In compliance to the directives received from Head Office regarding commemorating 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi during January, 2019 to 2nd October 2019, Ginning Training Centre, ICAR-CIRCOT, Nagpur invited Dr. Pramod Watkar, Professor and Head, Department of Gandhian Thoughts, Rashtra Sant Tukdoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Nagpur for delivering a speech on “Mahatma Gandhi and Khadi” on Aug 26, 2019.
The program began with ICAR song, Dr. S.K.Shukla, Officer Incharge, GTC, Nagpur welcomed Dr. Watkar by presenting a Rose sapling for plantation. Speaking on this occasion, Dr. Watkar said that Mahatma Gandhi advocated peace and non-violence during a period, which was mired by ultra-nationalism, gross inequalities, and brutalities on colonized societies. He stated that many of us had believe that Gandhism is too idealistic to be practiced in present days. However, we have examples of Martin Luther King Junior and Nelson Mandela, two great leaders who followed Gandhian principles successfully. Addressing the staff in the audience, Dr. Watkar stressed that Mahatma Gandhi was not born great but he achieved greatness because he had faith in self, he was persistent and he learnt from his mistakes. Dr. Watkar spoke that Mahatma Gandhi was a religious person and believed in equal respect for all religions. He had many Christian and Muslim friends, as well as was heavily influenced by Jainism in his youth. It was his conviction that nothing enduring can be built on violence.
He said that Gandhi’s principles could be solution to the religious extremism and terrorism being witnessed worldwide. Mahatma Gandhi stressed on moral education, community work and struggle against political and social oppression. Dr. Watkar further stated that cleanliness and sanitation was very close to heart of Mahatma Gandhi. It is therefore apt that Government of India launched ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ or ‘Clean India Mission’ on his birth anniversary in 2014 with the objective of providing adequate sanitation across India. Mahatma Gandhi always emphasized on adoption of Indian made products and he used Khadi to his entire life.
He also state that during the early first two decades of twentieth century, cotton was exported and re-imported to India as costly finished cloth. The handloom weavers were severely affected duet to this and their economic conditions were poor. In 1918, Mahatma Gandhi started Khadi movement with the ideology of spinning and weaving at village level and to boycott the foreign cloth. The ideology was to create self government and self reliance and to uplift the economic conditions of rural masses.