Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings all the more relevant today, says Director of the Centre for Policy Studies Prasanna Kumar

‘He should not be seen as a person belonging to any particular faith as he had always believed in the equality and harmony of all religions’

October 02, 2022 05:20 pm | Updated 05:20 pm IST - VISAKHAPATNAM

The teachings of Mahatma Gandhi are all the more relevant today. He should not be seen as a person belonging to any particular faith as he had always believed in the equality and harmony of all religions, said the Director of the Centre for Policy Studies A. Prasanna Kumar.

He was speaking at a seminar on ‘Gandhi for our times’, organised jointly by the Centre for Policy Studies(CPS) and Visakhapatnam Public Library, on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanthi, at the Public Library here on Sunday.

Prof. Prasanna Kumar underlined the importance of reviving communal harmony in the country in view of the threats from various quarters. Calling for the inculcation of values in children at home, he said it was unfortunate that the present day children were seeing ‘Gandhi jayanthi’ as a mere public holiday. Gandhi was hated by Muslims as he preached ‘Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram…’ and by the Hindus as he was trying to appease the Muslims all the time, in a bid to forge unity among the two communities, he said.

When Hindu-Muslim tensions were at their peak during the second half of the 19th Century, Gandhiji took up the challenge. Prof. Prasanna Kumar explained that when the Congress began to grow in 1885, Gandhi was only about 16 years of age. The first Congress meeting held in Bombay (now Mumbai) was presided by a Hindu, the second by a Parsi, the third by a Muslim and the fourth by an Englishman.

The CPS Director said that the Congress was created to bring different communities together. The Mahatma in his heart of hearts was 100% religious-minded and he wrote: ‘The efficacy of Rama Nama’. Prof. Prasanna Kumar said: “Mahatma Gandhi would have been very happy, if he is alive today to see Draupadi Murmu, a tribal woman, as the President of India. His goal was to make a Harijan, the President.”

On the partition of India and the riots that followed in 1947, Prof. Prasanna Kumar said, “Politics is always dirty and politicians are always after power. Gandhi had launched a fast, to oppose the partition of India. In Politics, the unpredictable becomes predictable as had happened in the case of partition.”

‘Multifaceted personality’

Writer D.V. Surya Rao described Gandhiji as a multifaceted personality, who was a personification of all the good qualities unlike most other great men, whose work was limited to one or two areas. He had immense faith, respect and love for all Indian languages, culture and values but he had respect for all religions.

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