Gandhi Jayanthi celebrations this time round in the city is expected to be more spirited than the earlier years.
While the celebrations so far have been restricted to the campuses of social organisations and Gandhian Study Centres of some education institutions, this year promises to be different. There are events that have been planned with the participation of students and the public.
The major among them are, the unveiling of a statue of Mahatma Gandhi on the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (BVB) school premises at Ajjanur, near Vadavalli. The unveiling, by Minoti Aram, president of Shanti Ashram, in the presence of B.K. Krishnaraj Vanavarayar, chairman of the bhavan, Coimbatore Kendra, will be witnessed by more than a 1,000 college and school students. It will be followed by singing of bhajans and other patriotic programmes prepared by the students, according to Kezevino Aram, director of Shanti Ashram. The ashram was planning workshops on transformational leadership, parenting workshop of rural families, session on developing leadership among young leaders, and others, involving nearly 3,000 children, youth, and women.
Another first of its kind for Coimbatore, ‘The Joy of Giving Week’ will take off on Tuesday to mark Gandhi Jayanthi. ‘Aram Seyya Virumbu,’ will showcase works of service organisations at Ramakrishna Kalyana Mandapam on Tuesday, and Wednesday. It is organised by the Rotary Coimbatore Central.
While the people can use the opportunity for two days, college students are given an even more significant role. Students from more than 20 colleges are collecting old books to be handed over to rural libraries. They are putting up stalls to give the proceeds of the sale to charity. Also, those with college bands will put up shows for the visitors.
The Gandhian Study Centres of Avinashilingam University for Women, Kumaraguru College of Technology (KCT), and PSGR Krishnammal College for Women, organise events for its students, mostly within the campus or in the areas adopted by NSS units. But here too this year, varied events have been planned.
K. Thangamani, coordinator of the centre in Avinashilingam University, said teachers and non-teaching staff would be involved in the day-long activities, which would include various competitions, cleaning campaigns, tableau, and display of artistic talent.
N. Markandan, coordinator of the centre at KCT, said Gandhi Jayanthi related events would be held for over a week.
While some portion of the students of the Gandhian Youth Movement would participate in the Mahatma Gandhi statue unveiling and ‘The Joy of Giving Week,’ a group would visit Idigarai village to create awareness among the villagers about social and domestic evils.
“On other days there are other programmes planned for school children, receiving certificates for eye donation by students,” he said.
The faculty agrees that there was more enthusiasm among students this year. With much negativity in the campuses with recurrent suicides, “there was a strong belief that learning about the Gandhi and his life would by itself instil values in the students. Counselling in colleges has become more oriented towards value education and the life and teaching of great men.” Such social and welfare activities, they believed, would serve as constructive diversions to keep their mind focused and not be led astray by negative thoughts.