Ghandi ‘would have criticised social networking culture’

2012-01-31 10:09

Mahatma Gandhi would be very critical of today’s social networking

culture, encouraging an anti-social lifestyle instead.

That is the view of his only grandchild currently living in South

Africa, Ela Gandhi, who is also involved in the Gandhi Development Trust started

in the country 10 years ago in an effort to preserve the Gandhi legacy.

The trust, together with the Gandhi family, the Indian Consulate,

as well as Hindu organisations, held a function last night to observe the day of

Gandhi’s assassination 64 years ago.

While in previous years this was done through a prayer service

involving religious leaders of different faiths saying a prayer, last night the

prayers were presented in the form of cultural items.

Said Ela Gandhi: “Gandhiji said when people passed on, we don’t

mourn their deaths. We celebrate their lives by learning the virtues they lived

by and taught so that their memory can survive. That is why as an organisation

we want to continue to observe his death in order to promote the values of

non-violence, compassion, sharing and caring for all lives and the earth, as he


“They are basic values but with a very deep meaning that needs to

be unpacked and understood,” she said.

Gandhi said her grandfather was opposed to technology. But this

does not mean that he was against information.

“He believed that life should be made simple for people but he was

opposed to replacing people with machinery. He believed in human contact, that

is what builds relationships. Through interaction, you start seeing things from

different perspectives, which is why diversity is so important.”

While she only met him once when she was only seven years old, what

she loved about her grandfather as a little girl was his warmth.

“He gave his attention completely unlike parents today whose

interaction with their children is with a phone on the other hand. When you

spoke to him, he really listened irrespective of how sensible it was.

He wouldn’t ask you to do something he wouldn’t do himself. His

motto was ‘learn from my life and not what I say’, which is what I’ve tried to

do with my children.”

In his memorial lecture, Dr Agostinho Zacarias, the United Nations

Development Programme’s resident representative in South Africa, described

Mahatma Gandhi as a man of great achievement and of noble teachings that led one

of the great nations of our time to independence and sowed the seeds for the

largest democracy in the world which has led more than one billion people to

peace and prosperity.

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