NATIONAL WOMEN’S ORGANIZATION
Reg: No. Mah/735/99, Pune exemption on U/S 80-g of the IT Act 1961
ON THE occasion of Punyateethi of Mahatma Gandhi
A SEMINAR- CUM- PANEL DISCUSSION
Topic: Gandhiji on Science, Spirituality, Development and Environment
Date: 30th January 2016; Time: 10 am to 4 pm.
Place: Gandhi National Memorial, Society, Agakhan Palace, Nagar Road, Pune -411006.
National Women’s Organization, Pune in collaboration with Gandhi National Memorial Society, Pune, like in the previous years organized a meeting-cum-panel discussion on the topic ‘Gandhiji on Science, Spirituality, Development and Environment’ at Gandhi National Memorial, Agakhan Palace, Nagar Road, Pune on 30th January 2016 to pay tribute our beloved Bapuji on the occasion of his death anniversary. The meeting-cum-panel discussion was chaired by Padmabhushan Smt Shobhna Tai Ranade, Secretary, SNMS, Agakhan Palace,Pune. Hon’ble Justice Shri P.B.Sawant(Retd.Supreme Court Judge) was the chief guest.
The meeting commenced with prayers and was followed by introductory speech by Smt Rama Rauta, President National Women’s Organization and Founder & Convener of Save Ganga Movement.
1. Smt Rama Rauta
She gave a report of the previous years with respect to `Save Ganga’ activities. She spoke the principles and teachings of Gandhiji in preserving environment while doing development. She said that we should convert our villages into ideal places for leading enlightened ethical life of simple living and high thinking in an atmosphere of natural purity and beauty with loving care of the countless kinds of flora and fauna of our life-giving & life-sustaining aesthetically and religiously invaluable natural eco systems, with the help of the Gandhian conceptions of village Swaraj, Swadeshi, dignified body-labor, Sarvodaya, Satyagraha, rural serving/ friendly eco-friendly industrialization and urbanization, character-building ethics education, etc .The Gandhian alternative to the form of development of the present fundamentally materialistic, extremely eco-hostile and out-and-out consumerist global market culture of unlimited desires for wealth and luxuries, essentially involves retelling the basic ethics of our civilization as well as all great religions in the context of our technological age, and is the surest and perhaps the only solution to our impending catastrophic global ecological crisis.
She also said that a consortium IITs have made a Ganga Basin Management Plan for purifying Ganga and things are already in a happening mode. Her courage in leading this movement for last over 20 years was greatly appreciated by all.
2. Pujya Swami Radheshyam das, President, ISKCON, NVCC, Pune
`Now we can fly like a butterfly and swim like a fish’ indicating that technology has gifted us airplanes and submarines. Another scientist said, “only we can’t walk like a human being due to terrible air pollution.” ! The terrible air-water-land-rivers pollution is mainly due to unclean hearts, which propel a human to exhibit his lust, anger and greed for money and selfish enjoyment. Such uncleanliness of heart can be cleaned only by practicing and cultivating values as Gandhi did.
The Gandhian thought is what made Gandhi so famous, as he aligned himself with morals, values, character and pure principles of scriptures. He was called a `saint among politicians’.
Gandhi said that there are seven sins in the world:
1. wealth without work – Gambling
2. pleasure without conscience – Abortion after adultery
3. knowledge without character – modern education oriented to money making, not man making
4. commerce without morality – exorbitant profits and monopoly of Super Shopping malls
5. science without humanity – Atom bomb and Nuclear explosions
6. worship without sacrifice – Religious processions without food distribution and charity to poor
7. politics without principle – exploiting the lower nature of people promising opening liquor shops
To teach the people counteract the above sins, Gandhi exhibited personal values, interpersonal values, social values and spiritual values so powerfully that he became popularly known as Bapu and father of nation.
Integrity – he promised and kept it, that he’ll not take meat/wine during his barrister study.
Thrift – he was against extravagant spending; one day he asked his servant to find out a small pencil which was hidden in a file. Servant couldn’t find it and brought a new one, which Gandhi refused to accept and at last servant found the old one and Gandhi was happy. He never liked wasting God given gifts.
Tolerance and cool head – once an inimical gentleman in a ship wanted to make Gandhi angry; he drew some crude drawings of Gandhi looking like a monkey pinned them together and gave him, saying, “I am giving you something valuable. Keep it.” Later the man found those pages in dustbin and he became wild. Gandhi with a cool head showed him that the pin was only valuable thing he found which he had kept in his purse!
He also sought to reconstitute the Relations between FACT and VALUE, SCIENCE and RELIGION in his method. By insisting that scientists are to provide MEANING to what they do, he made clear that he was not interested in mere technical solutions to a problem.The role of a scientist lay not in the realm of fact alone but in creating meaning (value). To him they were not to be separated. Sahasrabuddhe has also explicated this aspect of the importance of the creation of meaning in his analysis of the Gandhian concept of technology-practice.
Gandhi led nationwide campaigns for the alleviation of poverty, for the liberation of women, for brotherhood amongst differing religions and ethnicities, for an end to untouchability and caste discrimination, and for the economic self-sufficiency of the nation, but above all for Swaraj – the independence of India from foreign domination.
Throughout his life, Gandhi remained committed to non-violence and truth even in the most extreme situations. A student of Hindu philosophy, he lived simply, organizing an ashram that was self-sufficient in its needs. Making his own clothes – the traditional Indian dhoti and shawl woven with a charkha, he lived on a simple vegetarian diet.
Spiritual values :
Gandhi was deeply inspired by two characters in his life when he saw a drama – one was Harishchandra from which he learned Truthfulness even in difficult circumstances. Another was of Lord Rama, whose obedience to his father and going to forest for 14 years, loyalty to one wife, love and affection for his brothers, compassion to even animals like Jatayu, Hanuman etc, equality to even lowborn persons like Guha etc. Gandhi was deeply touched by these and desired that every Indian imbibe these noble values and virtues to live a happy life now and forever.
3. Pujya Swami Siddheshananda, Head, Cinmaya Mission, Pune
When we get holiday, where do we go? We go where there are no humans, Conference, TV, Cars, Movies etc to a natural setting, which is God’s gift.
We are fed up with manmade things and we want to see Godmade nature. We want to go where man’s blunders are not there. Similarly, Ganga and other rivers will heal themselves and become pure, provided man stops creating disturbance for them by pollution and take his hands off and go far away. Man has to just get out.
Although man considers himself the `crown of creation’, he creates fear in hearts of all by creating situations that does not allow the world live peacefully. Everything in creation brings out its inherent beauty. For example, a rose seed blossoms to grow, not because somebody will click photo. Similarly man has to blossom one’s beautiful nature within; saintly persons are like farmers who can help us blossom. If we create trouble to nature, she is mother and will tolerate for some time, but if we continue disturbing more and more, then she will respond with floods and Tsunamis to teach us the right behavior.
People need living examples and Gandhi was one such leader who charmed hearts of millions by his character, purity, saintliness and selfless dedication. See what potential God has hidden within you without making unhealthy comparisons with others. Blossom it and bring out the fragrance. Then we can make everyone happy.
4. Dr. Samprasad Vinod, Yoga Foundation, Pune
`Cite vaacakriyaanaamca, sadhoonamekaroopatha’ – Why millions run behind one man Gandhi? Because he had integrity. When a man makes his thought, word and deed in one line, he has integrity. Yoga means we have to recognize soul’s servitor ship to Super soul.
Gandhi was an idealist and practicalist with a solid spiritual foundation. Any program, he said, should be done by keeping the most downtrodden man in society. He always thought of good wishes for all genuinely. Therefore there was strength in his plans and speech.
Gandhi never thought himself a mahatma, nor tried to become one; others recognized him so.
When you hear, better than that when you see an example, better when you practice by doing after seeing an example, then you can cultivate positive vrttis more powerfully.
5. Hon’ble Justice Shri P.B.Sawant (Retd. Supreme Court Judge )
Man’s ungratefulness to nature started from Industrial Revolution. Instead of sucking breasts man is biting breast of mother Nature. E.g. Erection of Atomic plants instead of Solar.
Prof. Toyanbee, great Philosopher and historian said, “Whole world will have to adopt Indian way of living sooner or later.” Raw instinct of Greed is excessive Consumption and Destruction of Environment, which challenges survival of the planet itself. For the luxury and comfort of 20% elite people, the 80% people are suffering along with the environment of whole earth.
This country, India, has shown practically how it is possible to combine Human development and pristine Environment. We only deal with consequences, not causes. Consumerism is fuelled by economic system, which cannot survive without fuelling greed. It is in pursuit of profit that a Entrepreneur embarks on a business, not service to society. He is not concerned with people or environment; his eye is on people’s purse and his own purse!
All happiness depends upon what humans consume and what he leaves in nature. Based on the principle of Gandhi’s teachings, general common man should consume only what is necessary for their survival and consume simple things. Muster up courage to consume for comfortable living, not extravagant living.
Some practical solutions: a) Minimize consumption and practice simplicity b) Science for bettering life and promoting environment wellbeing c)Production of dangerous goods like weapons and drugs should be criminally punished d) Commercial culture should be substituted by life of contentment and preserving environment e) 78% people are below poverty line; if we have misery around us, will you be happy in island of prosperity in midst of ocean of poverty?
Let us pursue this in a humble way and develop it everywhere in a big way in future.
We enjoy first and we dump in nature when problems come. We don’t do what should be done; we do what should not be done. First we create problems; then we solve. External and Internal life is not straight; it is twisted, so we suffer; we have to work on that. It is difficult to be simple. If we solve our own problem, then everything else will be alright.
6. Dr. S.N. Kaul, Retd. Senior Scientist, NEERI, Nagpur
He presented information about centers in India which do Rain water harvesting and preserve huge quantities of rain water. He spoke about conservation of energy.
7. Dr.Mangesh Kashyap, SEERAM, Pune
He gave a ppt presentation on SMART VILLAGE, a concept which combines the benefits of Technology and Tradition. His illustrations showed how people in village can take advantage of Technology to ensure, Self Sufficiency, Spotless Management, Virtual Classrooms for Education and Employment. The organic farming, Rainwater harvesting, Bio gas, cow protection etc coupled with technological devices helps farmers to perform their activities with much ease and less anxiety.
8. Dr. T.K. Ghosh, Retd. Senior Scientist, NEERI, Nagpur
Based on Environmental Status Reports, published annually by Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) the issues to be noted are:
- Maximum Biochemical Oxygen Demands (BODs) of major surface water bodies of this region are: Pawna river 46 mg/L; Indrani river 51 mg/L; Mula river 40 mg/L; Mutha river 104 mg/L. The same for the lakes are; Durgadevi 14, Ganesh 14, Bird valley 9, Bhosari 9 and Moshi 30 mg/L. It may be mentioned that surface water quality standard of BOD, at least for bathing purpose, is 3 mg/L. Various nullahs carrying wastes, having BOD 31-60 mg/L join these rivers. The situation is alarming and need immediate attention.
- As per the data generated by Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), often particulate matters and NO2 in air of the city are also high. Maximum values of PM10, Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM) and NO2 are reported as 124 (standard 100), 157 (standard 60) and 63 (standard 40) µg/m3 respectively.
- It is suggested to adopt the wetland technology, as followed in Kolkata for treatment of city sewage. The East Kolkata Wetlands, having the area of 125 km2 in the outskirt of the city, treats one-third of the city sewage through 264 fish ponds since 1918. The nutrient rich effluents of the ponds are used to irrigate nearby paddy fields. The neighbouring area is also solid waste dumping ground (2500 MT/day) since 1876. The organic matters of the solid wastes are also utilised as fertilizers of various crops.
- Through above integrated approach of waste recycling, the productions are: Fish 11,000MT/year; Paddy 15,000 MT/ year and vegetables 150 MT/ per day. One-third of the demand of fish of Kolkata city is fulfilled through this recycled city sewage.
- This system provides livelihood of about 20,000 families and the wetland, which is potentially reach in biodiversity, has been designated as Ramsar Convention Site in 2003.
9. Smt. Shobhna Tai Ranade
She expressed her delight in welcoming all participants to Agakhan palace. She told how Vinobhabhaveji, her guru, gave her the seva of taking care of Agakhan palace and she invited all to have regular meetings every year. She was thankful for the special talks by guests which she said were immensely beneficial.
Let us complete the unfinished work of Mahatma Gandhi , the apostle of Truth and non-violence of our age, and save India and through it the world at large from the impending catastrophic global ecological crisis along with the present all pervasive deep rooted moral and spiritual crisis. Let India, the land of many great religions, provide the world a culture of non-violence and Truth in the context of our present technological age, where all religions would grow harmoniously with reference to morality and spirituality in spite of their differences in the realm of metaphysics on the basis of the knowledge about their fundamental ethical unity and truth and the central place of ethics in religious life, where science and technology would be used for development only within the limits of ethics, where development would take place with loving care of the invaluable countless kinds of flora and fauna of our life-giving & life-sustaining aesthetically and religiously invaluable natural systems. Surely Maharastra, the land of so many great saints and social reformers, has the moral and spiritual resources to provide the nation an ideal example of such a culture. Let Maharashtra provide the nation an example of an ethically enlightened, loving, caring, compassionate, equitable and eco-friendly culture of rural centric& serving industrialization and urbanization based on the eternal and universal ethical principles of Truth and non-violence. Let us convert the rural Maharashtra into an ideal place for leading enlightened ethical life of simple living and high thinking in an atmosphere of natural purity and beauty with the help of the Gandhian conceptions of village Swaraj, Swadeshi , sarvodaya, satyagraha, dignified body labor, rural serving/centric eco-friendly industrialization and urbanization, character-building ethics education, etc . To begin with let Maharashtra implement as soon as possible the Pune 30th January “Save Rivers of Maharashtra Resolution” which has been unanimously passed every year since30th January 2011 in our 30th January Function, which is held every year since2000 on the occasion of Punyatithi of Mahatma Gandhi at Gandhi National Memorial, Agakhan Palace, Pune. (“Save Rivers of Maharashtra Resolution” is available in our website, www. savegangamovement.org.)
Smt Rama Rauta
Founder & Convener, Save Ganga Movement
President, National Women’s Organization, Pune
Website: www.savegan gamovement.org
(The report is based on the Notes taken by Pujya Swami Radheyshyam Das Prabhuji, ISKCON, Pune)
Organized as a part of Save Ganga Movement by National Women’s Organization, Pune in Collaboration with Gandhi National Memorial Society, Agakhan Palace, Pune
Co-Organizer: Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth /Papal Seminary, Ramawadi, Nagar Road, Pune
Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute, Pune
Chinmaya Mission, Pune