Gandhi's teachings can transform society: JGU VC

Sonipat (Haryana), Aug 26 (IANS) The importance of Mahatma Gandhi's principles of truth, non-violence, compassion and kindness for sustainable peace were once again underscored during the 'World Youth Conference on Kindness' at the O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) here.

The Conference brought together many young leaders and experts from around the world to draw from Gandhi's ideas of non-violence to transform their societies. As an institutional partner for the conference, JGU also hosted over 100 youth leaders from across the world for three days for an international workshop.

In his opening remarks, Professor C. Raj Kumar, Founding Vice Chancellor of JGU, articulated the importance of Gandhi's ideas of peace, kindness, truth, and non-violence as the revolutionary anchors needed for transforming societies towards sustainable peace.

"Gandhi is an undying reminder of how one person can inspire a community, a nation, and the world. His learnings, need to be built into our education systems and exemplified in our daily lives, if real societal change is to be achieved," he noted.

Professor Kumar also drew an interesting comparison of kindness with the concept of Ubuntu, a traditional African philosophy that preaches 'I am what I am because of who we all are.' Signifying that there exists a common bond between all of us as humanity and it is through this bond and through our interaction with our fellow human beings, that we discover our own human qualities. The philosophy of Ubuntu is the only hope for humanity.

"We only affirm our humanity when we acknowledge that of others. It is the quality of Ubuntu, which gives people resilience, and enables them to survive and emerge as stronger human beings despite all efforts to dehumanise them. Gandhi knew it and was always conscious of it. The concept of Ubuntu epitomises the theme of today's conference on kindness," Raj Kumar said.

He said despite a sense of helplessness and at times, even hopelessness, it is in moments of despair that one needs to be reminded of the prophetic words of Nelson Mandela who said: "I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one's head pointed toward the sun, one's feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair, as that way lay defeat and death."

The Vice-Chancellor was optimistic and expressed faith in the younger generation to be able to confront the large set of dehumanising values and see the kindness in everything around.

--IANS

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