Gandhi on the path of Sustainable Development

Be the change you want to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi was once asked if he expected India to rise to the economic standards of Britain and he replied, “It took Britain half the resources of the planet to achieve this prosperity. How many planets will a country like India require?” Known for his outspoken attitude on India’s industrious future, he always stressed on our rich heritage, history, bounty of mother nature and how the protection of these resources is responsible for India’s future success. “From the very beginning man has taken only what he needed. Today every man’s need is his greed”, which is one of the greatest mistakes of mankind, also pointed out by our Bapu.

Attending a conference on ‘Gandhi and the Value of Sustainable development’ in Bangalore, it was motivating to witness the resurrection of Gandhi along with his pearls of wisdom which made me, think would Gandhi be happy with our country today? Is this what he envisioned? My guess is that maybe he just needed to remind us of what is happening, what he predicted-and that he was right all along.

Sustainable development in villages is one of the biggest issues today, something that modern India is yet to realise and wake up to. The employment and empowerment of the rural sector is urgent with over 60% of India’s population situated in villages. The Millennium Development Goals (UN) introduced in 2000 have been a disappointment, their extension of each deadline is not going to help and with the population of the world officially marked 7 billion, I wish them all the luck.

Gandhi was known for the use of chakra for khadi which heralded the swadeshi movement giving way for the sustainable movement in India. The ability of a sustainable livelihood of this manner gave an empowerment like no other, and led to a significant increase in employment, especially uprising of indigenous cultures most all off – Hope. He believed in manual labour and said that that mass production should be need based only. Gandhi believed in toiling for your money pointing out that, “Production should be by masses and not through mass production which leads to greed and poverty.”

Another major contributing factor which I hold the man in highest honour is the emancipation of women. Gandhi as a leader saw that women of India were largely uneducated and stuck as victims of traditions in illiteracy, child marriage and sati. He viewed women as one of the major contributors towards development and education and was noted to encourage schools and institutions for enrolling women. For a family to be educated and well-learned it comes from the mothers first. “If a woman is educated in the family, the entire family will be literate“.

Gandhi sought to resolve issues still widely persistent today – Health, education, child care, gender issues, environment sustainability and bridging the gap between the rich and poor. This mind you was introduced by the UN more than 50 years later. Gandhi’s method of resolving problems was being physically present – Going village to village door to door listening to people’s problems, understanding them and finding solutions. Something that is unthinkable with our netas today who do not think development should be in the interest of the poor and rural.

He opened the door of education, he emphasized on sustainable livelihood and environment protection and He put India on the global map.

More to come.

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