Relives Gandhian Era by spinning Charkha, urges youth to tread the Mahatma’s path
Jalgaon, 25th March 2012: Gandhiji was not merely a personality but a powerful ideological force which derived its inherent strength from Truth, Non-violence and other profound virtues – the Hon’ble President Smt. Pratibha Patil opined today after dedicating Gandhi Teerth to Humanity. She exhorted the youth to tread Ganghiji’s path and take India to greater heights of progress and modernity. The President, who hails from Jalgaon, was particularly happy that such a Gandhian research and study centre of international status had taken roots in her birth place, and expressed confidence that the initiative will put Jalgaon on the world map. Hon’ble Governor of Maharashtra, Dr. K. Shankarnarayanan, prominent educationist Shri Devisingh Shekhawat, Chairman of Gandhi Teerth Justice Chandrashekhar Dharmadhikari, its Founder and prominent industrialist Dr. Bhavarlal Jain, and its Trustee Shri D.R. Mehta were present on this occasion.
During her visit, the President unveiled a majestic Gandhi statue and toured a unique thematic interactive museum named ‘Khoj Gandhi ki’ housed in the complex. She also spun charkha in the eminent company of distinguished Gandhians. Thereafter, the President addressed a mammoth gathering and delivered an inspiring speech. The great grandson of Gandhiji, Tushar Gandhi, the pioneer of Sarvoodaya activity in Srilanka, Dr. A. T. Ariyaratne, who is also known as Gandhi of Srilanka, and renowned senior Gandhians H. S. Doraiswamy and Narayanrao Zavre also shared the dais. The venue was packed to capacity with enthusiastic spectators who had come to attend the momentous event from many parts of the country. It included a diverse cross-section of audience, such as devoted senior Gandhians, scholars and researchers, academicians, politicians, civic authorities, and many others.
The President lauded the contribution of youth in India’s progress, but also cautioned that moral character, nationalism and integrity were as important as career and material advancement. Hence, the President gave paramount importance to percolating Gandhiji’s ideals in the young mindsets of the country. She also opined that Gandhiji always considered women power as a very potent force, and had proactively engaged women in India’s independence movement. She recalled that countless women, even young mothers carrying infants on their waists, had made supreme sacrifices to earn India its freedom. Today, if men and women of this country adhere to Gandhiji’s advocacy and work shoulder-to-shoulder, their combined efforts can take India a long way on the path of progress and modernity, the President opined. She used a wonderful analogy of the twin-wheels of a chariot carrying it long distances, to illustrate the combined potential of young Indian men and women which can take the country a long way on the path of progress.
The President said that India was a predominantly agrarian society, and if the country was to achieve lasting and equitable progress, its villages, its farmers and its agricultural and related activities will have to be integrated into the country’s composite framework of development. She reminded the spectators of Gandhiji’s profound insight that India resides in its villages, and if India is to achieve true, participative progress, its villages will have to progress along with its cities. The President also sought to include Gandhiji’s concept of Sarvodaya or all-round, equitable and inclusive welfare in this model of development. In an emotional tone, the President said that Gandhiji’s aim was to wipe the tears from every Indian’s eyes. If this was to come true, policies and programmes will have to incorporate the uplift of hapless, exploited and marginalized masses of Indian humanity.
The President noted that the Gandhian era cannot be recreated merely in thought, but it should happen in action, if its lasting outcomes are to benefit the country. Towards this end, she said that Gandhi Teerth is poised to play a pivotal role, especially as far as transforming the young mindsets was concerned.
Speaking on the occasion, Tushar Gandhi, the great grandson of Gandhiji, expressed confidence that Gandhi Teerth will acquire a global stature in the coming years, and the present and future generations will be the major beneficiaries of this initiative.
Justice Dharmadhikari, who Chairs Gandhi Research Foundation, said that Delhi is the political capital of the country, and Mumbai is its commercial capital. But with the establishment of Gandhi Teerth in Jalgaon, the city is bound to become the Gandhian capital of the country. He clearly recalled that years back, at the convocation ceremony of North Maharashtra University, he had expressed his inner wish of establishing a global Gandhian institution in Khandseh region. Dr. Bhavarlalji Jain, who was present on the occasion, had spontaneously responded to his call and pledged that he will leave no stone unturned to commission this ambitious project. Justice Dharmadhikari noted with gratitude that his dream had now materialized in the form of Gandhi Teerth. Referring to the President’s spinning of Charkha at Gandhi Teerth, Justice Dharmadhikari pointed out that the President wore Khadi throughout her life, thus giving Khadi a privileged status of national fabric.
In his speech, Dr. Bhavarlal jain reminisced that when he had contacted the President with a request to inaugurate Gandhi Teerth, she had instantly accepted the invitation, saying that this would be the most momentous occasion of her life. He said that his dream of establishing a Gandhian institute of international repute had materialized at an advanced age of 75. However, he pledged to transform the institute into a dynamic centre where ambitious initiatives for propagation of Gandhian Ideology will be implemented almost on daily basis. Dr. Jain heartily acknowledged the presence of over 250 senior distinguished Gandhians from all over the world on this occasion. In particular, he expressed his gratitude towards Dr. A. T. Ariaratne, a pioneer of sarvodaya activity in Srilanka, for attending the function at short notice. Similarly, he also thanked Shri H. S .Doraiswamy and Narayanrao Zavre for gracing the occasion in person.