Gandhi – Epoch Making Social Thinker
A study of the lives of Buddha and Gandhi brings out several parallels between the two. The story of how Prince Siddhartha transformed into the Buddha marks the beginning of constructive social thinking. As the Upanishadic saying goes – “ Na Karmana Na Prajaya Dhanena Tyagenaike Amrutatvamanashuh”.
This is exactly what constituted the revolutionary social thinking on the part of a born prince who saw the ephemerality of the world transforming it into eternal human values of sacrifice, compassion, and spirituality. Not everybody can give up all the pleasures of the world in one stroke and return to a life of self realisation. In modern terms, is it not possible to think of this in terms of leftist ideology in practice? Speaking of sacrifice and social commitment in our own lifetime, there is the shining example of Gandhi. The essential and eternal Indian virtues of non-attachment and disinterestedness are exemplified in Gandhi’s life. That is why he was universally recognized as a “Mahatma”. Obvious differences apart, what Gandhiji gave up was not entirely comparable with what the Buddha did. Unlike the Buddha, Gandhi did not sit under a tree in constant meditation. On the contrary, he was always on the move and this is the life of a social activist in modern terminology. This peripatetic saint, incessantly building bridges between people, and bringing them together while giving them a firm belief in our nation, is significant especially when we notice his precedents and antecedents on the one hand, and his followers and imitators on the other. Gandhi was very much inspired by John Ruskin’s economic ideas in Unto This Last, as well as Henry David Thoreau’s writings on simple living. Thoreau was no less a social thinker than Ruskin except for the fact that Thoreau experimented with living in an extremely simple way, keeping away from active political life in order to concentrate on his inner life, much the same way our ancient sages dd. Gandhi was a personification of this simplicity in living, in his revolutionary ideas about economics, political science, as well as his own personal lifestyle. He was a living example of how to influence society and emphasise true social human values.
RV Institute of Gandhian Studies came into existence along with RV Institute of Sanskrit Studies and Shashwathi in the year 1976, with the unstinted support of the benevolent Management Rashtreeya Shikshana Samithi Trust and the farsightedness of our founder Principal Dr. C.N. Mangala.
After its inception, Dr.H. Narasimhaiah – former vice-chancellor of Bangalore University and a great Gandhian – donated over a 1000 books on Gandhi to the college from his personal library.
In the year 1997, RVIGS conducted a three day National Seminar on “Relevance of Gandhi to Modern times”. From that year onwards, every year RVIGS conducts collage-making, essay writing, debate and quiz competitions to degree students at the collegiate as well as inter-collegiate levels. The response of students to these events is tremendous.
This year also the college conducted quiz competitions for degree students, where 40 groups of students (40×3=120) took active part in the written quiz competition corresponding with the 150th Birthday celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi.
The prizes were secured by :
- Shalu Kumari and team
- Neeharika Prasad and team
- Pooja D.G and team
Principal Dr. Snehalatha G Nediger was the chief guest for the prize distribution function and gave an illuminating talk on the “Relevance of Gandhi”, and handed over prizes to the winners. Participation certificates were handed over by Prof. T. Venkateshulu HOD, History Department. The function came to a fitting finale with the chanting of shanti mantra for which Gandhi strove hard his entire life.
We thank the Rashtreeya Shikshana Samithi Trust for their unstinted cooperation and encouragement from our Principal Dr. Snehalatha G Nediger.