Gandhi sculpture at Fireflies Ashram, Bangalore
Granite sculpture at Fireflies Ashram, with Gandhi’s words, “I am a Hindu, a Muslim, a Christian, a Buddhist and a Jew”. In this sculpture, located amidst trees, the staff of Gandhi is also sprouting green leaves, to symbolize his closeness with nature.
I bow my head in reverence to our ancestors for their sense of the beautiful in nature and for their foresight in investing beautiful manifestations of Nature with a religious significance.
The Gandhian Vision
Mahatma Gandhi believed that we should have a decentralized economic system that largely depended on local production and consumption. A deeply spiritual person, he espoused the goal of simple living. In today’s consumerist society we may think Gandhi to be outdated, but many feel that his vision is even more relevant today as the planet hurtles towards ecological disasters that overconsumption among the rich is engendering. (Editor's note)
According to Prof. Jeevan Kumar, the Gandhian vision of Sustainable Development can be spelt out in a ‘Ten-Point Charter’:
- Humankind should act in a manner that it is a part of Nature, rather than apart from Nature.
- Materials available on the earth are not to be used with an element of greed.
- Human beings practice non-violence not only towards fellow human beings but also towards other living organisms and inanimate materials, because overuse of such materials also amounts to violence.
- Women are respected, and are made partners in, and are given their rightful place in all spheres of human endeavour.
- Bottom-up shared view is preferred to the top-down authoritarian overview.
- Conservationist and sustainable life-saving approach prevails over the unsustainable, consumerist, self-destructive approach.
- Human beings care for and share with the poor and the destitute in society, as a moral obligation towards them.
- The human race thinks about how much is enough for a simple, need-based, austere and comfortable lifestyle.
- All development, as far as possible, leads to local self-reliance and equity with social justice.
- Ethics and self-discipline in resource use is an overriding criterion of development.