Director's Message

Making People Empowered to Relive Gandhiji’s Dreams

The year 2016 has been an eventful year for all of us. Many events of the past which had created history and shaped an entire generation, stood before us once again almost a century later, reminding us of the services of innumerable men, women, youth and children, who sacrificed their lives for humankind.

The idea of a society where mutual coexistence amongst fellow beings and the eternal philosophy of peace and non-violence as espoused by saints, philosophers and social thinkers existed, kept on instilling in us the energy and enthusiasm to carry forward our duties and help bring a little difference in people’s lives by giving them certain opportunities that helped them in small ways.

We proudly recalled what Mahatma Gandhi did a century earlier in 1917, for the first time in the Indian soil of Champaran in Bihar – an experiment of his first Satyagraha – to remove the plight of the indigo farmers and thereby reiterating our firm faith that ‘FEAR’ has only one option – to ‘Face Everything And Rise’. That was what the Mahatma’s lesson, when above all things in Champaran in 1917, Gandhiji was able to remove ‘fear’ from the minds and hearts of the poor peasants, who rose not in violent defiance of a system, but in non-violent protest against the atrocities and injustices meted out against them by the British Raj and became triumphant in their struggle.

During the year, the Samiti embarked on several new initiatives which directly benefitted people from the marginalized communities. As part of the Skill Development Mission and the initiatives of the Government of India to make people self-reliant, the Samiti launched the Srijan Entrepreneurial Centre which during the year has become a hub of Khadi products which are being designed at GSDS and which has become a major attraction for visitors from all over the world.

Not only this, various other projects were launched during this period to give a boost to young talents and create livelihood opportunities and make them self reliant, not just in Delhi and NCR with institutions such as Hunar Foundation, Connecting Dreams Foundation, but also in the North Eastern state of Manipur in Kasturba Gandhi Institute for Development.

Discussions, dialogues, seminars were also held to mark the 125th birth anniversary of the Gandhian economist Dr. J C Kumarappa. “Understanding the Economy of Permanence”; Nurturing Artisans: Strengthening a time-tested Engineering Skills for Villages”; “Bapu’s conception of Gram Swaraj through Skill India Program”, etc., formed part of discussions and future strategies with an aim to inculcate ideas of Swadeshi, Gram Swaraj, Skill Development; to enhance the creativity of rural youth and women by creating a platform to showcase their skills and also to exhibit local handicrafts, art and culture and teach the techniques to promote for a dignified livelihood.

A rich exposure of the heritage and culture of India was also witnessed at the city of mystics and saints, Varanasi, during the Rashtriya Sanskriti Mohatsav, where the staff of GSDS took an active part in all the major activities. Issues such as cleanliness, sanitation (as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan), Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao were raised in different platforms through various mediums such as discussions, theatre, workshops, etc., at the Mahotsav.

Several workshops, orientation programmes, seminars, dialogues, programmes on peace-building, youth volunteerism for constructive work were organised during the year for children, youth and women across the country with an aim to generate awareness among the masses and create a strong base for future collaborations keeping in view the forthcoming 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

Adding another dimension to our programmes, we continued our outreach with programmes for the tribal population of the country by organizing Adivasi/Janjati Kala Sanskriti Sangams in far-flung areas of Jharkhand, Haflong (Assam), Hyderabad to name a few states. To witness their rich and varied culture in their own native place, besides discussing other issues relating to their land and livelihood was unique, for it gave the urban youth an understanding and a first-hand experience of the peaceful, yet difficult life of the Adivasis who despite all hurdles stand to protect their jal, jameen, jangal and Sanskriti (water, land, forests and culture).

With a boost to form linkages abroad, the Samiti embarked on not just setting up exhibitions on the life, message and philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi for countries like Sudan and Senegal, but also hosted the 1st Global Youth Leadership Summit in its Gandhi Darshan with Bright Youth Society that saw a participation of youth from over 11 countries of the world.

Another important journey of the Samiti was to make its mark on the social media – Facebook, Twitter, etc. In this endeavor, the Samiti launched the “GSDS YouTube Channel” in association with Samvad Media, where short documentaries on the activities of the Samiti are being regularly updated for a wider audience.

Another significant move was conducting an Orientation Programme for Hon’ble MLAs of Arunachal Pradesh Assembly on Gandhian philosophy and their practical relevance in the formulation of policies and development. This initiative was an attempt to reaffirm the need for practicing nonviolence, truth, selfless service and ethics, in order to challenge the problems faced by humankind and thereby lay the foundation of sustainable development and growth.

In this line, another such programme for the police officers on “Non-violent Conflict Resolution and Nonviolent Communication” was organized at Golaghat, Assam.

The Value Creation Camps for children – organized by the Samiti twice a year during October 2nd Gandhi Jayanti and January 30th, Martyrdom Day – from far-flung areas and marginalized communities is an attempt to bring children into the mainstream by engaging the children in different activities such as theatre, comics workshops, field visits, etc. These children from as far as Kargil to as near as Uttar Pradesh also get an opportunity to meet the Hon'ble Prime Minister of India and other VVIPs during the commemorative programmes in Gandhi Smriti.

Today when nothing is so certain, as uncertainty and language is a gesture or mirror of social reality it is the young boys and girls who are the future of the world. Mahatma Gandhi has to be seen in the perspectives of the youth of today who are ever progressing and have the dynamism and vigor to take the country forward.

It is time to bring the young and the dynamic Mahatma Gandhi before them and introduce what Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi did as a young man volunteering himself for social causes and plunging his self and soul for humanity. The old Mahatma –a title which he himself never accepted – is known to all.

The young M K Gandhi walks the extra mile with the young with a renewed hope. For he himself believed and urged the young to go to the villages and develop the India of their dreams, for the real India according to Bapu lives in the villages.

As the nation and the world community prepares itself to celebrate the 150th Birth Anniversary of the messiah of peace, Mahatma Gandhi in 2019, we as a nation must commit ourselves to be able to create a dynamic workforce of a young India with the older generation guiding us in our path to reach out to the last person in the society and see that their life and livelihood is secured.

This young force from cross segments of the society must dedicate themselves to work constructively for the society and ensure that harmony, brotherhood, amity and tolerance triumphs. A society, where women can be free from ‘fear’ of any form; a society where each stands for the cause of the other; and a society where love emanates from every soul is one, which Gandhiji had lived and died for.

This would be the real tribute to the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi as we walk towards fulfilling the goal set by the Hon'ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi for 2019.

Let us dedicate ourselves to this cause from this very moment itself.

(Dipanker Shri Gyan)