The relevance of Gandhi’s legacy for solving modern India’s socio-economic problems: Addressing the needs of peasants, labourers, students and tribals

Sulogna Mehta, The Times of India | Jul 15, 2013

As the head of the department of social works and the Gandhian Studies Centre in Andhra University, 55-year-old Prof ABSV Ranga Rao is actively involved in several social projects. The die-hard Gandhian, along with his band of research scholars and students, works in collaboration with various government departments to eradicate social evils such as child marriage, child labour, human trafficking, problems of orphans, among others. In a chat with Sulogna Mehta of TOI, Prof Ranga Rao talks about the relevance of Gandhi in today’s world, the popularity of social work as a field of higher studies and its future in the city. […]

How relevant is Gandhi’s approach to socio-economic problems today?

Gandhi was a political visionary, economist and pragmatist and most of his programmes are relevant even today. Some of the constructive programmes designed by him are still very much in use by the government or are still being implemented through national rural employment and health schemes even after 60 years of his demise. These include promoting village industries or micro enterprises for generation of local employment, village sanitation, education in health and hygiene, sustainable development, ecological conservation, addressing alcohol-related problems, promotion of provincial and national languages, basic and adult education, emancipation of women, addressing the needs of peasants, labourers, students and tribals and so on. He focused on health issues like leprosy. A practical person like him would have taken up HIV/AIDS had he lived now, since controlling leprosy is no longer a major challenge. He believed in grassroots democracy, decentralisation of power, panchayat administration, which are still in vogue. […]

What areas has the department of social work worked on?

Our faculty and research scholars have done work on various social issues including child marriage, child labour, human trafficking, family problems, single parent families, divorce, ageing, single women, juvenile homes, self-help groups, HIV/AIDS orphans and so on. We work in collaboration with NGOs, the police, women and child welfare, tribal and labour department to stall illegal and evil practices prevalent in society. […]

Source: ‘Mahatma Gandhi is our nation’s most misunderstood leader’ – The Times of India
Address : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/visakhapatnam/Mahatma-Gandhi-is-our-nations-most-misunderstood-leader/articleshow/21075821.cms
Date Visited: Tue Mar 03 2015 11:23:19 GMT+0100 (CET)

 

For fifty years we have enshrined him. We must now enfranchise him again.

GOPALKRISHNA GANDHI

IS there such a thing as Gandhi’s legacy? […]

HOW is that Gandhi, that Gandhi legacy, to be regenerated? Not by holding drowsy seminars on ‘Gandhi’s relevance’, certainly not by re-enactments of his marches that turn into picnics. Rather by spotting injustice and iniquity and tackling them through means available to us, but without personal agendas.

Gandhi’s legacy needs to be retrieved from that political studio and returned to the people. Returned to his great electrifying link among the people where his legacy can and does work – namelessly. By setting up or supporting others’ initiatives similarly engaged. And there are ever so many initiatives in India, so many causes where his legacy is alive. Where it works.

As where Sushila Nayar, in her great age, takes a band of satyagrahis to Ayodhya and they are “allowed” to sing Raghupati Raghava by the kar sevaks until the lines “Isvara Allah Tere Naam” are reached; then the blows begin to rain. As where Anand Patwardhan makes the brave film Ram Ke Naam. And where films like Kaise Jeebo Re? are made telling us about tribal people flooded out of home and hearth by the Narmada project. Where Baba Amte and Medha Patkar agitate for these oustees, where Aruna Roy demands to know how government moneys are being spent, where Sunderlal Bahuguna and Chandi Prasad Bhatt show what trees and mountains mean, where Subhashini Ali pickets the Miss World contest in Bangalore, where women in Andhra organise against liquor-shops, where processions are taken out on the subject of child abuse, where Sheela Barse rescues the girl-child from her captors, where Swami Agnivesh campaigns for bandhua-mukti, where P. Sainath can raise a fist on behalf of rural poverty, where Anna Hazare fasts to make the corrupt resign their high offices, where the District Collector of Surat rids that city of its dirt. And where India and Bangladesh agree to sharing the Ganga waters equitably.

I am not suggesting that India erupt in agitation; far from it. Only, that Indians become less smug, less self-absorbed. If we lack the time to think of causes beyond ourselves it is because our time is misapplied, not because it is short. Gandhi was never short of time. Either to write, or to wrestle.

He wrote on May 12, 1920 in Young India something that needs to be better known: “…if I seem to take part in politics, it is only because politics encircles us today like the coil of a snake from which one cannot get out, no matter how much one tries. I wish, therefore, to wrestle with the snake as I have been doing…”

There he is not boring. He is crucial. There he is not a mascot, not a logo. There he is a legacy.

Source: Frontline – India’s National Magazine
From the publishers of THE HINDU
Vol. 14 :: No. 16 :: Aug. 9-22, 1997
http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl1416/14160650.htm
Date Visited: Sat Jun 25 2011 02:08:02 GMT+0200 (CEST)

GOPALKRISHNA GANDHI, The Hindu (Opinion), May 19, 2014

Dalits and Adivasis, especially the women, live and relive humiliation and exploitation every minute of their lives. The constant tug of unease because of slights, discrimination, victimisation is de-citizenising, demoralising, dehumanising. Address that tug, Mr. Modi, vocally and visibly and win their trust. You can, by assuring them that you will be the first spokesman for their interests.

Source: An open letter to Narendra Modi – The Hindu
Address : http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/an-open-letter-to-narendra-modi/article6022900.ece
Date Visited: Tue Mar 03 2015 11:20:36 GMT+0100 (CET)

Sulogna Mehta, TNN | Jul 15, 2013

As the head of the department of social works and the Gandhian Studies Centre in Andhra University, 55-year-old Prof ABSV Ranga Rao is actively involved in several social projects. The die-hard Gandhian, along with his band of research scholars and students, works in collaboration with various government departments to eradicate social evils such as child marriage, child labour, human trafficking, problems of orphans, among others. In a chat with Sulogna Mehta of TOI, Prof Ranga Rao talks about the relevance of Gandhi in today’s world, the popularity of social work as a field of higher studies and its future in the city. […]

How relevant is Gandhi’s approach to socio-economic problems today?

Gandhi was a political visionary, economist and pragmatist and most of his programmes are relevant even today. Some of the constructive programmes designed by him are still very much in use by the government or are still being implemented through national rural employment and health schemes even after 60 years of his demise. These include promoting village industries or micro enterprises for generation of local employment, village sanitation, education in health and hygiene, sustainable development, ecological conservation, addressing alcohol-related problems, promotion of provincial and national languages, basic and adult education, emancipation of women, addressing the needs of peasants, labourers, students and tribals and so on. He focused on health issues like leprosy. A practical person like him would have taken up HIV/AIDS had he lived now, since controlling leprosy is no longer a major challenge. He believed in grassroots democracy, decentralisation of power, panchayat administration, which are still in vogue. […]

What areas has the department of social work worked on?

Our faculty and research scholars have done work on various social issues including child marriage, child labour, human trafficking, family problems, single parent families, divorce, ageing, single women, juvenile homes, self-help groups, HIV/AIDS orphans and so on. We work in collaboration with NGOs, the police, women and child welfare, tribal and labour department to stall illegal and evil practices prevalent in society. […]

Source: ‘Mahatma Gandhi is our nation’s most misunderstood leader’ – The Times of India
Address : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/visakhapatnam/Mahatma-Gandhi-is-our-nations-most-misunderstood-leader/articleshow/21075821.cms
Date Visited: Tue Mar 03 2015 11:23:19 GMT+0100 (CET)

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