03-OCT-2020: Gandhi Jayanti celebrations at Dept of English
Aligarh, October 3: "Mahatma Gandhi was at his intense best when dealing with illness and epidemics, finding specific, practical and demanding 'solutions', in which the enforcing of hygiene regimes was central," said Shri Tushar Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi's great-grandson.
He was speaking at the two-day International Webinar to commemorate Gandhi Jayanti, organised by the Department of English, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).
Talking on 'Gandhian Ways in Times of Pandemic', Tushar Gandhi recalled the plague pandemic and Spanish Flu during which Mahatma Gandhi led people to fight against the disease and infection with compassion, team-work, hygiene and strict adherence to the rules.
He discussed how Covid pandemic is making people suffer with mental trauma and suggested useful ways to reach out to those who are locked up in their residences since the coronavirus outbreak.
"There is a need to provide the suffering people with food and basic necessities and introspect and move ahead with positivity," said Tushar Gandhi.
He added that six months have so far been wasted in grievances and it is high time that we start using this time as an opportunity to contemplate and do good work for the society and the world.
"Soon the pandemic will be over and cure will be available. We need to be positive and pick up Gandhiji's positive ways to live with dignity in this difficult time," he pointed out.
In the presidential address, AMU Vice Chancellor, Prof Tariq Mansoor discussed the Spanish Flu and its impact.
He emphasised that there are lessons that can be taken from the Spanish influenza pandemic almost a century ago.
Prof Mansoor pointed out that the public health measures we see being enacted today across the world as efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus are one of the Spanish flu's most enduring effects.
He gave examples of different kind of prejudices among the people during the time of Spanish flu and plague in European countries.
On the second day of programme, the key speaker, Prof Paul Bueno de Mesquita (Director URI Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies, University of Rhode Island, USA) spoke on 'Transformational Nonviolence of Gandhi and King: Their Contributions to Human Evolution and Responding to Today's Global Challenges'.
Prof Mesquita presented photographs, quotations and data to compare the life and struggle of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr..
He gave insights on how Gandhiji's philosophy was an amalgam of the best values of all the religions and ideologues like Ruskin and enlightened on the ways in which Martin Luther King Jr. was inspired by Gandhi.
Prof Mesquita mapped the entry of nonviolence and peace as axes of Gandhi's worldview through the works Adin Ballou and Leo Tolstoy.
Presiding over the lecture, AMU Pro Vice Chancellor, Prof Zaheeruddin stressed the need of more such lectures to understand great thinkers and ideologies of the world.
"In course of time, the Gandhian way of struggle against exploitation turned into a politically methodology in itself, inspiring several other revolutionaries around the world who dreamt of challenging the powerful," said the Pro Vice Chancellor.
Welcoming the speakers on both days of the webinar, Prof M Rizwan Khan, Chairman, Department of English highlighted that Mahatma Gandhi believed that education leads to self realisation and Sir Syed Ahmed Khan's self realisation led to the founding of AMU.
He pointed out that AMU teachers are fortunate to tread the path of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and the teachings of Gandhiji.
Prof Khan also conducted the programme, while Prof Shaheena Tarannum introduced the guest speakers. Prof Vibha Sharma hosted the sessions.
Prof Masud A Alavi, Dean, Faculty of Arts attended the webinar on both days.
Prof Seemin Hasan and Prof S N Zeba extended the vote of thanks.
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