Youth conference calls for return to Gandhian values

Delegates from a dozen countries at the Mandela Gandhi Youth Conference hosted here have called for a return to Gandhian values to address global challenges threatening humanity.

The conference was part of a three-day commemoration of the historic incident 125 years ago when on June 7, 1893, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, a young lawyer then, was thrown off a train compartment reserved for whites only.

Diaspora youth from India, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zambia Egypt, Malawi, Seychelles and Mozambique joined more than 120 South African youngsters to debate and share views on whether the Gandhian philosophy of Satyagraha, Ahimsa and Sarvodaya was relevant today and whether it could be used to find solutions for the problems around the world.

"We hereby affirm and resolve that, in an increasingly globalised world, a world where borders are becoming more fluid; where hate is taught rapidly but love isn't learnt at the same pace, we will espouse the ideals and teachings of Gandhi and Mandela and share their vision of a global community, where identities transcend geographical and man-made borders and a world which illustrates the oneness of humanity," read a resolution passed unanimously at the conference.

"We, the youth of this world, citizens of diverse nationalities, ideologies, backgrounds, colour, creed, race and sex, embrace the ideals of the Mahatma and Madiba as apostles of peace and truth and vow to continue down a path of self-exploration, and partake in the empowerment of those around us by coming together and strengthening our diversity," it said.

Monisha Saxena of Nigeria said Gandhiji's name alone can bring a change to people's hearts and make the world a better place, especially with corruption and terrorism. "If Gandhiji was around today in Nigeria, I'm sure he would definitely have made a difference in the north of our country, where we have so much violence and a lot of clashes between Muslims and Christians," said Vishal Kirpalani.


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