KOCHI: The 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi gives us a reason to go back to his life and teachings which have the power to transform future, social activist Medha Patkar said here on Monday.
She was inaugurating ‘Gandhi Smriti’, the three-day event commemorating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, at Sacred Heart College, Thevara. National Service Scheme (NSS) unit of the college organised the event.
“One should compete with oneself rather than with others. We battle with ourselves daily over one thing or the other. If we order ourselves in our minds, we will be able to see the reality around each one of us. It will propel us to be a part of the community,” said Patkar, who was welcomed with the NSS claps of hundreds of volunteers at the auditorium.
Assistant professor and NSS programme officer Remya Ramachandran said there would not be an apt person than Patkar to mark Gandhi Jayanti celebrations. Principal Fr Prasant Palackappillil said the focus of her life was working with people and addressing their issues.
“Leaving her PhD thesis and studies, she decided to work with people when she saw the real life of people around her. It is the sheer motivation that drives her to fight for their rights. Be it land issues, education, or environment, all is addressed. She is an inspiration to all of us,” he said. Madhu S Nair, CMD, Cochin Shipyard, and K V Thomas MP were present.
The state-level event began on Sunday and will conclude on Tuesday. It coincides with the platinum jubilee celebrations of the college. Richard Hay MP will inaugurate the ‘Swachhta Hi Seva’ campaign and Rishi Raj Singh IPS will the chief guest for the valedictory function on Tuesday.
The Swachhata Hi Seva activities include planting flowering plants on both sides of the railway track from Ernakulam Junction to Ernakulam Town. Cycle rally from SH College campus to Vaikom Gandhi Smaraka Mandapam will take place on Tuesday. The major highlight of the camp is the exhibition showcasing the rarest and largest Gandhi memorabilia related to the life and times of Mahatma Gandhi, and also on Gandhian philosophy and way of life.
‘Development should be inclusive’
Kochi: The Dalits and Adivasis in Kerala are facing hell; they are not backward people, rather they depend on natural resources for a living. They are smaller versions of Gandhiji himself, said Medha Patkar in her speech on ‘My life is my message’, at SH College, Thevara, on Monday. When corporates and business giants snatch the rivers and natural resources, they forget that nature has its own way of getting them back, she said.
Calling for rebuilding Kerala without excluding people, she said, development should include the participation of all communities. In the name of development, people are becoming inhuman, she added. At a time when mass lynching is taking place across the state and caste and fundamentalism are on the rise, “the lessons of Gandhi teach us to be humble and not kill each other,” she said.