Gandhism wrapped in educational degrees

Gandhism wrapped in educational degrees

Gandhism wrapped in educational degrees

At a time when conflicts and violence have become a part of life, the non-violence ideology of Mahatma Gandhi seems to have taken a backseat. Paradoxically, the same ideology hold the key in resolving even the most complex issues.

Realising this, courses and programmes in Gandhism are being run by universities with an aim to spread the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi. Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) recently launched a full-fledged master programme in Gandhism and peace studies.

Some under-graduate courses of Delhi University also have a component on Gandhism. Gandhi Bhawan of DU conducts short-term courses and workshops to spread the message that even in modern era, Gandhism can be adopted in daily life. But the question is can courses like these really inculcate values of Mahatma Gandhi or it will become yet another educational degree to fetch jobs?

Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee, the Mahatma’s grand-daughter, says lets hope that they do inculcate his values because that is the need of the hour. “Educational courses on Gandhism is like having courses on friendship, love and human relationships.
After studying these courses, the students will realise that the ideology and values of Mahatma Gandhi are not very different from what their mothers and teachers taught them. Let’s hope that these courses do help.

D Gopal, Programmes Director, Gandhian Studies, IGNOU says along with infusing the values of Gandhiji among youth these courses aim to serve a larger purpose - ie. resolving conflicts through indigenous ideology. “Curriculum of political science and international relations educational programmes is based on Western experiences. But when we teach Gandhism, the curriculum is in India’s context. Our issues cannot be resolved by outside ideology. We do not aim to teach Gandhism from a spiritual point of view but from a practical point of view,” he says.

At Gandhi Bhawan in the North Campus, the focus is more on spreading the philosophy of the Mahatma through activities that are again practical not academic. “While after doing full-fledged courses students can opt for a career in the related field, the workshops and short-term programmes at Gandhi Bhawan aim to remind the youngsters about Gandhiji’s philosophy that they can adopt in their daily lives,” says Anshum Gupta, Director, Gandhi Bhawan at Delhi University.

“Gandhiji believed in community service, so we conduct programmes for the underprivileged where volunteers contribute. It’s like re-interpreting Gandhiji’s ideology in today’s modern era. We also have charkha spinning training sessions which is symbolic to retain the connect to the father of the nation,” says Anshum.

Indian Council for Gandhian Studies Director N Vasudevan says unless it is told, how will youngsters come to know about the man who led the country to freedom. “Whether they get jobs after pursuing studies in Gandhiism is another question but these courses will definitely leave the footprints of the great man in the minds of the students,” he expresses.

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