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Interview With PV Rajagopal

Interview With PV Rajagopal

Gandhi's philosophy is the only way out to face current challenges: P V Rajagopal

The controversial remarks of Union Minister Anurag Thakur and BJP MP Parvesh Verma have initiated a debate in the country on the relevance of Mahatma Gandhi and his principles in today's scenario. Two days after the controversial ‘goli maaro' remarks of Thakur, a young man brandished a gun at protestors in Jamia on Jan 30. Protests are being held in different parts of the country against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, NPR and NRC even as India celebrates 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi who got India independence through non-violent means.

Anju Grover for Indian Currents spoke to noted Gandhian P V Rajagopal to understand the relevance of Gandhi's principles of peace and non-violence in India. A strong advocate of Gandhian principles of truth and non-violence, Rajagopal suggests that the government should take initiative in this regard. Issues like JNU, Shaheen Bagh protest, financial issues and government's actions have caught the attention of the international community due to which India's reputation is at stake. India can play an important role by offering its deep understanding of peace and non-violence for dealing with global issues like poverty, inequality and violence, said Gandhian activist.

IC: What is the relevance of Gandhi and his principles in today's India and the world?

P V Rajagopal: Poverty, Inequality, climate crisis and violence are serious challenges before the world now. Capitalism and Communism cannot meet these challenges. Gandhi's philosophy is the only way out to face these challenges. Gandhi said that need based lifestyle reduce climate crisis. Gandhi also said that an eye for an eye will only make the world blind and instead develop non-violent dialogue possibility to solve the problem. Non-violence is in our DNA, unlike others. The world is in crisis and India should offer its deep understanding of non-violence to the world at large.

I am taking this message from Delhi to Geneva through Jai Jagat 2020, as part of 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi's birth. The 14,000 km walk started from New Delhi on October 2 last year will reach Geneva by October 2020.

IC: What should be done to bring peace in the country?

We need to tell the world that non-violence is the only tool to fight against naxalism or terrorism. Mahatma Gandhi had followed the path of non-violence during the freedom struggle and got India independence.

IC: How would react to Union Minister Anurag Thakur leading ‘goli maaro' chant?

It is time for the BJP to take action against leaders like Pragya Thakur, Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma or it will send across the message that BJP believes in violence and resorts to violent activity.

IC: Protest at Shaheen Bagh against the Citizenship Amendment Act is more than six weeks now. Your views.

The leaderless campaign is not a good idea. Every movement should have a direction. There should be a group of leaders to organise it in a better way for the welfare of society. I hope the state (Central government) will appreciate spirit of the protestors at Shaheen Bagh and not allow it to stretch too far. A peaceful protest becomes violent when no political leader or government representative meets protestors, leading to frustration or violence. In such a situation, a signal goes that nonviolence does not work and has no future.

IC: A man brandished a gun at anti CAA protestors in Jamia on Thursday which led to a war of words between pro and anti-CAA protestors. Your comments.

This is a clever way to intervene by the state. It is difficult to break any peaceful protest and however, effort is always made to instigate protestors so that they resort to violence and state gets an opportunity to use the police force.

Also, arms lobby has always encouraged people to pick up arms. Incidents like this boost the morale of arms lobby to promote the sale of arms and ammunition. So, let’s not give in to small incidents like a man brandishing gun at protestors.

IC: The government has taken a hard stand on CAA issue. The possibility of a dialogue between anti-CAA protestors and the government looks remote at the moment. Mahatma Gandhi had always insisted on holding a dialogue to solve any problem. Your views.

The ruling coalition's line of defence is that CAA was part of the manifesto. But the point is that manifesto cannot be more important than the Constitution. The government should not try to bulldoze people on the ground that it has a majority in Lok Sabha. The government should reach out to the poor and minority.

IC: Is democracy under threat in Mahatma's India?

The current dispensation should look within itself and redirect their governance system to win back trust of people because people are living under fear.

(Published on 03rd February 2020, Volume XXXII, Issue 06)