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Youth For Social Transformation - Gandhi's Views

- By Miss Rama Dukle

3rd L. L. B (old), Pune University.

Today's youth is disgusted with today's politics, education and social atmosphere. He is facing the problem of unemployment and hence turning towards crime. Everybody is using the youth's energy for a destructive purpose than for constructive purpose. Today's youth is unhappy, unsatisfied, disgusted and is in a pathetic condition. With this background he is entering the 21st century.

Gandhi was an aspiring leader. He inspired, encouraged and put a sense of confidence in the youth to change the prevailing system. Today's leaders discourage and confuse the youths. Jawaharlal Nehru who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth left all the riches and comfort for India's freedom struggle because he was influenced by Gandhiji. There were many such known and unknown youths who followed Gandhiji.

The greatness of Gandhiji is, he put a sense of self-confidence in the COMMON MAN to fight against any wrong with just two weapons - TRUTH and NON-VIOLENCE. He gave us the most valuable weapon of 'SATYAGRAHA' which is being misused today.

When we think of Gandhi's use of youth as an agent for social transformation we have to first clear all the misconceptions regarding Gandhiji that today's youth has. We hear of many debates taking place like - ' whether the Gandhian philosophy is outdated'. And I want to attract your attention to the fact that after independence the Gandhian philosophy was thrown out without using. The Congress have just used Gandhi's name but never followed his principles. There has to be a massive campaign to rub out the misconcepts and misunderstanding, that, Gandhi was not responsible for the partition or he did not go on a fast to give Pakistan Rs. 55 crore. The religious power which influenced the youth to assassinate Gandhi is influencing today's youth by defaming Gandhi and we are killing Gandhi almost everyday. On one hand people are trying to defame Gandhi and on the other hand there are people who are uplifting Gandhian thoughts through People's Movement. They find his thoughts as a great and unique support to bring about a social transformation by doing constructive work. The work of Dr. Abhay Bang and Dr. Rani Bang with Adivasis, the Narmada Andolan of Medha Patkar, the work of Anna Hazare in village development, many rehabilitation centres for alcoholics and drug addicts, many educational institutions in Gujarat are some of the examples which are working on Gandhian thoughts. So such people must remain united to spread the message of Gandhi.

Youth of every generation needs an ideal person whose values he can imbibe. But in today's situation there is no such ideal person and so today's youth is baffled about so many things in life and hence lost. If you go back to history of any nation, the social transformation is got about by the revolutionary power of the youth. We cannot forget that Gandhi started bringing about social transformation in his young days.

Today's education system is the root of all problems. I am astonished when we talk of value based education today. When were values and education thought to be separate? When we say education it has to be value based. We will have to forget the education system given to us by Macaulay and adapt the "Basic education system of Gandhi where the 3 "H's" i.e. Hand, Head and Heart should be developed simultaneously and equally. Today's education is very job oriented i.e. importance is being given to only white collared jobs. Gandhiji wanted to teach the youth to be self reliant and respect manual labour. For this the education must be rooted in the culture and life of the common people. He wanted to promote all round development of the pupil.

Almost from the commencement, the text books today deal, not with things the boys and girls have always to deal with in their homes, but things to which they are perfect strangers. It is not through the textbooks that a lad learns what is right and what is wrong in the home life. He is never taught to have any pride in his surroundings. The higher he goes, the further he is removed from his home, so that at the end of his education he becomes estranged from his surroundings. The village scenes are all a sealed book to him. His education is calculated to mean him from his traditional culture.

The pupils must have initiative. They must cease to be mere imitators. They must learn to think and act for themselves and yet to be thoroughly obedient and disciplined. The highest form of freedom carries with it the greatest measure of discipline and humility .

Real education consists in drawing the best out of yourself. What better book can there be than the book of humanity?

The education should include thorough industrial training if youths are to become self reliant and self supporting. It seems to me that in our country in which 85 % of the population is agricultural and perhaps 10% occupied in supplying the wants of the peasantry, it must be part of the training of every youth that he has a fair practical knowledge of agriculture and hand weaving.

A curriculum of religious instruction should include a study of the tenets of faith other than one's own. For this purpose the students should be trained to cultivate the habit of understanding and appreciating the doctrines of various great religions of the world in the spirit of reverence and broad minded tolerance.

There is not a subject which Gandhiji has not touched. He has given the importance of village industries. Mechanization is good when the hands are too few for the work intended to be accomplished. It is evil when there are more hands than required for the work, as in the case of India….. Our clear duty is, therefore, to investigate the possibility of keeping in existence the village wheel, the village crusher and the village pounder, and by advertising their products, discovering their qualities, ascertaining the condition of the workers and the number displaced by the power-driven machinery and discovering the methods of improving them, whilst retaining their village character, to enable them to stand the competition of the mills.

Gandhiji says " Swadeshi is the law of laws enjoined by the present age." The notary of Swadeshi will, as a first duty, dedicate himself to the services of his immediate neighbours. One must as far as possible, purchase ones requirement locally and nit buy things imported from foreign lands, which can easily be manufactured in the company.

He also emphasised on "Gram Swarajya". He said that there should be decentralization of the government so that the power is not in the hands of few people only. The villagers need to go to the State government for little developments of their own village. This is also one way of stopping corruption which our country is facing majorly.

He talked on Naturopathy being the best kind of treatment for any disease where earth, water, sky, sun and air is required.

These are just a few things which I have tried to put forth. If each one of us try to imbibe the teachings of this Mahatma then I am sure we can bring a great revolutionary transformation in today's society. Today social transformation needs to be given the utmost priority. The weapons that this great man gave us were not just to drive away the Britishers but to drive away all the evil and fight back against the wrong even now. I remember these lines which have a great meaning.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep
I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep
And miles to go before I sleep

                JAI JAGAT!