Bapu for today: Looking at this era through Mahatma Gandhi lens

AHMEDABAD: A two-day national convention titled ‘Gandhi Returns: Back to Basics’ started at Gujarat Vidyapith on January 31. The convention, having over 150 participants working on Gandhian principles in states such as Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Bihar and Tamil Nadu apart from Gujarat, discussed contemporary social issues from the point of view of Gandhian philosophy.

The participants also generated ideas for Gandhi 150 (celebration of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi to be observed in 2019) and 100 years of Gujarat Vidyapith (to be observed in 2020).

Speaking at the inaugural session, Vidyapith chancellor Elaben Bhatt said that change cannot be imported, it has to grow from within in the context of economic and social practices. She stressed on the ‘100 miles’ principle where a person’s basic needs – food, clothing and housing – should be within that distance for decentralized economy.

“Different disciplines such as economics see society in fractions – public and private sector, big, small and cottage industries and so on, but in reality it all is overlapping. It is natural when 90% of the workforce is in unorganized sector. There should be interdependence, but it should be on equal terms,” said Bhatt, while narrating the journey of SEWA.

Ajarn Sulak Shivaraksha, a Buddhist activist from Thailand, who was chief guest at the event, also focused on ‘localization against globalization.’ In his speech, he mentioned that the erstwhile agrarian society in Thailand had a song-like rhythm which has been disrupted today, primarily due to economic interests. He stressed on the need for ‘compassionate economy’ for peace and also referred to Gandhiji while saying that there should be head and heart connect.

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