Himsamukth Bharat Andolan ( Violence-free Society Campaign ) PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Launched in 2006 under the auspices of Indian Council of Gandhian Studies, New Delhi and a host of other Gandhian and service organizations, The Himsamukth Bharat Andolan (Violencefree India Campaign), is a creative response to educate and organize civil society to become aware of the dangerous situation developing in india and elsewhere. And help citizens initiate appropriate activities to counter the menace of violence and terror. The campaign had the advice and patronage of such national leaders as former President of India Sri R. Venkataraman and Sri Sadiq Ali,distinguished Gandhian and freedom fighter. This campaign was flagged off at India Gate, New Delhi on 2nd October 2004 by Sri. R.Venkitaraman at a Children’s Rally. Simultaneously children took oath against violence in over 2000 educational institutions in different parts of the country. The Nehru Yuva Kendra, Rajeev Gandhi Bhavan, NSS, and Gandhi Bhavans,Rajive Gandgi Natioanl Insitute of Youth development,Sriperumbedur and various Universities extended support to this programme. During the five years of the campaign the following activities were undertaken in different parts of India
Campaign to enlist 1,00,000 families to nonviolence

1) Youth camps on the problem of violence in 17 states of India and in 43Universities and Colleges.
2) Essay and elocution competitions to school children in about 600 Educational Institutions.
3) Padayatras (in 4 states) and discussion sessions (in 12 states).
4) Six Regional Meeting involving senior Gandhian activists, Parliamentarians, Journalists, writers, academics and social activists.

National convention on nonviolent strategies at Gandhi’s Ashram in Central India

A three day national convention of Gandhian constructive workers and activists called by Prof. N.Radhakrishnan at Sevagram Ashram at Wardha from 13th to 15th September 2001 under the aegis of Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti, New Delhi and attended by 185 delegates representing the various Gandhian organizations in the country debated this issue under five concurrent workshops:
1.Nonviolent Strategies in the Context of Globalization
2.Nonviolence to Meet the Growing Violence Against Women
3.Gandhi and Decentralized Democracy
4.Gandhi, Youth and Nonviolence
5.Gandhi and Voluntary Organizations for a Nonviolent Future
The convention held under the shadow of threatening war clouds following terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre as well as the Pentagon which led to the loss of lives of thousands of innocent people from several parts of the world, focused its concern to the relevance of developing nonviolent capability to tackle the menace of terrorism and other forms of violence and injustice. The convention was guided by such senior luminaries as Sri. Sundarlal Bahuguna, Kumary Nirmala Deshpande, Justice Dharmadhikari, Dr. B.R. Nanda, Sri. Dharampal, Dr. Y.P. Anand, Prof. K.D. Gangrade, Prof. R.P. Mishra, Dr. Vijayam, Prof. Pandavanayak, Govindrao Deshpande, Dr. Vibha Gupta, Radhakrishna Bajaj, Sri. T.R.K. Somayya, Sri. Narendra Dube, Prof. Lallan Prasad, Dr. Kamal Taroi, Dr. Mandira Dutt, Sri. Kanakmal Gandhi. Dr. Savita Singh was the co-ordinator of the conference while Prof. N. Radhakrishnan was the Director.
The chief concerns of the conference:

Twenty First Century began with new challenges for humanity. The challenges which Gandhi had foreseen over a century ago. Industrial Revolution in 19th and 20th centuries had unleashed a series of changes in all walks of life, in the economy and technology series of changes in all walks of life, in the economy and technology in particular, which upset the societal balances and continuities. The paradigm of thinking changed and the world began to be seen in bits and pieces whose assemblage formed the whole. The identity of the whole and the life that ran through it came to be treated as unscientific.
The consequences, the new mindset and material approach to life and living, first seen discretely as war killings, dislocation of people, human tragedies, floods, droughts etc. resulted in systematic disorders, violence, incurable diseases, ecological and environmental degradation, cultural and social disharmony, breaking of family etc. These disorders have put the very survival and development of man in jeopardy.
Interestingly, the last two centuries are known not only for these tragic happenings. They are also known for emergence of a large number of leaders who tried to reverse the cultural drift of their times who swore against the current violence. India under very special circumstances of colonialism, produced Mahatma Gandhi, who could foresee the future and suggest an alternative paradigm of thinking. He tried to reverse the trends by appealing for the human in man and the counterpoising,
Nonviolence against violence.
Human development against industrial development.
Evolutionary change against revolutionary change.
Love against war/hatred, and so on.

Gandhi laid emphasis on the transformation of man, on change with continuity, on human brotherhood, equality and capacity to rise to limitless heights. Civilization means growth of man as a moral being.
How Gandhian vision and thought was kept subdued under the pressure of industrialism and modernity for the last 50 years or so after his death in 1948, is well-known to us. Suffice is to say that with the coming of the twenty-first century, there is a growing realization the world over that Gandhian approach alone can save the world from impending disaster. This realization has culminated in a series of consultations, conferences, seminars all over the world. In India too, the consternation is visible even in circles which were avowedly anti-Gandhi.

Gandhi’s resurrection has begun:
1. India has not given attention to Gandhian alternatives to economic, social and cultural programmes particularly the growing menace of unemployment, and social disruption. It is time to revaluate our policies and practice and chart out a new course of action. In this connection the policy of globalization was reviewed particularly with respect to its implication for the poor and working class. The convention felt that the Gandhian approach to the globalization as outlined by the Oceanic Circle Theory is the right course for India.
2. A large number of individuals and institutions have been engaged in alternative development action-research with considerable amount of success. These experiments have remained isolated and aloof from each other. Why these experiments do not spread around? There is need to study them and find the commonalities and specifications among them, to dovetail them into a national policy for development from below as also to guide individuals and NGOs to follow suit.
3. Violence is the bane of modern society. The convention linked it to the growing frustration in the society in general and youth in particular. While its ultimate end lies in over all adherence of the society to nonviolence, the process can be hastened only if the energies of the youth are harnessed to the fullest extent.
4. Youth mobilization should receive immediate attention and on a priority basis, efforts are to be undertaken to inspire confidence in youth, particularly to arrest the fast spreading cynicism. At the moment, political and caste groups alone are taking advantage of youth power. The Shanti Sena training program for the youths are to be revived in order to bring youth into leadership role particularly in conflict management and strengthening of Panchayat Raj institutions. The framework provided by G. Ramachandran Institute of Nonviolence in Trivandrum could be made use of in Shanti Sena training and it could be identified and supported as a National Shanti Sena Training Centre for youth mobilization, value-creation and conflict management.
5. The process, Gandhi initiated in empowering women are not yet finished. The women’s liberation movements originating in the West have distorted the issues and redirected the struggle not always in directions suited to Indian ethos. Fortunately, the Indian women realized the shortcomings and have now charted their own agenda. But the peace at which changes are taking place is not satisfactory. The need for re-doubling the efforts is urgently called for.
6. The pathetic state of the poor was one of the major concerns of the convention. Among the poor, the schedule caste and tribes constitute a great majority. Gandhian institutions and individuals should put their heads together and evolve new strategies to achieve the goals Gandhiji had put before the nation. Incidentally the Indian constitution has set the same goals of social and economic equality.
7. Communalism against which Gandhiji fought for the whole of his life has not only remained alive in its traditional forms but also has spread as highly formidable malady bringing in caste also in its folds. It has spread politics in today’s India in new forms. If India has to make progress and show a new path of development, this virus must be eradicated. Special efforts need to be made through the youth movements to bring amity among the people.
In this connection the role and importance of Shanti Sena can not be over-emphasized. While the encouraging stories are many, the idea of Shanti Sena has not caught the attention of the youth. It is time to work harder and create a new force of young men and women to bring about peace and tranquility in the society.
8.The youth present at the convention were highly critical of Gandhian Institutions for not doing enough to achieve the social, economic and cultural goals Gandhi lived and died for. They should introspect, put their own houses in order, join hands with each other and make a frontal attack on the ills of the society through constructive programmes and Jan Jagran movements. Gandhi left his unfinished agenda behind for his followers to complete it. They have failed to move forward not because the circumstances were unfavorable, but largely because they have not done their job well. The time has come for them to unite for a common cause once again and the common cause is none other than the constructive programme of Gandhi molded to the needs of the present.
As a follow-up of the recommendations, a sub-committee consisting of Prof. K.D. Gangrade, Dr. Y.P. Anand, Prof. N. Radhakrishnan apprised Sri. R. Venkataraman (Former President of India) of the outcome of the National Meet at Sevagram and sought his guidance. The consensus at this meeting was to launch a national initiative to combat violence of various types by involving as many institutions, organizations and individuals working in different parts of India. This was the beginning of the “Violence-free Society” Himsamukth Samaj National Campaign.




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