WORKSHOP ON “RELEVANCE OF GANDHIJI AMONG YOUNGER GENERATION”
Release of the Marathi book “Positive Attitude for Good Health and Happiness” by Shri. Subba Rao. Also seen (from l to r): Smt. Jyotibai Patankar, Brahma Vidya Mandir, Pavnar, Wardha, Dr. Radhaben Bhat, President, Gandhi Peace Foundation, Delhi and founder, Lakshmi Ashram, Kausal, Uttarakhand, Shri. Subba Rao, President, National Youth Programme, Gandhi Peace Foundation, Delhi, Shri. Amarnathbhai, Sarvoseva Sangh, Benaras, Author of the book, Dr. Narayan Hegde and Marathi translator, Prof. Arvind Khire.
The Gram Rajya Trust at Uruli kanchan, near Pune in association with the Nisargopachar Gramsudhar Trust, popularly known as the Nature Cure Ashram, organized a workshop on “Relevance of Gandhiji among Younger Generation” from December 12 to 13, 2014 at the Nature Cure Ashram founded by Mahatma Gandhi at Uruli kanchan.
The objective was to evolve a methodology for promoting Gandhian values among youth and orienting them about the principles of Sarvodaya for holistic development.
The workshop was inaugurated by Gandhian practitioner Shri. Subba Rao, President, National Youth Programme, Gandhi Peace Foundation, New Delhi in the presence of Dr. Radhaben Bhat, President, Gandhi Peace Foundation, New Delhi and founder of Lakshmi Ashram, Kausal, Uttarakhand, Smt. Jyoti Patankar, Brahma Vidya Mandir, Pavnar, Wardha, veteran Gandhian, Shri. Rambhau Mhaske, Paramdham Prakashan, Pavnar, Shri. Amarnathbhai, Sarvoseva Sangh, Benaras, Shri. Jaywant Mathkar, President, Sevagram Ashram, Wardha, Dr. Narayan Hegde, Managing Trustee, Gram Rajya Trust and Nisargopachar Gramsudhar Trust, Urulikanchan, Dr. Ravindra V. Nisal, Director, Nisargopachar Ashram, Urulikanchan and other like-minded Gandhian thinkers from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Dr. Hegde in his welcome address, traced the association of Mahatma Gandhi with the Nisargopachar Ashram, chanting of Ramanama as advocated by Gandhiji as the most effective natural therapy for curing all ailments and the motivational book “Unto this Last” by John Ruskin which endorsed his convictions about the role of every person in building society, importance of working for the good of all while recognizing dignity of labour, apart from the Bhagavad Gita which was the basis of Gandhiji’s thoughts. Dr. Hegde further emphasized the need to ensure a balance between mental and physical health as propagated by the followers of Gandhiji and foremost Trustees of the Ashram, namely Shri. Balkoba Bhave, younger brother of Acharya Vinoba Bhave, Shri. Krishnachandra Agarwal and Dr. Manibhai Desai and the birth of BAIF in 1967 to bring poor farmers out of poverty and thereby keep alive the concept of Sarvodaya, the Gandhian approach to Rural Development. He further added that this approach could serve as the most critical link between the younger generation and veteran Gandhian practitioners.
Shri. Subba Rao, President, National Youth Programme, Gandhi Peace Foundation, New Delhi defined youth as “one who is confident and strong” and who apart from realising the inner strength of Gandhiji also need to know that they are part of a great revolution wherein peace, calmness and morality as stated in the Upanishads need to be revived. He quoted the sacrifice of martyrs such as Khudiram Bose and Bhagat Singh and the need to inspire youth with their heroic deeds and to reach the messages of Gandhiji to them for their development.
Smt. Radhaben Bhat, President, Gandhi Peace Foundation, New Delhi and founder of Lakshmi Ashram, Kausal, Uttarakhand,emphasized the need to express confidence in youth and to motivate them. Today, their journey is from village to urban areas and from urban areas to foreign countries, she lamented. She pointed out the need to promote khadi as a way of life rather than as a business and admitted the absence of the role of children in the Sarvodaya movement and further added that only if the village was saved could the country be saved. She also urged the youth to discuss and debate about life and to adopt the ashram way of living and need for spiritual orientation. It was necessary to make a centralized effort instead of working in isolation, she concluded.
“Gandhian thoughts are the only reality today”, stated Smt. Jyotibai Patankar, Brahma Vidya Mandir, Pavnar, Wardha, while lamenting that Gandhian ideals and service to poor are dying and hence the need for youth to realize Gandhian thoughts and for imbibing Gandhian principles in their lives. She felt that it was the duty of society to give directions to youth to lead a good life and also felt that a diploma course for better education and village development could be introduced and school could be a medium for spreading Gandhian values.
Shri. Kumar Saptarshi, Gandhi Foundation, Pune urged society not to fulfil their unachieved targets through children and to avoid making undue demands on children. Shri. Amarnathbhai, Sarvoseva Sangh, Benaras, highlighted the development taking place in society where the future was bleak due to the presence of jobless youth with an element of ruthlessness, directionless with no ideal in front of them and thought it essential to create an opportunity whereby Gandhian veterans can live and interact with youth who can imbibe values from them.
Shri. Jaywant Matkar, Sevagram Ashram, Wardha stated that schools and colleges could be effective medium for transferring Gandhian thoughts to school children while other Gandhian scholars and Sarvodaya leaders present at the seminar identified the burden of mental health as a matter of concern and the need for publicity and not propaganda for involvement of youth. Need to become young mentally in order to inspire the youth was identified as an important challenge apart from vibrant health, economic security and a sense of purpose in life. Orientation of organizations, high schools and colleges, part-time volunteers and conducting camps, instituting Gandhi Fellowships, documentation and identifying a suitable programme to involve youth were the other suggestions which emerged during the two-day seminar.
Shri. Raosaheb Shinde, Chairman, Ryat Shikshan Sanstha highlighted the need to spread the messages of Gandhiji among youth in a simple language.
An interactive session between Gandhian leaders, Sarvodaya workers and school children, held at the Mahatma Gandhi Vidyalaya at Urulikanchan enabled the children to receive basic orientation on Gandhian values.
On this occasion, the book “Positive Attitude for Good Health and Happiness” written by Dr. Narayan Hegde and translated in Marathi by Prof. Arvind Khire, former Principal, Mahatma Gandhi Vidyalaya, was released by Dr. Subba Rao.
The outcome of the seminar is being compiled into a publication and it is proposed to organize a meeting after a year to review the progress and plan on what every individual can do to involve youth in adopting Gandhian principles.