The world has never stoppped looking at the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi in its search for solutions to problems. In a round table at Bharathiya Vidya Bhavan Senior Secondary School, Manvila, Thiruvananthapuram, students share their thoughts on the Mahatma’s 150th jayanti
The 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi is here. The Mahatma, credited with leading India's freedom struggle against a mighty empire, continues to inspire generations with his steely resolve, unflinching commitment to what he preached and above all the philosophy of non-violence as an antidote to violence.
A few students of Bharathiya Vidya Bhavan Senior Secondary School, Manvila, Thiruvanantha puram, sat together and zoomed in on the man who mesmerised the world with his spartan lifestyle and command over the diverse sections of people of India at a time when information technology was yet to be born. The students from Classes 10, 11 and 12 have no doubt about the relevance of Gandhian thought but were mostly of the opinion that 'Gandhi Jayanti' is observed today more as a ritual than as an occasion to do anything meaningful with a commitment to achieve a set of goals. Excerpts from the discussion.
Haifa Zakeer of Class XII: There is a lack of value education in schools and colleges. The values Gandhiji nurtured must be taught from the kindergarten itself. Even in this age truth and non-violence can be an effective instrument of social change.
Anantakrishnan of Class XII: Gandhism is mostly restricted to ideals and principles and is not followed in duties and responsibilities. Gandhiji's view on industrialisation is true in the sense that it has resulted in the lower brain capacity but then the evolution of computer is a boon.
Sayan Samkutty of Class XII: More emphasis must be given to practical learning or rather vocational education which is envisaged by Gandhiji. He had left behind many valuable lessons for modern man to fight through ahimsa.
Arundathi of Class XII: Gandhiji's popularity is relevant in the acts of world leaders like Dalai Lama, Barack Obama and Aung San Suu Kyi. To all of them Gandhiji brought in great inspiration which removed fear from their minds.
Swathi S. Anil of Class XI: India projects Gandhiji more as a political figure; his noble deeds are not being emphasised.
Sreelakshmi Anil of Class XI: Swachch Bharat which is on the lines of the cause that Gandhiji espoused for cleanliness be made into a mass movement and should come from within each and every individual.
Vinayak R. Vijay of Class X: Gandhiji would have been a headache to the leaders of different parties, if we closely watch the progress of our nation in the years after Independence
Ajin R of Class XII: The principle of tolerance that Gandhiji espoused is all the more relevant today. Peaceful discussions between nations can resolve many a conflict. Mahatma Gandhi remains a relevant thinker today not only because of his theory and practice of non-violence, but also because of the way he defended all his life, political tolerance and religious pluralism.
Ananthapadmanabhan of Class X: Gandhiji is a true prophet who bridged the barriers that had risen in the 19th century when we were struggling hard to get freedom from the British.
Gauri S. Menon of Class X: Gandhiji spread positive energy and he proved that positive emotions and feelings can eradicate negative thoughts from one's mind. Gandhism must be practiced than merely followed. True leadership qualities such as honesty and integrity are what our country lacks.
Vinayak R. Vijay: Today stress should be laid on holistic development of a child. The world is after materialistic pleasures, thus giving less importance to spiritualism which Gandhiji espoused.
Deepa Venugopal of the department of English, moderator of the show, summarised what the students had to say:
"Mahatma Gandhi represents a figure of unique integrity, consistency and humanity. He remains a relevant thinker today not only because of his theory and practice of non-violence, but also because of the way he defended political tolerance and religious pluralism all his life."...