Gandhi-Epoch Making Social Thinker
A study of the lives of Buddha and Gandhi clearly marks out a continuity in Indian tradition extending over few centuries. Speaking in the chronogical context how Prince Siddhartha transformed himself to the Buddha is an epoch making saga which 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 in the largest sense of the term. It is not everybody who can give up all the pleasures in one stroke and return to the life of self realisation. In modern terms, is it not possible to think of this interms 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 is 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 in commensurate with what Buddha did. Unlike the Buddha, Gandhi did not sit under the tree in 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 giving them a firm belief in our nation is significant especially when we notice his precedants and antecedants on the one hand and the followers and imitators on the other. One thinks of a social thinker like John Ruskin from U.K. whose economic doctrine setforth in his “ Unto this lost” and the evangelist of simple living and high thinking Thoreau in the United States. Thoreau was no less social thinker than Ruskin expect that Thoreau experimented with living an extremely simple living, keeping away from active political life in order to concentrate on inner life, much the same way as our ancient sages and the social classification in terms of Ashrama Dharma in the case of Vanaprastha by his very act of living demonstrated in practical terms the epoch making life of human values as he put it, “simplify, simplify, simplify”. Whoever can think of any other modern social thinker than Gandhiji who was the very personification of simplicity in the dress, in the way of life and in his socially revolutionary ideas about economics, political science as well as moral principles walking all over India and travelling only by the then third class railway when it was absolutely necessary. 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 our benevolent Management Rashtreeya Shikshana Samithi Trust and the farsightedness of our founder Principal Dr. C.N. Mangala.
Ever since its inception, Dr.H. Narasimhaiah former vice chancellor of Bangalore University and a great Gandhian donated 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 is conducting collage, 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 to Degree students wherein 40 groups of students (40x3=120) took active part in the written quiz competition corresponding with 150th Birthday celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi the father of the nation.
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 “Relevance of Gandhi”. On the eve of his 150th birthday celebrations and handed over prizes to prize 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 for his entire life.
We thank the Rashtreeya Shikshana Samithi Trust for their unstinted cooperation and encouragement from our Principal Dr. Snehalatha G Nediger.