Guwahati: Gandhi Jayanti, birth anniversary of Lal Bahadur Shastri, Former Prime Minister of India and International Day of Non-Violence was celebrated at Royal Global University by offering floral tributes, singing devotional songs, screening documentaries/movies and a webinar on ‘Understanding Gandhi’ with Prof.Ganesh N Devy, eminent critic, thinker, educator, cultural activist best known for the People’s Linguistic Survey of India and the Adivasi Academy created by him. The webinar was attended by Prof. (Dr.) S.P.Singh, Vice Chancellor, eminent academicians, educators, faculty, staff, students which was moderated by Mr.Ayushman Devraj, Asst.Prof, RSL.
Prof.Singh, an erudite educator, impressed, influenced and involved with the National Service Scheme in his wee years, ardently believes in bringing in change to the institution, state and country through his humble teaching efforts. During the two-year long commemoration of the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, many activities were conducted at RGU. In the last 12 days, he was the speaker in the webinars from 21 September- International Peace Day to 2 October- International Day of Non-violence, where he, stalwarts and Gandhians like Dr.S.N Subbarao, Prof.N.Radhakrishnan, Dr.Shankar Kr. Sanyal, Mr.C.B.Joseph, etc spoke on peace to non-violence leaving a mesmerizing effect on people.
Gandhi’s book on ‘My Experiments with Truth’ had a telltale effect on him regarding peace & non-violence, sustainability, resources, etc. He quoted how Nature had enough for everyone’s needs but not greed. He strongly advocates minimalistic approach towards natural resources, food or even wasteful habits of excessive buying and hoarding. He further stated that Coronavirus is an outcome of greed and by preserving Nature, peace shall definitely prevail.
Prof.Devy, humility personified, started by stating that Gandhi was very easy to understand yet so difficult to understand; a paradox; maker of an era yet denies it; he brought us freedom with others laying down their lives but metaphorically, Gandhi led us into freedom; made us a democracy & a modern nation yet, quick to state that his turf was a village and not the Parliament. On the day India gained independence, he was not in Delhi but in Naokhali, now in Bangladesh.
He was truly a Mahatma; more than a political era; more than a social thinker, who had given to the search of the inner self intensely and honestly; a transparent search that it provided light for a country struggling to arrive at modernity and be independent and break the shackles of colonialism. His youth was influenced by Marx, modernity, skepticism, liked mocking the spirituality of Gandhi, his usage of cow and goat milk. He hypothetically quarreled with Marx, modernity and they quarreled with him but not Gandhi, for he was tolerant in his disagreement maybe because he was paradoxical which much later he realized, that his understanding of Gandhi was not total.
Prof Devy, relived encounters with beggars of South India who considered Gandhi to be absolutely truthful; Gandhi being famous against all odds of no propaganda or widespread TV; his greatness was spoken through ordinary people; Adivasi Academy created by the adivasis and for the adivasis on Gandhi’s ideals of trusteeship; Gandhi’s Gujarat Vidyapeeth University and religion discourses and his belief in the divine which is everywhere and, it is that everywhereness of the devine that makes all of us equals and we can truly possess all of this cosmos by not possessing it.
Gandhi believed ‘give it all up and then you will be able to possess it’. He easily gave up things he created and made ‘unto the last’ his mission in life. Gandhi was at ease with both theological and non-theological teachings. He had picked Pluto’s ideas to fight colonialism in the treatise called ‘Hind Swaraj’. While documenting 700 odd languages in People’s Linguistic Survey of India, he recalled how the members laid the book in the very spot where Gandhi was assassinated and the transient feeling all experienced. Gandhi, the Father of the Nation is the single man insurance for India against fascism.
He spoke on the return of his Sahitya academy award because the academy failed in expressing condolence to one of its murdered awardees. Both Hitler and Gandhi are contemporaries but while Hitler is spoken in denial and shame, Gandhi is respected even by his ideological enemies, for he worked for humanity and always stressed on conscience being more important than life. Gandhi believed that more than untruth, truth is important; more than conflict, collaboration is important; more than achievement, it is important to know where one has failed. Gandhi’s ultimate message is ‘ if you want to see change in the world, start with yourself’. The ultimate weapon of strength and power Gandhi gave us was that, one person is enough to change the world, if that person has the courage and conviction to be truthful, to be peaceful, to be prayerful, that will keep humanity going forever.