by Savney Monteiro, Team mangalorean
Mangaluru: A seminar, ‘Gandhian Thought in Tune with Times’ was organised jointly by Mangalore University, Gandhi Smaraka Nidhi, Rashtrakavi Govinda Pai Samshodhana Kendra and Kumbra Jattappa Rai Prathisthana, at the Ravindhra Kala Bhavan, University College Mangaluru here, on March 17.
The inaugural function began with an invocation by Chandrashekar Kedilaya. Elantaje Pramod Kumar Rai introduced the guests and welcomed the gathering.
The programme was inaugurated by showering flowers on the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi by the dignitaries. Former Governor of West Bengal and grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Gopalkrishna Gandhi began his inaugural speech by congratulating the people of Mangaluru for keeping the city clean and beautiful and said that other cities could learn from the example set by Mangaluru and the cleanliness of the city represented the hygiene and the heritage of the people of this region.
He praised Mangalurean born Indian social reformer and freedom fighter, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay for her selfless service and said that she did not belong to an influential family but created her own lineage. Gandhi said, “She could have become anything in her life, but it is a well known fact that she declined posts of higher offices. She wanted to work for people and didn’t want to be caged in a ‘golden cage’ of a higher office.”
He further said, “Though we are a democracy today, it is a shame that lure of amassing wealth has taken over the responsibility of high offices. We should be proud that we are home to the world’s largest election, but money plays a very important role in it and that money is not grown on trees but it comes from corporate and business houses, which see it as an investment. This is the actual quality of our elections. We should follow the example of Vaikunthlal Mehta, who after being directed by Gandhi, did not spend much on election campaign but instead sent postcards to all the voters and won the election by a thumping majority.”
“It’s not too late to change now. Other than a few socialist parties and many independent candidates, all other major parties have to give accountability of the funds. Why is Lokpal not appointed yet by the Parliament? What is the problem? And if there is a problem, then what are they hiding from us? If the Lokpal is appointed, then he should be like Kamaladevi or Vaikunthlal and should not have any greed of a higher office in him.” he said.
Gandhi said that the RTI was the best tool given to the people of the nation and congratulated the UPA government for giving the Act to the nation. He said, “RTI should not be misused just to defame public officials but should be used for important matters like public accounts and the actual tagline of RTI, ‘Hamara Paisa Hamara Hisaab’ should be applied.”
He said that ‘Swacch Bharat’ was a wise step and if implemented in letter and spirit, India would be a much better place. Disposing the regular waste was not enough but we should know what happens to the waste generated by the nuclear power stations. We should make use of tools like RTI to find out the state of nuclear waste and illegal mining of resources. “Plastics are an integral part of our lives but India is in a grip of plastic lobbies. Government should not choose this monopoly over our lives and instead look for an alternative,” he added.
Aria Lakshminarayana Alva said, “Works done by Mahatma Gandhi were recognized by many including famous physicist Albert Einstein.”
Justice Santhosh Hegde, former Lokayukta of Karnataka said, “Being a Lokayukta I have come across the realities of the nation. There is more of falsehood, greed and violence over truth, honesty and non-violence. Former PM Rajiv Gandhi said that of the 1 rupee spent by the government, only 15 paise reached the benefactor. But in 2016 the situation is such that of the 10 rupees spent by the government, less than 15 paise reached the benefactor.”
He asked the students to be contempt with what they have and not to be greedy. “Amassing huge amounts of wealth is alright if done through legitimate means. There have been many scams to the tune of several lakh crores of rupees in the nation. If we can’t control our greed, then we will never be happy again,” he added.
A book, ‘On the trail of Gandhiji’s Footsteps – Odyssey of Jathappa Rai’ was released by Santosh Hegde and other dignitaries.
Dr Heranje Krishna Bhat also spoke on the occasion. VC of Mangalore University, Prof K Byrappa delivered the presidential speech.
MA Principal of University College, Dr Uday Kumar delivered the vote of thanks.