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Politicos using Gandhian principles to gain personal growth: Gandhi Peace Foundation

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By Gaurav Sharma

In a world torn apart by religious intolerance, ethnic strife and gender discrimination, the Gandhian principles of Truth, Justice, Peace and Non-violence hold much lessons.

While most corporate and social organizations have distanced themselves considerably from the ideals espoused by the Mahatma, Gandhi Peace Foundation, a pioneer organization established in the late 1950’s, has been actively working on a long quest towards propagating the Gandhian ideals.

Surinder Kumar, secretary, Gandhi Peace Foundation caught up with NewsGram in an exclusive interview and vocalized the significance Gandhi holds in the post-modern world.

Gaurav Sharma: Your organization has been lauded for peace initiatives during the turbulent times of war. What is its relevance in the present day?

Surinder Kumar: After the onset of globalization, the world has become smaller by virtue of being well-connected. People belonging to different castes, religions, race and colour, inevitably meet and interact with each other. A lot of times, they harbour misconceptions against people from other backgrounds. The problem of social inequality is deeply ingrained and our organization, through the use of Gandhi ideals, seeks to make a change in the mental outlook of people.

GS: What is the scope of activities that the Gandhi Peace foundation is engaged in?

SK: Apart from intervening in situations of conflict, the foundation goes about its mission in four ways; study, research, communication and action. By organizing major programmes connected to education, social harmony, religious tolerance, environment awareness and sustainable development at the national level, we try to fulfil the aim of a peaceful and inclusive society.

GS: A lot of problems have arisen in India due to religious intolerance. How do you deal with such a complicated issue?

SK: Our job includes both preventive as well as remedial measures. To foster better understanding among people belonging to different faiths, we hold inter-faith prayers, dialogues and other social exchanges such as celebrating different religious festivities– Diwali, Eid, Christmas, Baisakhi, Bodhi day– with the same gusto and elan.

As part of our remedial activities, we hold Shanti Sena camps in areas engulfed by communal violence. For example, we have made significant contributions in the Kokrajhar district of Assam and the Chambal region of Madhya Pradesh.

GS: A lot of politicians are resorting to Dharna as a means of political agitation. Do you see such tactics as working on the Gandhian principle of Satyagraha or peaceful non-cooperation?

SK: Today, all parties are utilizing Gandhian principles as a token to gain personal growth. The concept of rightful means to a rightful end has lost its form and has now become diluted. The present day Satyagraha appropriated by politicians, is devoid of any substance.

GS: How do you visualize the present society with its one-pointed focus on “materialistic consumerism”?

SK: As our society thoughtlessly embraces a consumerist model, we unconsciously march towards self-annihilation. The gap in social inequality is widening, disparity is on the rise and corporates are gaining hegemony.

GS: Gandhiji used to talk about “spiritualizing politics” and harmonization of politics and religion. The current scenario of politics in India is completely antithetical to such an ideal. How do you stem the rot in Indian politics?

SK: Gandhi’s vision of politics was that of Seva or service. Currently, it has become Meva or a money generating instrument. There is need for purification. Power should be handed down to the masses, rather than being usurped by dictatorial politicians.

As part of our drive to root out corruption and religious overtones from politics, we hold regular conferences with political organizations and give our valuable inputs to promote comprehensive thinking and introspection. We continually stress the importance of avoiding discrimination on the basis of one’s faith.

Respecting personal freedom is of paramount importance in building an inclusive and peaceful society.

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Gandhi’s Teachings Still Relevant, Says Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Bezos also announced that they have decided to double down the investment for the streaming service in the country. The evening wrapped up with a soulful Sufi performance by music maestro AR Rahman

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Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and owner of Blue Origin. (Wikimedia commons)

BY SUGANDHA RAWAL 

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos feels his trip to India started off on the right note with kites and says he felt honored to be able to lay a wreath on the memorial of Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi at Raj Ghat in Delhi.

From dressing in ‘desi’ attire to spending time with some kids to showing off his kite-flying skills on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, Bezos made the most of his India trip. He looked back at the time spent in the country during a conversation with superstar Shah Rukh Khan and filmmaker Zoya Akhtar at a glitzy Amazo Prime Video event here.

“Kite flying was fun… Any day when you get fly kite is a good day.. My trip to India started off on the right note with kites,” Bezos said.

Asked about his experience at the Raj Ghat, he said: “It was very peaceful. He truly changed the world and taught us the principle of non-violence. It was a great honour to be there and lay a wreath.”

When SRK asked if Mahatma Gandhi’s teaching still relevant, Bezos said: “It will be relevant forever..They are true but somehow very hard to achieve.”

Jeff Bezos
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos walks onstage in Seattle. Source-VOA

Bezos, who is ranked amongst top most global billionaires, was on a three-day India visit starting from Tuesday. He has been to India several times, and has noticed one thing about the country.

“I noticed certain things that seem to me to be the same. There is so much energy, colour, full of life, and everywhere you go, there is so much diversity…Every time I come here, I find that the people that I talked to, are focused on and interested in being better tomorrow than they are today. Everybody here seems to be focused on self improvement. So, when I come here I get a boost of energy,” he said.

Be in its India slate or global line-up, Amazon has diverse projects added to its library. Bezos says the aim is to make it a ‘talent friendly” studio.

“I think this is a golden age of television. There are really good TV series in terms of quality of the very best movies. Now, the best storytellers are coming to TV. You’re getting the best actors in television. This is one of those businesses where the viewer always look for something a little fresh, so you can never find formula. As soon as you find a formula, it’s not fresh,” he said.

Also Read: Software Giant Microsoft Aims to be ‘Carbon Negative’ by 2030

Bezos continued: “I want us to be known as the most talent friendly studio in the world. And the reason at the end of the day is that it is the talent that makes those stories. Storytelling is the oldest thing that we’ve been doing it.”

“It is one of the hardest things that humans do is tell riveting inspiring stories,” he added.

Bezos also announced that they have decided to double down the investment for the streaming service in the country. The evening wrapped up with a soulful Sufi performance by music maestro AR Rahman. (IANS)