'India's future depends on survival of villages'

Dr Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, delivers a special lecture on 'Swaraj and Sarvodaya: A Re-loo' at University College in Mangaluru on Friday.

Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Rajmohan Gandhi said the biggest challenge before India is on restoring life in rural India and villages.

He was delivering a special lecture on ‘Swaraj and Sarvodaya: A Re-look’ organised jointly by the University College in association with Mangalore University here at Ravindra Kala Bhavana of the college on Friday.

Dr Gandhi, also a visiting professor of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Gandhinagar and Michigan State University, USA, said, “Farmers are in distress and there has been increase in unemployment in the country. There is a need to tackle the issues by bringing back life to villages. All the population in India can not live in cities alone. India’s future depends on the survival of villages.”

“Swaraj is not political independence alone. But Gandhi wanted every Indian to rule herself/himself, so that the work left for the government is limited,” he said.

He said, “Though Gandhi removed the fear in the minds of Indians, by saying no to British empire, he could not remove the hate towards the fellow humanbeing. The poison of hate and notion that we cannot live together with other community spread at a faster rate. The diversity of Mangaluru should be made solid and effective and spread it to the rest of the country, to ensure that the tragedy of India’s partition will not be repeated again.”

On the challenges faced in today’s world, he said youngsters should fight against themselves to check the spread of poison and hate among their fellow humanbeing. “We should become a listener rather than a wonderful talker. There is a need to establish goodwill among the fellow humanbeing,” he said.

Noting that Gandhi paved way to fight for Swaraj and Sarvodaya, he said the battle for Swaraj and Savodaya does not end with Gandhi, Ambedkar and Patel alone.

To a query from audience whether Mahatma Gandhi was disheartened towards the end of his life, Dr Gandhi said he was realistic and was a fighter throughout his life. Gandhi was expecting he would be attacked as there were many who had opposed his all-faith prayers. Being killed is not a sign of failure, but a sign of effectiveness,” he felt.

He said Gandhi does not propagate ban on cow slaughter as personal habits like smoking and drinking are not easy to change through government laws. Controlling humans through state policy is never easy. After seeing how cattle were treated badly, Gandhi had vowed not to consume cow’s milk. It was Kasturba Gandhi who had suggested him to drink goat’s milk for his health, he recalled.

On Kasturba Gandhi, he said with tears in eyes, “I had a close relationship with her. I saw her in prison before she died. Kasturba had saved Gandhi’s life. Her contribution needs to be recognised, honoured and understood”.

Though Ambedkar and Gandhi had differences, he said it was Gandhi who had insisted Nehru and Vallabhbhai Patel to induct Ambedkar to the cabinet, he said.

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'India's future depends on survival of villages'

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