Gandhi Bhavan Hyderabad 2007

Sri Paga Pulla Reddy a Freedom Fighter, former MLA, Gandhian and Managing Trustee of Gandhi Bhavan Hyderabad. Gandhi Bhavan houses a dozen Gandhian Organizations and the Office of AP State Congress Party. Gandhi Bhavan organized Gandhi Jayanthi every year in an appropriate way.

Sri Pulla Reddy asked Sri Prasad, "you travel extensively in India and abroad giving talks to youth, Students in Colleges, Universities. You visit the US frequently to give talks to several groups. What do you talk and what do they listen from you? This time you should speak in Gandhi Jayanthi Program of Gandhi Bhavan in Hyderabad."

Gandhi Jayanthi Meeting was organized in 2007 on October 2 which was presided over by Dr. M.S. Rajalingam, President of Gandhi Bhavan and former Minister who was with Mahatma Gandhi in Sevagram Ashram for two years. M.S. Ramadevi, former Governor of Karnataka was the Chief Guest. Potturi Venkateswara Rao and a dozen prominent scholars, mostly editors of various news papers and journals were present. It was already two hours and when my turn came, I told Sri Pulla Reddy, will I speak for 5 minutes? He said, no, now we want to listen to you for a full 45 minutes. It was a bit embarassing to speak that long towards the end of the meeting which is infringing into the schedules of many people as they would go home.

I spoke for some 35 minutes and broadly placed before the audience and scholars on the dais my understanding and perspectives on Gandhian Values:

We in the Gandhian movement adore Gandhi. He is the Father of the Nation who gave a supreme sacrifice for countries freedom and Hindu Muslim Unity. Respecting our elders is part of our culture. We learn from them and stand on their shoulders to view a greater horizon. We derive strength, wisdom and vision from them. They are our leaders and gave us a perspective and plan of action that we take forward. We in Sarvodaya as the nation respect Mahatma Gandhi, adore him and deify him and consider him virtually an avatar of God. We see in him divine qualities and all his achievements could not be possible without such divine dispensation. This adoration, or AARADHANA is but natural. We have more or less stopped at this stage.

This AARADHANA should lead to the next stage of ADHYAYANAM (A deeper, systematic Study). There is no aspect of human life untouched by Mahatma Gandhi. A deeper study of him, his philosophy, world view will provide us with much needed clarity. His philosophy is available in a seed form in Hind Swaraj where he announces to the world his World Vision and how the society should be constructed. He talked about peaceful coexistence, mutual respect and cooperation, environmental sustainability etc. The mankind should move away from greed adopt simpler lifestyles. Love should be the bonding force between people.

ADHYAYANAM leads to AVAGAHANA (Understanding). The Study, analysis, deeper insights give us clarity of vision. We understand society, human relations, nature, technology, economics and other related subjects. This understanding is necessary for working for a better society. This will show us the path - where to go and how to go; what are the priorities and policies.

AVAHAHANA leads to AACHARANA (Implementation). Based on the understanding we get and clarity of vision we can take up activities, programs to make the understanding into a reality. With this understanding we will be better equipped to execute our ideas and thinking. This process will enable applying Gandhi to modern times and contemporary issues. Our work should be based on our understanding coming from intensive study. This is a spiritual process starting with AARADHANA leading to ADHYAYANAM, giving us a AVAGAHANA which helps in AACHARANA.

The Gandhians believe that Gandhi is the panacea for all the current problems. It is true. But this conclusion should be based on logical analysis based on intensive study and understanding. Gandhian approach is very scientific and most relevant for today both for individuals and for the society as a whole.

I pay tributes to Sri Paga Pulla Reddy for his dynamic approach to study and understand Gandhi