Gandhi's message still resonates with people

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Old 01-Oct-2011
Gandhi's message still resonates with people

Mumbai: One hundred and forty two years after M. K. Gandhi was born, the Mahatma's ideology of non-violence and conflict resolution is still relevant and effective today, say his staunch followers.

Gandhi's philosophy of peace works and impresses people from every quarter of society including criminals who want to reform, says TRK Somaiya of the Bombay Sarvodaya Mandal. Their constant campaigns have influenced over 1,000 prisoners as well as jail officials from 14 jails across Maharashtra to appear for the Gandhi Peace Examination during the week-long celebration of Gandhi's birthday tomorrow. October 2 is now observed as International Non-Violence Day.

"Throughout the year, around 3,000 jail inmates in remaining jails will appear for the exam and over 15,000 convicts [will] undergo reformation programmes," he added. He said his organisation has been given permission by the inspector general of prisons to conduct the exams as well as hold reform initiatives.

This includes meditation, yoga, Aids prevention, adult education as well as watching films like Gandhi, Do Aankhen Barah Haath, Bapu Ne Kaha Thaa and Lage Raho Munnabhai. "The idea is to give the prisoners an opportunity to repent for their crimes and live as responsible citizens on completing their sentences.

"Gandhiji had tremendous faith in change of heart," says the Gandhian. That is how a hardcore criminal, Laxman Gole, involved in mafia activities transformed his life after reading Gandhi's Autobiography. He has now become an ideal example by becoming a Gandhian practitioner at the Vedzen Institute, propagating Gandhian philosophy in jails.

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