Mahatma Gandhi's teachings more relevant in today's world: NN Vohra : The Tribune India

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Mahatma Gandhi's teachings more relevant in today's world: NN Vohra

Describes Gopalkrishna Gandhi’s book as remarkable tribute to his grandfather

Mahatma Gandhi's teachings more relevant in today's world: NN Vohra

Former J&K Governor NN Vohra (left) releases a book edited by former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi in New Delhi. MR BHUI



Tribune News Service

Satya Prakash

New Delhi, December 3

More than 75 years after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, the values he preached and practised have become all the more relevant in current times, eminent personalities and scholars, including former Governor of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir NN Vohra, said on Sunday.

Releasing former Governor and Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Gopalkrishna Gandhi’s latest book ‘Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi: I am an Ordinary Man: India’s Struggle for Freedom (1914-1948)’ this evening, Vohra complimented the author for accomplishing such a work.

“The work he has done is a remarkable tribute of a grandson to a grandfather. My comment is…my message is this is a book which must be read,” he said.

Describing Gandhi as a man whose values and teachings are respected the world over ever since he was shot dead in 1948, he said, “It has made no difference in the currency of his teachings, currency of his values and the respect he commands all over the world.”

Vohra said, “It’s a great contribution not only to the history of the Indian freedom struggle… the times through Gandhiji passed, through which he worked, through which he struggled, the colonial masters whom he faced on a day-to-day basis…This volume… the history of Indian freedom struggle… the history of India… it is a sociological history of India and in some manner a political history of India.”

“The Mahatma’s influence on at least my generation… the early 1930s generation was pronounced. Later generations I can’t speak for them. But once again I think the cycle has turned down. We will start valuing him again with the way things are happening around the world. We will start valuing the Mahatma’s teachings,” he said.

Narrating several anecdotes from Mahatma Gandhi’s personal life and his relations with Kasturba Gandhi, the author talked about how Kasturba Gandhi treated the Mahatma as an ordinary person and how he respected her.

Talking about the last minutes of her life at Aga Khan Palace in Pune, where she died on February 22, 1944, Gopalkrishna Gandhi described the emotional moment. “On the evening of the 22nd I was called by her… I took over from those who were giving her the restful support…I leaned her against my shoulder and tried to give her what comfort I could. All present some 10 of them stood in front…She moved her arms for fuller comfort then in the twinkling of an eye with Harilal, Ramdas and Devdas (her sons) also behind the end came… It was 7.35 pm… By the Hindu calendar…Shivratri,” the author said.

He said condolence messages came from everyone, except those from Md Ali Jinnah. Former bureaucrat and activist Aruna Roy — who was born and brought up in Delhi — said she attended prayer meetings of Gandhi and in her adult life Gandhi had been her companion when she worked with ordinary people. She said, “In today’s India, Gandhi is seen as an anachronism which he is not. He lives (on)”. He urged all the young people to read him to find out how relevant he was today.

“Gandhi is in India in many invisible ways. I think what we will have to do and what this book really tells me is to recognise where he is,” she said, adding, “He is alive today as he has never been before.” Roy said Gandhi’s personal and private lives were one and the same.

Historian Rudrangshu Mukherjee and political scientist Tridip Suhrud talked about historical events such as Noakhali riots and the manner Gandhi responded to the challenges thrown to India during the freedom struggle to highlight his moral character and the need to emulate him.

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