural and cultural paradigm of India. Unfortunately, this juxtaposition is either obscured from or beyond understanding of our policymakers, who are a product of urban education system. For centuries, the dynamic rural disposition has evolved itself to suit the changing needs of the time. Hostility towards unnecessary greed and frugality are an important aspect of rural lifestyle. Sadly, rural lifestyle is highly misunderstood and is seen as contrary to modern view of development. Hence, the villages, where self-reliance ruled the roost have been forced to be dependent on non-rural agencies. According to Kumarappa there should be an effort to maintain a balance between life, culture and diligence as it helps control the crisis

Snapshots Swadeshi, Swaraj and Swavlamban are three pillars of Gandhi’s economic thoughts J C Kumarappa, a renowned economist and Gandhian, endorsed these ideals His thoughts are very pertinent for modern Indian economy

Kumarappa’s book is one the most effective way to understand the transcendental ideals of Gandhi

of self reliance. Kumarappa also argues about the permanence or durability of the economy. His idea of economics is based on the principle of providing scope for all-round development and economic independence to each individual of. Kumarappa was one of those rare economists who advocated for maintaining the rural economy in its true and natural form and considered environment conservation more beneficial than industrial and commercial development. Today it is conspicuous in various historical references that most of Gandhi’s colleague did not agree completely with him on his economic philosophy. Therefore there was no harmony between independent India’s economic policies and that of Gandhi’s. The idea of Gram Swaraj that Gandhi had advocated has its power vested in agriculture and rural industrial development. He envisioned Indian agriculture to prosper and become self reliant. He went straight to the villages and farmers of India after returning from South Africa. Champaran Satyagrah is the perfect example of Gandhi’s dream of independent India where the farmers were not mere slaves working for handful of grains. Instead, they were the non violent fighters diligently working towards realizing the dream of free India.

Kumarappa had returned to Gandhi after studying Economics abroad. Kumarappa wrote his research paper on ‘Public finance and India’s poverty’ in which he highlighted the damage to Indian economy due to British policies. Gandhi’s vision of development was the one which saw development as cooperation rather than a competition and in which life values and development were not separate but one. This is the reason why Kumarappa not only opposed the policy when farmers were lured to be paid more for producing sugarcane for urban consumption and import. He clearly felt that India’s decentralized economic structure will be entirely dependent on import and farmers and poor labourers will be subject to exploitation. It goes without saying that his apprehension during that time has become a frightening reality of today’s India. Although materialism and compassion are two absolutely different things in today’s arena and have different demands, there are negligible chances for them to co-exist. But Gandhi’s vision and approach is all about keeping these two together and ensure their realisation, right from swadeshi (indigenous) to swaraj (independence) and swavlamban (self-reliance). Kumarappa highlighted the permanence of these values and kept Gandhian flame burning.


February 05, 2017

Art & Culture Martyrs’ Day Special

27

ART sculpture

Music of the Rocks

Art is never silent, and that’s the reason every statue of Gandhi diligently sculpted by artist Ram Sutar sings a different tune. Can you hear these songs of peace?

(Clockwise from bottom left) Gandhi’s statue facing Parliament; brooding Gandhi at London’s Tavistock Square; Gandhi in Brisbane; walking Mahatma at Winnipeg, Canada; Sutar engrossed in work

pallavi vatsa

T

ake any kind of stone whether it is big or small or, black or brown, strong like quartz or soft like marble, just one chisel and hammer is enough to destroy its structure. The situation turns around when these hammer and chisel comes to the hand of Ram Sutar, the same structure of stone turns in to a beautiful face and music inside it oozes out. Ram Sutar is a master in understanding the music of stone and brings it in front of world. The way his hands accomplish this work is incomprehensible to others. Ram Sutar is neither a craftsman nor a sculptor but he is a musician. Chisel and hammer are his instruments and the piece of stones are his treasure tunes. This artisan has just one formula that is – Gandhi. Gandhian Ram Sutar creates only Gandhi in his Sculpture. Whatever statue Ram Sutar has carved, it reflects the ideology of Gandhi. Peace and goodwill could be seen in each stroke of

his chisel and hammer. Till now Ram Sutar has carved more than three hundred sculptures with different expressions of Gandhi. All of them are established in three hundred different cities of the world. Gandhian artificer Ram Sutar had never ever dreamed that he will have to sculpt a sword with stone. But when

Punjab government asked him to make a 150 feet sword for war memorial, he happily took the challenge. He found this work quite artistic and thrilling. This is going to be the longest sword made up of stone in the entire world. Till now Ram Sutar has scripted more than thousand sculptures and even at this age also he is working for hours. He gets his inspiration to work from Gandhi. This Marathi maanus met Mahatma Gandhi when he went Dhulegaon to meet Vinoba Bhave. Bapu asked him to remove his silk cap and he burnt it to ashes. Ram Sutar loves to narrate this incidence. After the

Snapshots Ram Sutar is a renowned sculptor & a devout Gandhian He has created more than 300 sculptures of Gandhi His sculptures stand tall in different cities of the world

assassination of Mahtma Gandhi, Ram sutar made his first statue. Since then he has carved more than thousand sculptures, including many Indian stalwarts. He is also the chief artist for the statue of Sardar Patel’s which will be installed in river Narmada. He is also inspecting the project of Shivaji’s statue going to be placed in Arabian Sea. His journey to put life and thought in to the lifeless stone continues. He wants to keep giving meaning to the lifeless stones till the end of his life. His philosophy of karmanya vadhikaraste (work is worship) is reflected in the sculpture of Lord Krishna with Arjuna.


28

Martyrs’ Day Special

February 05, 2017

Anasakti Yoga

Spirituality enlightenment

GANDHIAN ANASAKTI YOGa Gandhi on his return to India went to the hills of Kausani on Gokhale’s insistence. His transformation to Mahatma is deeply inspired by his experiences at Kausani

O

n Mahatma Gandhi’s arrival in India from South Africa, Gopal Krishna Gokhale asked him to explore India in order to know it better. This brought Bapu to Kausani where he resided at a guest house of a tea estate owner which until sometime was the Panchayat guest house. His memorable commentary on the Gita-Anasakti Yoga was inspired by the enchanted hill station that enlightened his spiritual insight awakened by the scenic grandeur of the richly gifted spot. However, to keep alive the memories of the Mahatma, the then Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Sucheta Kriplani handed it over to the Gandhi Memorial Fund, Uttar Pradesh which still stands there and is now known as the Anasakti Ashram. The ashram now boasts of a library, reading room and research centre which provides ample of information to those studying about Gandhi. It also offers a magnificent photo gallery consisting of photographs from his childhood to old age covering his various phases of life and ancestry.

Gandhi’s Commentary on Gita

Even in 1908-99, when I first became acquainted with the Gita, I felt that it was not an historical work, but that, under the guise of physical warfare, it described the duel that perpetually went on in the hearts of mankind, and that

physical warfare was brought in merely to make the description of the internal duel more alluring. This preliminary intuition became more confirmed on a closer study of religion and the Gita. A study of the Mahabharata gave it added confirmation. I do not regard the Mahabharata as an historical work in the accepted sense. The Adiparva contains powerful evidence in support of my opinion. By ascribing to the chief actors superhuman or subhuman origins, the great Vyasa made short work of the history of kings and their peoples. The persons therein described may be historical, but the author of the Mahabharata has used them merely to drive home his religious theme. The author of the Mahabharata has not established the necessity of physical warfare; on the contrary he has proved its futility. He has made the victors shed tears of sorrow and repentance, and has left them

nothing but a legacy of miseries. In this great work the Gita is the crown. Its second chapter, instead of teaching the rules of physical warfare, tells us how a perfected man is to be known. In the characteristics of the perfected man of the Gita I do not see any to correspond to physical warfare. Its whole design is inconsistent with the rules of conduct governing the relations between warring parties. Incarnation, an aftergrowth

Krishna of the Gita is perfection and right knowledge personified; but the picture is imaginary. That does not mean that Krishna, the adored of his people, never lived. But perfection is imagined. The idea of a perfect incarnation is an aftergrowth. In Hinduism, incarnation is ascribed to one who has performed some extraordinary service of mankind. All embodied life is in reality an incarnation of God, but it is not usual to consider every living being an incarnation. F u t u r e generations pay this homage to

Snapshots Gandhi’s life and his thoughts were deeply inspired by his reading of Gita He saw Gita as religious poem, answering some of the deeper mysteries of life Throughout his life, he religiously followed the values of truth, ahimsa and celibacy

one who, in his own generation, has been extraordinarily religious in his conduct. I can see nothing wrong in this procedure. It takes nothing from God’s greatness, and there is no violence done to Truth. Every action is tainted, be it ever so trivial. How can the body be made the temple of God? In other words how can one be free from action, i.e. from the taint of sin? The Gita has answered the question in decisive language: ‘By desireless action; by renouncing fruits action; by dedicating all activities to God, i.e. by surrendering oneself to Him body and soul.’ Learned men possess a knowledge of a kind. They may recite the Vedas from memory, yet they may be steeped in selfindulgence. In order that knowledge may not run riot, the author of the Gita


February 05, 2017

Anasakti Yoga Martyrs’ Day Special

has insisted on devotion accompanying it and has given it the first place. Knowledge without devotion will be like a misfire. Therefore, says the Gita, ‘Have devotion, and knowledge will follow.’ This devotion is not mere lip worship, it is a wrestling with death. Devotee Defined

Devotion of the Gita has the least to do with externals. A devotee may use, if he likes, rosaries, forehead marks, offerings, but these things are no test of his devotion. He is the devotee who is jealous of none, who is a fount of mercy, who is without egotism, who is self-less, who treats alike cold and heat, happiness and misery, who is ever forgiving, who is always contented, whose resolutions are firm, who has dedicated mind and soul to God, who causes no dread, who is not afraid of others, who is free from exultation, sorrow and fear, who is pure, who is versed in action and yet remains unaffected by it, who renounces all fruit, good or bad, who treats friend and foe alike, who is untouched by respect or disrespect, who is not puffed up by praise, who does not go under when people speak ill of him, who loves silence and solitude, who has a disciplined reason. Such devotion is inconsistent with the existence at the same time of strong attachments. We thus see, that to be a real devotee is to realize oneself. Self-realization is not something apart. One rupee can purchase for us poison or nectar, but knowledge or devotion cannot buy us either salvation or bondage. These are not media of exchange. They are themselves the things we want. In other words, if the means and the end are not identical, they are almost so. The extreme of means is salvation. Salvation of the Gita is perfect peace. But such knowledge and devotion, to be true, have to stand the test of renunciation of fruits of action. Mere knowledge of right and wrong will not make one fit for salvation. According to common notions, a mere learned man will pass as a pandit. He need not perform any service. He will regard it as bondage even to lift a little lota. Where one test of knowledge is non-liability for service, there is no room for such mundane work as the lifting of a lota. Bhakti with Action

Or take bhakti. The popular motion of bhakti is soft-heartedness, telling beads and the like, and disdaining to do even a loving service, lest the telling of beads, etc. might be interrupted. This bhakti, therefore, leaves the rosary only for eating, drinking and the like, never for grinding corn or nursing patients. But the Gita says: ‘No one has attained his goal without action. Even men like Janaka attained salvation

29

The magnificent photo gallert at Anasakti Ashram at Kausani showcasing photographs from Bapu’s life

through action. If even I were lazily to cease working, the world would perish. How much more necessary then for the people at large to engage in action?’ How is one to be free from the bondage of action, even though he may be acting? The manner in which the Gita has solved the problem is, to my knowledge, unique. The Gita says: ‘Do your allotted work but renounce its fruit – be detached and work – have no desire for reward and work.’ This is the unmistakable teaching of the Gita. He who gives up action falls. He who gives up only the reward rises. But renunciation of fruit in no way means indifference to the result. In regard to every action one must know the result that is expected to follow, the means thereto, and capacity for it. He, who, being thus equipped, is without desire for the result, and is yet wholly engrossed in the due fulfillment of the task before him, is said to have renounced the fruits of his action.

He who is ever brooding over result often loses nerve in the performance of his duty

it will be found that at its back was the desire to attain the cherished end. But it may be freely admitted that the Gita was not written to establish ahimsa. It was an The Renunciation Renunciation means absence of accepted and primary duty even before hankering after fruit. As a matter of fact, the Gita age. The Gita had to deliver the he who renounces reaps a thousand-fold. message of renunciation of fruit. This is The renunciation of the Gita is the acid clearly brought out as early as the second test of faith. He who is ever brooding chapter. But if the Gita believed in ahimsa or over result often loses nerve in the it was included in desirelessness, why did performance of his duty. From the bitter experiences of desire the author take a warlike illustration? for fruit the author of the Gita discovered When the Gita was written, although the path of renunciation of fruit, and put people believed in ahimsa, wars were not it before the world in a most convincing only not taboo, but nobody observed the manner. The common belief is that contradiction between them and ahimsa. religion is always It is possible that, in opposed to material the age prior to that of do not regard the the Gita, offering of good. ‘One cannot act Mahabharata as an animals in sacrifice was religiously in mercantile and such But there is historical work in the permissible. not a trace of it in the other matters. There is sacrifice in the Gita no place for religion in accepted sense sense. In the Gita such pursuits; religion c o n t i n u o u s is only for attainment of salvation,’ we hear many worldly-wise concentration on God is the king of sacrifices. The third chapter seems to people say. According to the Gita, all acts that show that sacrifice chiefly means bodyare incapable of being performed labour for service. The third and the without attachment are taboo. This fourth chapters reads together will give golden rule saves mankind from many a us other meanings for sacrifice, but never pitfall. According this interpretation animal-sacrifice. Similarly has the murder, lying, dissoluteness and the like meaning of the word sanyas undergone, must be regarded as sinful and therefore in the Gita, a transformation. The sanyas of the Gita will not taboo. Man’s life then becomes simple, and from that simpleness springs peace. tolerate complete cessation of all activity. The sannyasa of the Gita is all work and yet no work. Thus the author of the Gita, Truth and Ahimsa Thinking along these lines, I have felt by extending meanings of words, has that in trying to enforce in one’s life the taught us to imitate him. Let it be central teaching of the Gita, one is bound granted, that according to the letter of to follow Truth and ahimsa. When there the Gita it is possible to say that warfare is no desire for fruit, there is no is consistent with renunciation of fruit. temptation for untruth or himsa. Take But after forty years’ unremitting any instance of untruth or violence, and endeavour fully to enforce the teaching

I

of the Gita in my own life, I have, in all humility, felt that perfect renunciation is impossible without perfect observance of ahimsa in every shape and form. Gita, the religious poem

The Gita is not an aphoristic work; it is a great religious poem. The deeper you dive into it, the richer the meanings you get. It being meant for the people at large, there is pleasing repetition. With every age the important words will carry new and expanding meanings. But its central teaching will never vary. The seeker is at liberty to extract from this treasure any meaning he likes so as to enable him to enforce in his life the central teaching. Nor is the Gita a collection of do’s and don’ts. What is lawful for one may be unlawful for another. What may be permissible at one time, or in one place, may not be so at another time, and in another place. Desire for fruit is the only universal prohibition. Desirelessness is obligatory. The Gita has sung the praises of Knowledge, but it is beyond the mere intellect; it is essentially addressed to the heart and capable of being understood by the heart. Therefore the Gita is not for those who have no faith. The author makes Krishna say: ‘Do not entrust this treasure to him who is without sacrifice, without devotion, without the desire for this teaching and who denies Me. On the other hand, those who will give this precious treasure to My devotees will, by the fact of this service, assuredly reach Me. And those who, being free from malice, will with faith absorb this teaching, shall, having attained freedom, live where people of true merit go after death.’


30

February 05, 2017

Martyrs’ Day Special

Photo Feature

Memories of Gandhi’s life has multiple hues and colors. His memories were brought to life in the book, Mahatma Gandhi’s Life in Colour. The book is the first photo biography of Bapu. We present to you some selected and rare photographs, illustrating Gandhi’s life w centre) during Gandhi ji (middle ro uth Africa, 1900 the Boer War in So

Seven year ol d Gandhi ji at

Young Gandh i

at London, 19

06

Porbandar

e in Durban, Rev JJ Doke’s hous Gandhi ji resting at in 1908 by Pathan Mir Alam after being assaulted

25

rmati Ashram, 19

Gandhi ji at Saba

Gandhi

arm, olstoy F T f o s r e settle

ji with th

1910 1930 Gandhi ji with his followers, March,

Gandhi ji during protest against Immigration Act, 1913

Gandhi ji on ship during his voyage to England, 19 31. Left: Mir abehn

Bapu delivering a speech in Ahmedabad, March 1930

Mahatm

aG

Hall, ingsley K t a i andh

1931


February 05, 2017

Photo Feature Martyrs’ Day Special

the Mahatma Mahatma Gandhi in

Mahatma Gandhi in

31

land

Lausanne , Switzer

d, 1931

Vallorbe, Switzerlan

Gandhi ji add ressing publi c at Azad Maidan , Bombay in 19 31

Gandhi ji with his associates

dra Prasad Gandhi ji with Rajen Allahabad at Swaraj Bhavan,

in Delhi

affar Khan th Khan Abdul Gh wi ng alo ji hi nd rs Ga uslim League leade in a meeting with M

Gandhi ji care ssing a calf at Satyagraha A shram, Sevag ram

during

tier Gandhi Gandhi ji with Fron r peace march in Biha

li

Gandhi ji at Noakha

Gandhi

hu, 1924

ting at Ju ji recupera

Barrister Gan dhi sitting in front of his office at Johan nesburg, 1905

Mahatma Gandhi at an outdoor party, 1924


32

Martyrs’ Day Special

February 05, 2017

Anecdotes of Mahatma

Some incidents from Gandhi’s life have become a part of the folklore. There are many more, hidden from the public conscience, which shed light on the thoughts and lifestyle of Mahatma. Sulabh Swachh Bharat team brings some of these interesting anecdotes for our readers

Cycling all the way Once Gandhi was invited to deliver a speech. The gentlemen who invited him promised to pick him up at 3:30 pm sharp. True to his habit, Gandhi was ready before time. But nobody turned up to meet him. Gandhi came out of the ashram,took the ashram cycle, swiftly reached the place and began his speech at 4 o’clock. The person who had invited him reached ashram later in his car. He couldn’t find him and returned back. On reaching there he found Gandhi ji was delivering his speech. At the end of the speech, the gentleman apologised with great embarrassment. Gandhi ji said, “My brother, you were not conscious of the time, but I was.” Such was Gandhi’s adherence to punctuality.

Time is precious, death is not Once Mahatma was travelling in the toy train to Darjeeling. When the train was moving uphill, the engine got disconnected from the coaches. The engine went ahead and the coaches started sliding backward. While there was panic all around, Mahatma Gandhi was dictating letters. When he was asked to run, he said calmly, “Suppose we get saved, we would have wasted all this time. If we die, we die. But if we are saved, we would have wasted so much time. So, come on, take dictation.”

Penny for the progress Mahatma Gandhi came to Dehradun for a meeting which was held to collect money for the Harijan Fund. This meeting was organised by women. They presented two thousand rupees in a pouch to Gandhiji. Someone donated jewellery, while some gave cash. It was quite noisy at the venue. In that noise, only one voice was heard clearly and that was Gandhi’s. Gandhi ji’s eyes turned to a woman who was holding only a one anna coin in her hands. She came towards him. Gandhi asked her, “Would you like to touch my feet?” When she nodded, Gandhi said that for this he will take another one anna. Amazed, the lady asked him if he took money to allow people to touch his feet. Gandhi answered, “Yes. All this money will go to Harijan Fund, and will be used for the development of the country.”

Religion means Duty Once Madan Mohan Malviya, Gandhi ji and others were discussing religion. Malviya ji asked Bapu what according to him is religion. Gandhi ji replied “In my opinion, religion means duty. A soldier’s religion is to protect his country, even it means losing his own life. A businessman’s religion is to supply essential commodities for consumers with complete honesty. A judge’s religion is to dispense justice for all with total impartiality. The administrator’s religion is to serve all with sincerity and the public’s religion is to place their complete trust in the administration.” The people present there were amazed to hear such views about religion by Mahatma Gandhi.

Kasturba’s goodbye Kasturba Gandhi was on her death bed. Mahatma Gandhi came out of the room, and said, ‘Today is the day of my trial. Today is the day to see how I can maintain my equanimity. How I can see everybody in the same way. Today is the day of my test.’ As he was saying these words, drops of tears were flowing down his eyes. With a heavy heart, Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘Today, I have to say good-bye to my companion of 40 years. She was my strength, she was my inspiration, and she was the one who took all my garbage, all my weaknesses and who swallowed it all and stood by my side. Now, today, I have to keep myself in equanimity. Today is the test of my spirituality.’

Dhoti’s story Before 1921, Gandhiji used to wear full European dress. During his Tamil Nadu tour in Madurai, he saw many poor people wearing single length dhoti as their full dress. After seeing the plight of poor Indians, he avoided rich or European dresses and used to wear single length dhoti. His simple attire and hand charka became his inseparable identity.

Joint Commissioner of Police (Licensing) Delhi No. F. 2 (S-45) Press/ 2016 Volume - 1, Issue - 7 Printed by Monika Jain, Published by Monika Jain on behalf of SULABH SANITATION MISSION FOUNDATION and Printed at The Indian Express Ltd., A-8, Sector-7, NOIDA (U.P.) and Published from RZ 83, Mahavir Enclave, Palam-Dabri Road, New Delhi – 110 045. Editor Monika Jain

Sulabh Swachh Bharat (Issue-7)  
Sulabh Swachh Bharat (Issue-7)  
Advertisement