How many of you have heard of the Gandhi Peace Foundation (GPF). Well, I hadn't until my brother read about it in the Young World . A non-profit organisation headed by Dr.Kulandaisamy, the objective of this Chennai based foundation is to spread Gandhian values among the youth and to encourage them to undertake ‘micro actions for peace'.
Curious to know more and how Gandhian principles are of relevance to us today, I joined them for their Martyrs' day programmes. Well, what I found was that it is of more relevance to us today than probably back in the 1940s. Gandhiji's message was never restricted to ahimsa and satyagraha. It always included the ultimate aim of self-improvement and hence development together as a nation. It is in today's world of no value for values that each one of us as individuals must inculcate these values to contribute to a better society as a whole.
But I am not here to talk about the message (Probably you all know better ) because the message apart, What struck me most was the means and medium used to spread it.
Post-independence there existed significant difference in views between Gandhiji and Nehruji. While Gandhiji believed that India lived in its villages and there it must look to its development, Nehru preferred growth through science and industrialisation. What probably history has taught us is that we ought to tread the middle path combining the two. A classic example of how technology is used to help farmers is the ITC e-Choupal. Today four million farmers use e-Choupal to advantage – bargaining as virtual buyers' co-operatives, adopting best practices, matching up to food safety norms. Being linked to futures markets is helping small farmers to better manage risk. You may ask me as to how this initiative is related to peace, but any activity that brings prosperity and stability always brings about peace.
When the likes of WWF, UNICEF and all the Climate change campaigns have used and are using technology and especially the internet to widen their reach as well as to contribute significantly to their respective causes, why is it that we have failed to do so? This probably stems from the fact that the veterans who spread the message feel that the best way to bring about change is direct personal communication to speak looking at the eye and this is exactly why NSS Volunteers of Stella Maris college in association with GPF go about spreading the message at schools and colleges conducting classes and workshops. Their efforts are commendable no doubt, but the point I intend to stress is that this may not be enough today. We need to move from effectiveness to efficiency by utilising the various untapped resources at our disposal.
This is our day and it is near time the baton is passed on. We need to take it up and share this responsibility under their guidance and this is precisely what our elders expect of us. We don't need to wear khadi clothes or spin the 'charkha' or even sing ‘Ragupathi raghava rajaram', but yes we can use Facebook and Orkut, Youtube and Twitter to our advantage to spread the simplest of messages, be it a commitment to stop drinking colas or even to stop littering. Why don't we start blogging, posting, commenting, and spreading the message and start running awareness campaigns with a click of the mouse?
To put it in Gandhiji's words, “What each of us do may not be significant but it is significant that we do it.”
Neeraj Senguttuvan , B.Tech, III year, Dept of ECE, SRM University.