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‘Peace education should be introduced in school curriculum'

S. Kulandaisamy.

Gandhian principles and policies have time tested influence among all sections of the society not only in India, but even in many foreign countries. However many complain that there is not much awareness among the present day youth regarding Gandhian values. To dispel this myth, a whirlwind campaign is being conducted by Gandhi Peace Foundation, Chennai, by organising seminars, interaction sessions, targeting particularly the younger generation. “These campaigns have been evoking overwhelming response and could well realise a sea change in the attitude of the young listeners”, says S. Kulandaisamy, secretary of the Gandhi Peace Foundation in a chat with Syed Muthahar Saqaf.

People world over long for everlasting peace. Understanding this, many foreign countries have been imparting peace education in a scientific manner, Mr. Kulandasamy says and adds that peace education based on the Gandhian principles should be introduced in the school curriculum in the country. Gandhian philosophy evolves a permanent strategy for domestic and international peace. Sustenance is the essence of this amity.

Inclusion of Gandhian philosophy in the curriculum alone will bring about the desired goal of transforming the future citizens as ahimsa followers. A dharmic weapon, there can be no substitute for ahimsa. It will withstand the passage of time, even eras, he feels.

Is Gandhi and his principles still relevant? ‘By all means', pat comes the reply from Mr. Kulandaisamy.

“Peace could be retained all over the world only with the constructive programmes of Gandhiji. Bapu is remembered every now and then, and all sections of the society are of the view that Gandhi's principles alone will hold the world community united and live in a peaceful atmosphere”.

He blames the present day education system for the major ills confronting the society. The current education system is bereft of physical activities and this only leads the youths towards violence. So intensive physical activities should be included in school education as per the wishes of Gandhiji, he feels.

“Education is being thrust on the students, without realising their taste and options. On the other hand Gandhiji's ideology had a double pronged strategy of imparting education with avenues for livelihood. Physical education is not confined to doing drill and playing games.

Vocation based and livelihood oriented activities like looms for spinning khadi, and creativity oriented programmes like gardening should be incorporated in the curriculum”, he says.

Gandhiji always insisted on ‘bread labour'. It means no one has a right to eat unless he has contributed in one way or the other, which is socially beneficial by manual labour. Gandhiji's ‘bread labour' denotes both the duty and the right to work and it also stood for service and sacrifice. This ‘bread labour' concept is the need of the hour for the overall development of the society.

Mr. Kulandaisamy is delighted that Gandhiji is remembered more by foreigners than the Indians. Organisations that function in the name of Gandhiji in countries like Germany, Japan, USA, South Korea, Spain, Portugal, France etc regularly organise programmes to propagate Gandhian principles.

Gandhiji's popularity could also be gauged from the fact that a woman, attracted by the noble thoughts of Gandhiji is single handedly running a museum in Germany to propagate his policies. This museum is visited by a large number of students every day. The programmes regularly held in the museum included lectures and interaction sessions.

The Foundation is running special week long courses on ‘inter-religious understanding and appreciation' and large number of people join this course. Moreover, the Foundation regularly takes school students on exposure visits to religious places and make them interact with the heads of different religions, Mr. Kulandaisamy said while explaining the activities of the Foundation to promote Gandhian philosophy.

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