'Young people in world taking up Gandhian principles to fight tyranny'

Fakir Hassen
·3-min read

Johannesburg, Jan 31 (PTI) The young people in the world are increasingly taking up the Gandhian principle to combat tyranny in a non-violent way as they oppose oppressive power across the globe, according to the Director of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.

Dinesh Patnaik was speaking during a webinar commemorating Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary on Saturday.

Ela Gandhi, a granddaughter of Gandhi, who is continuing the work at the Phoenix Settlement which was started by Gandhi during his tenure in the city at the turn of the 20th century, said the theme of the webinar, organised by the Gandhi Development Trust (GDT) in Durban, was ‘The power of love can transform, but hate destroys all.’ “I was delighted to see how the young people are enthused by Mahatma Gandhi and his values,” said Patnaik.

“There are a lot of young people now interested in politics. Young people are now following politics much more strongly. They realise they have a voice which they were not using up till now.

“So, Gandhi becomes an inspiration because what he brought to politics was very important – the notion that you can combat tyranny in a very non-violent way,” Patnaik said.

Ela said: “During the present time when we are all suffering from the effects of the (COVID-19) pandemic and also the resultant impatience, intolerance and violence, we need Gandhiji’s wisdom even more than ever before”.

“Observance of this day must remind us of the havoc that intolerance and violence cause and reinforce our commitment to peace, nonviolence and love.

“The fact that Gandhiji’s ashes were immersed in the waters of South Africa and Kwa Zulu Natal in particular brings his spirit close to us and should inspire us to follow his example of nonviolence,” she said.

The winners of an annual essay competition for schools by the GDT were also announced, with the winning essays in two categories being read out in English and isiZulu language categories.

Citing Gandhi’s comments on the nuclear bomb dropped by America on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan during the World War-II, keynote speaker from New Zealand Alayn Ware, Director of the World Future Council Peace and Disarmament Programme advocated using the Gandhian principle of dialogue with the adversary to address the issue of nuclear disarmament.

From India, Nilay Band highlighted that the multinational World Peace and Friendship Mission, which would have started at Gandhi’s ashram in India and ended in South Africa in September 2020 after going through a number of countries to uphold the principles of Gandhi, would now begin later in 2021 if the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

Nilüfer Koç of Syria asked Ela to come and give a lecture on Gandhi's philosophy at Rojava University in North and East Syria.

“Implementation of the philosophy of peace is a topic that the Kurds are also dealing with,” said Koç.

Another webcast earlier in the day saw a live universal prayer by Shree Jaydevbhai Shukla, Spiritual Head of Shree Lakshmi Narayan Mandir, replacing the traditional function held at Tolstoy Farm, the second commune started by Gandhi near Johannesburg.

“Due to the (COVID-19) lockdown regulations and for the safety of our devotees, it was decided that it would not be possible to have a commemorative prayer at Tolstoy Farm, as was done for many years in the past,” explained Javie Ravjee of the Mahatma Gandhi Remembrance Organisation. PTI FH CPS