National Convention on Taking up two Most Vital tasks put Across By Mahatma Gandhi During his last days
It is nearly 65 years since Mahatma Gandhi was taken away for ever from our midst. But what was taken away was only his mortal physical body, while the ideology he propagated, the causes he stood and worked for, the values he held and the numerous tasks that he had taken up and left behind are all of eternal value and of eternal need for the good of humankind.
The tradition of propagating his ideology of Sarvodaya and non-violence and taking up or continuing Gandhian activities has certainly been kept alive by the Sarva Seva Sangh in the name of Sarvodaya Samaj formed by his disciples; by Gandhi Ashrams in Ahmadabad and Sevagram and by various centres of Gandhi Smarak Nidhi, Kasturba Smarak Nidhi and Gandhi Peace Foundation and by several Gandhian activists and organizations all over the country. Sarvodaya Sammelans are being held every year. Besides, there have also been many an important event, movement or activity that have since taken pla e in the country. The notable among them are the following.
1. Khadi and Village Industries have recorded very good and extensive progress, thanks to active interest on the part of various institutions all over the country and thanks also to bountiful government support and aid. There has however not been much progress in respect of the other items of Gandhiji's Constitutive Programme while they are all as relevant and necessary to-day as they were in his time.
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2. The Bhoodan movement started by Gandhiji's closest disciple, Acharya Vinobaji in 1951 succeeded in collecting lakhs of acres of land for distribution among landless tillers and prepared the ground and paved the way for land reforms.
3. During the early seventies of the last century, the decoit - infested Charnbal Valley in Madhya Pradesh and its adjoining areas witnessed an incredible sight of scores of decoits laying down their arms and surrendering to the lawenforcing authorities, thanks to the unrelenting efforts of another great disciple of Gandhiji, Jayaprakash Narayanji - indeed a triumph of non-violence.
4. In 1977 the janata andolan started by the same Jayaprakash Narayanji all over the country against the declaration of emergency by the then Prime Minister Indiraji was spectacularly so effective that its impact ultimately brought about her fall from power in the election to the Lok Sabha that followed.
5. The youth training programme taken up extensively by another well known Gandian activist, S.N. Subha raoji as his life's mission, through his national youth project, has by now trained lakhs of youths of both sexes in Gandian ideology and values in all states in the country, and these youths are an excellent material for building the edifice of sarvodaya and to keep up the tradition of Gandian activities.
6. Two well-organized national agitations under the banner 'JANADESH - 2007' and 'JANA SATYAGRAHA - 2012', demanding rights to land and livelihood for landless farmers, tribals and other poor and deprived people, organized and led by another dynamic Gandhian activist, P.V. Rajagopalji, President Ekta Parishad, have finally extracted a commitment from the UPA Government that all necessary steps will be taken within 6 months for taking up and completing land reforms and related matters. These movements have indeed the potential to arouse common people's enormous power for forcing the powers-that-be to take all steps to eradicate poverty and ensure the well-being of the common people in the country.
7. A concerted movement is presently being organized by Swami Sachidananda Bharati, the founder and mentor of Dharma Bharati Foundation to agitate non-violently for hunger-free, caste-free, corruption-free India in the form of what he calls, 'The Second Freedom Struggle'.
8. Thanks to Anna Hazareji, the country witnessed two years ago a movement launched for eradication of the national evil of corruption which has brought about a nation-wide awakening, particularly among the youths, to the urgent need to eradicate this evil which is also a Gandhian cause.
9. Further, the governments at the centre and in the various states have also taken up programmes for removing poverty, for ensuring the well-being of the people and for overall national development all of which were dear to Gandhiji.
Is all this enough? What next?
Whether all this is enough for people's well-being or not is amply demonstrated by the report of the Central Government's National Sample Survey conducted 3 months ago according to which the people living below the poverty line is a staggering 65 per cent of our population, and this, 65 years after we gained our freedom to shape and work for our destiny!
The question, 'What next' has been answered by Mahatma Gandhi himself during the three days before his sad end is my message". It was originally mentioned in Bengali language, but it has been frequently quoted and rightly so, because Gandhian thought cannot be understood clearly unless one tries to understand his entire life. Once again, we reminded of Gandhi's phrase about the story of life when he gave the caption to his autobiography as, "The Story of My Experiment 'With Truth".
As one tries to understand Gandhiji, the central theme of all that he attempted in his life was to reconstruct the society on spiritual foundation. Life has to value-based and he from his own search for truth and action in different forms and different fields came upon the universal values of life. Prof. Gangrade in this article has chosen different incidents of Gandhiji's life which emphasize the essential values which should govern the life of an individual and society. Prof. Gangrade has also pointed out the impact of Gandhiji's life and Gandhian thought that is noticed in different parts of the world, particularly on leading personalities of the world. This description not only informs, but provokes thinking on the part of present day generation of our country.
A highly commendable writing. We strongly urge our readers to read it with due attention and respect.