GUWAHATI: Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy on Friday inaugurated the International conference on “Mahatma Gandhi’s Vision and Contemporary Political Leadership in North East India” at the University of Science & Technology Meghalaya (USTM) premises in Nine Mile here amidst eminent Gandhian scholars and reputed academicians from India and abroad.
Organised by the International Centre for Gandhian Studies (ICGS), a research centre of the USTM, the two-day conference is being participated by more than hundred scholars, academicians and intellectuals from different parts of the country and also from a few other countries like Bangladesh, Australia, USA and Singapore.
Tushar Arun Gandhi, the great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and Chairman of Mahatma Gandhi Foundation, Prof Sudarshan Iyengar, renowned Gandhian and former Vice Chancellor, Gujarat Vidyapith, Dr. Liaquat Ali, Vice Chancellor, Bangladesh University of Health Sciences, Dhaka, Prof. B. Khadria, Chairman, Zakir Hussain Centre, JNU also addressed the conference, apart from others.
Addressing the inaugural session, Tushar Arun Gandhi said, “Since many years, political leadership in India has been party based, instead of having broad nationalistic view. Bapu’s ideals must be adopted in our nature and not simply in references. If we cannot do this, it is disrespect to him.” He said that people should not keep themselves in narrow nationalistic borders. “We should never forget his Talisman and should recall the face of the poorest and the weakest whenever we think of doing something.
Earlier, inaugurating the conference, Tathagata Roy, Governor of Meghalaya said that Gandhiji not only gave India its freedom but also gave the world a new thought on nonviolence and sustainable living. His teachings and experiments are more valid today than ever before, especially when we are trying to find solutions to worldwide greed, corruption, and violence.The Governor appreciated USTM’s effort towards research on Gandhiji.
Noted Gandhian Prof Sudarshan Iyengar emphasized on the concept of “servant leadership” of Mahatma Gandhi and said that when the problem is related to racial discrimination, it transcends individual level. He also said that reconciliation of unlimited wants with peace is not possible.
Welcoming the august gathering, Dr Alaka Sarma, who is also the Director of ICGS and Pro VC, USTM, stated, “This conference will help us to explore the shortcoming of our strategies to reach out to the poorest of the poor of the north-eastern region and the way forward to achieve the development based on the vision of Mahatma Gandhi. We feel that Mahatma Gandhi is most relevant today than ever before and more so in the north-eastern region than anywhere else in India.”
In his address, M Hoque, Chancellor, USTM said that there is an urgent need to rekindle Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence, peace, brotherhood and unity among the diverse people with varied culture, community and areas of this country. “Now is the time to inculcate the philosophy of this great man among the masses”, he said. The Conference has been organized on the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Papers are being presented by participants on themes like Peace and Conflict, Rural Economy, Cooperative Federalism, Social Cohesion, Cattle Protection, Industrialization, Infrastructure Development, Political Ideology, Religion and Society, Gender Issues in Society, Law and Justice, Cultural Nationalism, Media and Social Change, Ethics and Morality, Decolonization, Hind Swaraj, from Swaraj to Suraj. Dr Sanjib Goswami, Adjunct Prof. USTM and co-convenor of the conference delivered the vote of thanks at the end of the inaugural session.