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Gandhi marches on in Champaran

NEWSnet Desk | January 13, 2012 | Comments (0)

It’s a festival which has the rural Panchayats in backward North Bihar re-learning about the relevance of Mahatma Gandhi and his thoughts on Swaraj-self governance.

The Gandhi Film Festival, started January 8  continues to reach out to hundreds of people across Champaran district in North Bihar.

Street Theatre team perform in Murli Bharahwa village

“It’s more than a mere film festival,” explains Ashok Choubey, the team leader and coordinator. “It’s an entire day of awareness on issues that Mahatma Gandhi stood for. There are street plays on current issues such as Right to Education, Right to information, and health and hygiene. There is a reading of ‘Champaran gatha’… the works that Gandhiji performed in Champaran during the freedom struggle. Then there are films, mainly documentaries on Gandhi’s life, or on different examples of villages success with self-governance.

The unique feature of this campaign is the active participation of the village heads, the Mukhiyas and the local rural gentry. The hospitality of the visiting team, consisting of volunteers and the street theatre team fron Jan Shikshan Bhawan is borne by the village. The local village representatives participate in the discussions and speeches.

Chotelal Soni , a teacher, narrating Champaran Gatha In Belwa village

Mr Birendra Soni, the brain behind the scenes, who is currently making efforts to establish the Gandhi College of Social Work in the area believes that the time has come to make every person in rural  Champaran aware of Gandhian principles of development. “It’s not as though we are saying that Gandhi is a God, and that everythinh he said is sacred. We are saying that Gandhi made a lot of sense, so we should take a look at his life and philosophy, and accept what is relevant. Gandhi wasn’t a person who had a closed mindset, but he spoke about the cautious application of technology, so that the village would prosper,” he says.

The festival is being organised by The Gandhi Shodh Sansthan [Bhitiharwa] – Bharat Yatra Trust [Delhi] with local and logistical support from Jan Shiksha Bhawan [Rampurwa], ACT India [Delhi], ACT, [Patna] Gandhi Research Foundation, Jalgaon and others.

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