Mangaluru, Oct 22, 2019: 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi is being observed with enthusiasm in the city, scholar Prof G N Devy stressed on the importance to give a thought to Gandhi’s idea of democracy. He gave a serious talk organised by the Nehru Study Centre of Mangalore University at the University College in the city on October 21, Monday.
“We need to do what he wanted for a change in India,” he said, while delivering a talk on ‘Gandhi, Democracy and Dissent’, he laid emphasis on the fact that dissent is a part and parcel of a democratic setup.
“Gandhiji wanted citizens who expressed dissent against tyranny and violence. His idea of democracy was a discrimination-free India, based on the philosophy of fearlessness and ‘Aparigraha’, which inspired Gandhiji to coin the term ‘Satyagraha’,” Devy added.
He clarified and said, “It is worth mentioning that Gandhiji’s wife Kasturba played an important role in making the Satyagraha movement successful. Gandhiji was aware that Satyagraha was a concept where men and women would come together by crossing gender barriers and fight for a single cause.”
The scholar expressed concern on the casual attitude among people in power towards heinous crime against the oppressed classes. “We have been witnessing a process of curtailing free speech,” he pointed out.
Prof Valerian Rodrigues said that Gandhi was a serious thinker of democracy.
“The irony today is that even a dictator wants to be valued as a democrat. Democracy should be seen as an association of free and equal citizens who think about the future,” he stressed.
“Swaraj was Gandhiji’s idea of democracy and Gandhiji disagreed with the version of democracy that defined the state as a sovereign power. He believed that democracy should sustain the value of non-violence,” said the professor.