HIGHLIGHTS OF THE OBSERVATIONS MADE BY THE STUDENTS
Holiday on Gandhi Jayanthi day
Quite a number of students shockingly pointed out that Mahatma Gandhi would have largely gone out of public memory due to the present happenings in the country, but for the holiday given on his birthday on 2nd October.
Humiliating Mahatma Gandhi
Students also said that Mahatma Gandhi is being humiliated year after year, by several corrupt and dishonest people holding positions of power and authority, who preside over meetings to pay tributes to Mahatma Gandhi on Gandhi Jayanthi day but indulge in un gandhian ways to stay on in power and amass personal wealth and benefit their family members.
Difficult to believe that Mahatma Gandhi lived in this country
The students participating in the essay competition have laboured hard to understand Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy by studying his writings and the commentaries about Mahatma Gandhi . Relating today’s happenings to Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy , the students said that it would be extremely difficult to imagine that a person like Mahatma Gandhi lived and worked in India at all. Many students quoted Einstein’s observations in this regard and said that Einstein has been proved right in today’s India.
Gandhian philosophy lost in India
The students who are in the age group of 17 to 25, who have only heard about Mahatma Gandhi find it extremely difficult to relate Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings to the present day happenings. The consensus opinion amongst the students appear to be that the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi has been lost in India, though it should not be lost.
Visible acts of defiance of Gandhian values
Many pointed out that the widespread liquor habit in the country today and its fast spreading amongst the youth and the extensive corruption in public life and government departments are the most visible acts of defiance of Gandhiji’s philosophy.
Basics of Gandhian philosophy relevant for all time to come
Several students highlighted the relevance of Gandhiji’s philosophy of non violence, truth , prohibition , down to earth economic policies, untouchability, women’s emancipation etc. While agreeing that Gandhian philosophy is no more being practiced in India in its true sense and value, most students are convinced about the basics of Gandhian philosophy and its relevance for all time to come ; but the students wonder as to whether the appropriate climate exists today, where Gandhian philosophy can be practiced.
Need to rediscover Gandhian ideas
What Gandhiji promoted and the causes that he espoused were so long back, there may be a need to re discover his ideas in the present day India.
This would particularly be so, since due to the globalization of the world, India is a different country today and the aspirations and ambitions of people have changed.
The youth of India are ready to take a new look at the historical past and perhaps glean new perspectives from it. As the time moves on, the new generation may not be willing to accept the past leaders at their face value and would strive to have a healthy debate, when the ideals of Gandhiji may have to be re discovered and reshaped, without giving up the basics.
May be, today’s spinning wheel in India should be software and biotechnology, that may provide the same economic and social results that Gandhiji wanted.
Who is responsible?
The students attempted to find out as to who should be held responsible for the present scenario. Quite a number of them pointed out that those who claim to be ardent followers of Mahatma Gandhi have not lived up to his expectations and standards and therefore have remained as poor role models for the youth of today.
One student pointed out that even in Mahatma Gandhi’s time, not every Indian participated in the freedom struggle and went to jail. Only a small percentage of population did. The student further said that the standards and culture of any society are always made and nurtured by a very small fraction of the population of the society. Today, those who strongly believe in Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy are a few in number but they are unwilling to make the necessary sacrifices and wage the struggle at the level of required intensity to ensure that Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy would stay in the country.
Gandhian followers have failed
The students said that those who claim to be advocates of Gandhian philosophy have failed by not working adequately to uphold Gandhian philosophy and value system and politicians and bureaucrats have added to the decay.
Who would stand by Gandhiji’s philosophy if even those who call themselves as followers of Gandhiji would not have the determination and desire to do so, asked the students.
What would Gandhiji have done if he were alive today?
Some students said that Gandhiji would have fasted to the end to protest against the present situation but none of the present day Gandhian followers are willing to do this.
Nandini Voice For The Deprived , a Chennai based N G O organized an All India essay competition for the college and school students in the context of the Gandhi Jayanthi day on 2nd October,2010.
The topic for the essay for the college students was ‘HAS MAHATMA GANDHI’S PHILOSOPHY BEEN LOST IN INDIA ?”
The topic for the essay for the school students was “WHAT I LEARNT FROM MAHATMA GANDHI’S LIFE ?
Quiz competition was also conducted for school students in Chennai on the life sketch of Mahatma Gandhi.
Around 1020 students from all over India participated in the essay competition .
Eleven college students and eleven school students have been declared as winners in the essay competition and 24 school students have won prizes in the quiz competition. Names of prize winning students are attached.
Highlights of the observations made by the students in their essays are provided for your study.
N S VENKATARAMAN