I want to share the joy I feel inside me: Narayan Desai

Down the memory lane: Interview with Narayan Desai

ashishm

Ashish Mehta | April 10, 2015


#Narayan desai   #mahatma Gandhi   #narayan desai interview  


From the archives: Narayan Desai spoke to Ashish Mehta in November 2010, when he was in Delhi for the 88th Gandhi Katha. Excerpts from the interview:

You started doing ‘Gandhi Katha’ in Gujarat in June 2004, two years after the communal violence in the state. What prompted you to take this innovative way of propagating Gandhi’s ideals?

As a citizen, I feel I am responsible for all the social injustice – or if we use a religious term, paap (sin) – taking place around us. If Gandhi was around, he would have said, ‘I am guilty’. I thought: how could this happen in my Gujarat, rather than ‘Gandhi’s Gujarat’?

I carried out a peace march, adopted two children (of violence victims). Then I thought of doing some constructive work to atone my paap. The most influential model for constructive work I have seen in my life is Gandhi. Vinoba (Bhave) is also a very influential model, but Gandhi is the most influential. So I try to interpret him as much as I can and put my interpretations before people.

As I was sending the final installment of the manuscript [of the four-volume, 2,300-page biography of the Mahatma in Gujarati, ‘Maru Jivan E Ja Mari Vani’, 2003] to the press, I thought it had turned out to be a rather large work. How many people would read it? I was looking for a more popular medium to bring the Gandhi story to more and more people. I found that most periodicals and TV channels were directly or indirectly influenced by advertisers. I was looking for a medium which was not controlled by advertisements. I found katha to be such a medium.

You plan to do 108 Gandhi Kathas, each lasting usually for three hours over five days.

Sometimes I feel it’s alright if I overexert, it does not matter if all my energy is drained in this process, but it would be better if I can do this more often. Of course, it would be better if I can do so while also taking care of my health. I feel it would be nice if I can do 108 kathas. At the rate of two events in a month, I should be able to achieve the target in 20 months.

How is the response to the Kathas so far?

I see more and more youngsters now.

Is that due to the revival of Gandhi as a popular icon among the youth after a series of films on the Mahatma?

Those who used to encash the name of Gandhi no longer feel any need to do so. The Congress party does not feel so. Foreign leaders coming to India for arms trade no longer need to go to the Rajghat (to pay token obeisance). But the young generation does not have faith in politics; they don’t see depth in today’s politics. So, some of them are turning to Gandhi. Given the way people respond to the Gandhi Katha at various places, I have reasons to be satisfied.

Why did you take up social work?

That was the question Jiddu Krishnamurti once asked me, when I had arranged a meeting between him and Vinoba. I had said: I do social service because I want to share the joy I feel inside me.

Comments

 

Other News

Women’s panel seeks CJI intervention over rape-murder convict’s penalty

The Maharashtra State Commission for Women has urged the chief justice of India to take suo moto action in the matter of the Bombay high court converting to life imprisonment the death sentence of the two persons convicted for the brutal rape and murder of a Pune BPO executive in 2008. Chall

BSE StAR MF achieves 61% share of equity net inflow for November

BSE StAR MF, India`s largest mutual funds distributor platform, is working on ways to transform itself into a unique end-to-end value-based services platform. It has achieved 61% share of equity net inflows (Rs 802.96 crore out of Rs 1311.65 crore) for the month November 2019.   “T

Thackeray keeps home with Shiv Sena, NCP gets finance, Cong revenue

Two weeks after the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) came to power in Maharashtra on November 28 following a month-long political tug of war, chief minister Uddhav Thackerey has announced cabinet portfolios, keeping the home department for his Shiv Sena party, while giving the allies NCP and the Congress finance an

Parliament passes Citizenship amendment bill

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 has been cleared by parliament, as the Upper House on Wednesday passed the legislation that seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from three neighbouring countries. “A landmark day for India and our nation’s ethos of compassion an

Lok Sabha passes the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill

After a day-long debate which often turned acrimonious, the Lok Sabha has passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019, seeking to provide citizenship to non-Muslims from three neighbouring countries who have migrated to India.   Prime minister Narendra Modi said he was “delighted&

Citizenship bill in Lok Sabha, triggers debate

Home minister Amit Shah on Monday introduced in the Lok Sabha the Citizenship Amendment Bill, triggering a long-ranging debate on the ideas of India, with the opposition parties claiming it was regressive. The bill seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslim citizens of the neighbouring Pakista



Archives

Current Issue

Video

CM Nitish’s convoy attacked in Buxar

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter