Students step into Gandhiji’s shoes and ‘let him talk’

January 30th, 2009 - 6:51 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 30 (IANS) Students at Jawaharlal Nehru University here Thursday resorted to a novel way of voicing their thoughts on various issues ranging from terrorism to recent economic scandals. Donning his shoes - quite literally, dozens of them echoed Gandhi’s famed quotes.Students were given this novel opportunity at the launch of the Let Gandhi Talk campaign, an initiative of Publisis India and NGO

As part of the campaign, people from different walks of life were called upon to step into a large sized replica of Gandhi’s slippers (khadaus) and speak out a quote of Mahatma Gandhi that communicated the message of non-violence.

Eager speakers approached the centrally located microphone echoing their own thought on various issues quoting Gandhi.

“Handsome is not he who is handsomely clothed, handsome is he who handsome does,” said Jasmeet, a postgraduate student.

Another student Sudipto, vehemently criticised the media’s stand in society. Quoting Gandhi, he said: “Journalism should never be prostituted for selfish ends or for the sake of merely earning livelihood or, worse still, for amassing wealth.”

The chief guest for the event was DTC bus-driver Kuldeep Singh, who Oct 29, 2005, had spotted a bomb inside his bus and picked it up to throw it outside. His bravery and presence of mind saved the lives of over 50 people but took away his vision completely.

“Hate the sin… love the sinner,” said Singh quoting the Mahatma.

“If people know and follow Gandhi’s words, maybe my prayer that terrorism be wiped off completely may be fulfilled,” Singh told IANS.

“Leaders are not ready to listen to you. Terrorists are not really people who you can have a conversation with. So we thought, what if Gandhi were to talk to them - we decided to co-create this campaign with the people,” said Emaanuel Upputuru, national creative director, Publisis India.

Huge placards showing Gandhi in conversation with terrorist Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, Satyam chief Ramalingam Raju, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, former US president George W. Bush and many more, were placed around the venue. Students flocked around with thumb-sized stickers and paste the ‘apt one’s’ in Gandhi’s speech bubble in his own words.

“I think I will be kind to (Ramalingam) Raju,” said a student as she pasted a speech bubble saying ‘hate the sin, love the sinner’ in Gandhi’s conversation with the disgraced Satyam chief who is facing prosecution in a Rs.70 billion ($ 1.43 billion) fraud.

“As part of the campaign, we are also getting a petition signed in the form of a large postcard to the president, requesting that Gandhi’s message of peace be accommodated next to his picture on currency notes. So that as currency notes pass hands so does his message of peace and harmony,” informed Shailendra Uniyal, founder of NGO

Nandita Das also arrived at the scene and made a brief but effective speech adding in Gandhi’s words that it was necessary to “be the change you want to see in the world”.

“The campaign will travel across the country in places that have witnessed violence of any kind such as Bangalore, places in Orissa, Jaipur and so on and finally culminating at Mumbai,” Uniyal said.

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