Remembering Shanti Sena

Founder of Bhoodhan Movement Vinoba Bhave once declared that his aim is to bring about a three-fold revolution — to change people’s hearts; to create a change in their lives; and to change the social structure.

 “My mission is not to stave off revolution. I want to prevent a violent revolution and instead bring about a non-violent revolution. The future peace and prosperity of the country depends upon the peaceful solution of the land problem.” With this aim of peace and prosperity, he had created a history on August 29, 1957, at Manjeshwar in Kasargod district by administering Shanti Sena Pledge to 8 senior Sarvodaya workers including Kelappanji.

To create awareness on Shanti Sena Founding Day and to revive Shanti Sena in the country, Indian Council of Gandhin Studies, New Delhi, Kerala Gandhi Smarak Nidhi and Shanti Sena Training and Research Centre, Thiruvananthapuram organised a programme at Srimadh Anantheshwara temple in Manjeshwar on August 29.

Speaking to City Herald, Indian Council of Gandhian Studies Chairman Dr N Radhakrishnan said that everyone seems to have forgotten Shanti Sena. “There is a need to revive Shanti Sena in an era when the violence is spreading.

The programme at Manjeshwar was part of the month-long Shanti Sena training and research programmes highlighting the importance of dialogue for conflict resolution. The programme began on August 1 to commemorate the Shanti Sena Day across the country. The concluding programme was held at Manjeshwar.”

“The people of the region have forgotten that such a historic event had taken place in their neighbourhood,” he quipped.

The day-long youth meet discussed on the ways and means to train youth in non-violence conflict management under the aegis of Shanti Sena.  As part of the programme, about nine senior peace activists were honoured. They included B Namdev Shenoy, V P Divakaran Nambiar, Hemalatha Rao, Prof V A P Naik, K M Ahammed, Reshma G Ullal, Prof D C Chowta, Dr P C Balakrishnana, Dr Madan Mohan Naik.

B Namdev Shenoy is one of the surviving freedom fighters in Kasargod district and even at the age of 84, he is lively and actively goes to different schools and teaches students on the ideals of Gandhiji, Vinobha Bhave and sings patriotic songs. He is also the chairman of Vishwa Maithri Trust in Badiadka.

V P Divakaran Nambiar is Central Planning Commission Sub-Committee member (Agriculture). It was he who envisioned the concept of Rubber Village in Parappa of North Kerala.

He is a planter, and rural development enthusiast. Rubber Village is a holistic concept of optimising the resources of a farmer with respect to land, plantation, farms, cattle and fodder. Hemalatha Rao of Mangalore, has been working in the field of solar energy through Anand Electronics for the last few years. In fact, through SKDRDP, she was able to light the houses of those poor who had not seen electricity in their lives so far.

K M Ahammed was unable to attend the programme owing to his poor health. He is the Editor of Uttara Desham and was the part of Literacy movement in 1979. Prof V A P Naik has been working for the welfare of farmers in Minja village of Varkady gram panchayat limits for the last 20 years. He had left the lucrative job as a Chief Engineer of Kerala Agro Indsutries Corporation to venture into farming in 1991. He has started Krishi Vichara Raitha Seva Trust in 2008-09.

Reshma G Ullal is a journalist and was working with Veenadhari, who gave an identity to the Aids victims. As a chairperson of Sameeksha Trust, several books have been published. Prof D C Chowta is a journalist, farmers and a social worker who has been working for the cause of farmers in Meenja. Dr P C Balakrishnan was the professor of Kerala Agriculture University, Padnakad who has introduced several innovations in agriculture.

Dr Madan Mohan Naik is a doctor by profession. However, now he is into agriculture and is a Gandhian. He envisioned the concept of Sri Krishna Dhyana Mandira at Mudipu.
The programme also saw Malayalam version Parayana on Srimad Bhagavad Geetha ‘Pancha Janya’ by Dr O Raghutham, former Deputy Director of Health Sciences and a paper presentation on ‘Mahatmaji and Acharya Vinobha Bhave and Shanti Sena’ by T K Sudhakaran.

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