Mahatma Gandhi: A 'forgotten hero' for today's generation?

"de di hame aazadi bina khadag bina dhal, sabarmati ke sant tune kar diya kamaal, aandhi me bhi jalti rahi gandhi teri mashaal, sabarmati ke sant tune kar diya kamaal, de di hame aazadi....."

These are the lyrics of the patriotic song dedicated to the struggle made by the great son of India, Mohan Das Karam Chand Gandhi or the Mahatma Gandhi. Today, on his 144th birth anniversary, this song will be sung by many students in various schools across India as well as floral tributes will be paid to him.

On October 2nd, teachers and parents tell students to walk on the path of Gandhiji and follow the Gandhian ideology of non-violence and he is remembered by all in different ways.

Till here everything is fine, when it comes to remembering the Bapu. But, ironically, there are many who advocate Gandhism but are there any takers of Gandhi's teachings in the present time? Do the present generatrion really want to read or follow what the 'Father of the Nation' believed in or followed?

Except through chapters in schools text books, children get to know about Mahatma Gandhi, otherwise is there any scope from where children can imbibe teachings of the great soul.

Yes, this is a shocking reality and its example is Lucknow University! Few years ago, a PG Diploma course related to the Gandhian thoughts was launched by the University in an attempt to keep students aware of the sacrifices and struggles by Gandhiji. But, unfortunately, when that unique course was dissolved, nobody got to know about it.

Students could not follow the path of Gandhiji

In 2008, the Lucknow University launched the "PG Diploma in Gandhian thoughts". At the start of the course, there were total 15 seats (all full) out of which only 3 students could pass the examination at the end of the year! Out of mere 15 students, who took admission in that course, many left it mid way. The course was divided into three parts including theories and practicals. It included focussing or meditating on Gandhiji and follow his path of non-violence during the course. The course also included doing social activities and reach out to poor people and knowing their problems and providing them solutions and facilities.

But, the students who undertook this course, found these tasks so 'difficult', that they chose to left it half way!

Out of the three students who successfully completed the Gandhi's course is Dr Ram Prasad Pal, who is presently working as the Sub-Associate worker with the Lucknow University.

In conversation with OneIndia, Dr Pal said, "most of the students who took admission in this course belonged from SC/ST castes and there was no fee charged for this course" adding that "many students agreed to do this course in a greed to get scholarships for further studies or they may get an opportunity to go abroad for pursuing higher studies."

But following the footsteps of Gandhiji was so difficult for those students, they could not even embark on a small journey to villages to meet people and help them, then, going to abroad was a long distant dream for such students.

"In first year of the launch of the course, only three students could get through the course, but in next year, not even a single student came forward to join the course", Dr Pal said.

Subsequently, the University had to close the course that it had once started with enthusiasm.

Dr Pal said that it was for the first time in the history of Lucknow University that they had to close any course within a year.

Tears in the eyes of the founder of the Gandhiji's course

The man behind introducing the "PG course on Gandhian thoughts" is Professor Mordhwaj Verma from Lucknow University, who had put all his efforts to make that course a reality. While talking to us on the fate of the course, Prof Verma got teary-eyed and very emotional.

He said, "what can be more ironic for this country when on one side, the University Grants Commission (UGC) gives 12 lakhs every year to Universities and Colleges only to start new courses on the great personalities of the nation, so that the students can imbibe their thought processes and ideologies to become good citizens as well as to do something productive for their country. But, unfortunately, nobody, except a few, wants to read and study about great people of India, because of whom we are here."

However, Prof Verma also said that situation is not as grim in other states. Like Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya, a Central University located in Wardha, Maharashtra and the Panjab University, Chandigarh are some of the universities, that are providing various courses related to the life of the Mahatma Gandhi.

But he is disheartened on the fact that students from Uttar Pradesh are perhaps not, too interested, in knowing about the great life of the Mahatma Gandhi.

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