March 13, 2021 3:56:40 am
EVEN AS Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the “Dandi march” launching the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ from Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad Friday, students and faculty from Gujarat Vidyapith, founded by Mahatma Gandhi on October 18, 1920 that recently completed its 100 years, felt “left out” with not much involvement in the event.
The only involvement of the vidyapith in the event related was that Modi’s event was live screened in its auditorium, where students and faculty members watched it, in presence of Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja and Member of Parliament Hasmukh Patel.
The Vidyapith, that played an important role in Gandhi’s ‘Dandi March’, had 10-member teams called ‘Arun Tukdi’ that would walk the route before the march led by Gandhi reached. Ghulam Rasul Qureshi, father of the late chairman of the Sabarmati Ashram Hamid Qureshi, was part of the Arun Tukdi.
A 1988 publication of the Gujarat state information department on the Dandi march titled ‘Dandi kooch’ chronicling its every move, mentions how Gandhi stopped by the Vidyapith and was welcomed by writer Narhari Parikh,
then associated with the institution.
“It was tasked with preparing each village before the Dandi yatra reaches there and also to conduct a survey of these villages covering its population and cattle, use and sale of Khadi, main occupation and facilities of education and other facilities for untouchables. Thus this set of information was used during Gandhiji’s yatra. Also, to spread awareness about Dandi Kooch in surrounding areas, six groups of students and teachers were formed that spread in different districts,” Gujarat University Vice Chancellor Anamik Shah said.
Parimal, a final year student of MA at vidyapith, said “We wanted to join the yatra but we were asked to welcome them from here only”.
While another, first year MCA student Karan Misrani added, “We were not aware that such an event will be organised. We were told yesterday only. If we would have known and asked to join, we certainly would have joined.”
Vidyapith students, a few faculty members along with the vice= chancellor encouraged the 81 participants from its campus gate only as they crossed the university.
Gujarat Vidyapith Vice-Chancellor Anamik Shah said, “Gujarat Vidyapith played an important role in the Dandi Yatra of 1930 when the then vice chancellor Kaka Saheb Kalelkar approved students and teachers to join the movement. The meeting of Akhil Bharat Mahasamiti was held in Gujarat Vidyapith on March 31,1930.”
On not being a part of this event, he said, “Padyatra is like a routine for Vidyapith and its students. Every year students and faculty conduct gram jeevan padyatra. Also, recently with the celebration of 100 years of Gujarat Vidyapith, one padyatra was conducted from Porbandar to Sabarmati Ashram and another in Bhavnagar district.”
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