Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi returned to India from South Africa on January 9, 1915 – 100 years ago- wearing the mantle of "spokesman for the conscience of all mankind" and armed only with the "spiritual power to turn the ordinary men and women of India into heroes and martyrs."
To coincide with the 'ghar wapasi' day of India's most revered and prominent NRI, CB Patel, Publisher and Editor of Gujarat Samachar and Asian Voice, championed the launch of the project "Inspired by Gandhi"- an international writing competition, at the Kochrab Ashram, Gandhi's first ashram in Ahmedabad. He welcomed the audience acknowledging the generosity, sincerity and exemplary work being done at Kochrab Ashram.
Spearheaded by Sampad Arts, based in Birmingham UK, this competition offers an opportunity to budding writers above the age of 8, from any part of the world to respond and reflect on Gandhi's life, philosophy and vision in the form of poem, short story or reportage. The best judged entries will be compiled and published.
Eminent audience included Vishnu Pandya (veteran journalist & columnist), Lord Navnit Dholakia from the UK, Dr C.L. Patel (Chairman, Charutar Vidhya Mandal), Justice Subodhchandra Shah (Gujarat High Court), Dr. Anamik Shah (Vice Chancellor, Gujarat Vidhyapith and the Chief Guest). They spoke eloquently about the significance of the day and association of Mahatma Gandhi’s principles and philosophy that guide the programme of Kochhrab Ashram. The peace and tranquillity of the Ashram was further enhanced through the beautiful singing of Bhajans by Maya Dipak.
Other eminent personalities present were Dr Jagdish Dave, UK, Bhupatbhai Parekh, senior journalist, Mike Patel, USA, Dr Hari Desai, columnist, Dr Balwant Jani, Rajkot, Dr Rajendra Khemani, Bhanubhai Pandya, Mahatma Gandhi Foundation, UK, Piyushbhai Desai, Vaghbhakri Tea, Kailash Singh and Bala Nair, Air India, Ahmedabad, Pravinbhai Amin, UK, Jaisukhbhai Mehta, Ishani Dasgupta, journalist, Economic Times, Vijayaben and Krishnan Rele, Narmadaben and Deepak Raval.
C B Patel while welcoming the guests recalled the important role played by Gandhi in India's freedom struggle. He also praised the ashram for keeping it clean and its tranquil atmosphere. Vishnu Pandya talked about the seven phases of Gandhi life and the role played by Kochrab Ashram in shaping his throught process. Lord Dholakia pointed out that the wars and acts of terrorism were the problem and not the solution. The solution could be found in Gandhi's path of truth and non-violence. He also give details about the Gandhi statue being planned at the Parliament Square in London. Dr C L Patel promised to start more such online competition in future. Subodhchandra Shah said by following Gandhi's principle, if the criminals were forgiven, it would become a big crime. Dr Anamika Shah talked about Gujarat Vidyapeeth and its plans to renovate Kochrab Ashram. He said C B Patel by launching the online competition, has also launched the renovation work of the Ashram.
Ms Piali Ray OBE, Director-Sampad, elaborated on the need to promote the relevance of Gandhian thoughts and philosophy in today’s world. Piali appealed for support to spread and share the inspired thoughts of budding writers through libraries and educational institutions across India and the world. Previously SAMPAD arts produced a similar writing competition leading to the publication of ‘Inspired by Tagore’. On this occasion they received over 1,500 entries from 40 countries.
The launch of the writing competition in Ahmedabad will be followed by a worldwide release of information welcoming writers from across the world. Any writer aged 8 or upwards from anywhere in the world can enter. Entry forms can be accessed from www.sampad.org.uk - from (Special Projects section). The last date for entries is 31st May 2015. Anyone preferring to enter by post, can email Anne Cockitt, [email protected]
SAMPAD Arts, deriving its name from the Sanskrit word meaning ‘cultural wealth’, was established in Birmingham in 1990 to produce and present Indian Arts, nurturing and celebrating the talents and skills of diverse artists and communities in Britain. They have built up firm and productive links with community and arts organisations regionally, nationally and internationally spanning many art forms to include theatre; music; literature; dance and digital arts.