Staff Reporter

He was “not against entrepreneurship but was against profiteering”

Corporates now talk about inclusive growth and social responsibility

Communication revolution help people adopt Gandhian philosophy

NEW DELHI: Eminent sociologist and Jawaharlal Nehru University Professor Emeritus Yogendra Singh on Tuesday said Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy was relevant not only today but also for future as he was never against technological advancement or entrepreneurship, something many seemed to believe.

Delivering the annual Gandhi Peace Foundation Memorial Lecture here, Prof. Singh said Gandhiji was never against advancement in technology but he was against any such technology which denigrated human beings. “He was not against entrepreneurship but was against profiteering,” he pointed out.

Prof. Singh argued that over a period of time an understanding has developed in the corporate world that mere profit motive would not help them in the long run. “They are now talking about inclusive growth and social responsibility. They are gradually beginning to understand that a population having more jobs and things like better health care is more likely to spend on their products,” he said.

According to Prof. Singh, who has authored a book, “The Traditions of Non-Violence in the East and the West”, one of the major factors that would help in more people adopting the Gandhian philosophy not only in India but also across the world was communications revolution; something Gandhi would have always welcomed.

“Even though an artificial difference is being created these days between faith and reason through various means of communications, more and more cultures and peoples are likely to come together and begin to understand each other better with the help of communication revolution. This augurs well for non-violence,” said Prof. Singh.

However, he warned that the same technologies were being used by the State to strengthen itself in the name of terrorism.

“The State can now keep a watch on every activity of anybody who they suspect to be a terrorist and, ironically, people seem to be inclined to surrender their freedom to the State hoping that they would be more secure,” he said, adding that Gandhi was never a votary for a repressive State. Rather, he always professed community-based democracy.

The founder and head of the Department of Sociology at JNU pointed out that Gandhi’s ideals would be relevant and required for the protection of environment, which has now become a major issue. “In 1964, when a study was done on how the principle of non-violence was looked upon internationally, there were only two aspects to be looked into – individual and social. But in 2007, the issue of environment protection has attracted several people towards Gandhi’s methods,” said Prof. Singh.

Speaking on the occasion, Gandhi Peace Foundation president Radha Bhatt said the country needed to stop and think where it was headed.

“Certain types of violence like terrorism are quite visible to us. But we are not able to see the violence that is inherent in problems like economic disparity, female foeticide, violence against women and aggressive social behaviour,” she said.