“I am indeed pleased to be here to unveil the 150-square-metre wall mural of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, which is made of terracotta kullads.
It is also a matter of great pride for us that at a time when the nation is celebrating Mahatma Gandhiji’s 150th birth anniversary, the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has decided to mark the occasion with a unique display of Gandhiji’s image made by the potters.
The image is a true reflection of Gandhiji’s belief in the potential of craftsmanship and village industries.
I am told that 150 potters from different parts of the country had gathered at Morbi in Gujarat – the birthplace of Rashtrapita – to produce this mural.
It is certainly a ‘Tribute with difference’.
It is an external manifestation of a deep reverence we have for the man who gave a timeless message through his life.
It is a worthy tribute to the man who restored dignity to the manual labour.
It is an artistic hymn created by village potters across the nation –from hilly Leh to seaside Maharashtra and from dense jungle area of Chhattisgarh to Gangetic Varanasi.
I would like to compliment KVIC for promoting village industries and the highly skilled potters because this mural is also a tribute to the exquisite craftsmanship of the potters.
I came to know that the concept of making this grand wall mural came after the huge success of KVIC’s ‘Kumhaar Sashaktikaran Yojana’ in Varanasi, where Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had distributed 280 Electric Potter Wheels along with blungers, pug-mills and kilns to 300 potter families on 18th September 2018. It not only increased the income of village potters by four to five times, but also enhanced their output in the same ratio. This is an example of how up gradation of skills and technological advancement can transform rural economy.
Mahatma Gandhi’s vision and voice have a rare resonance in numerous hearts around the world because they spring from the timeless humanistic vision of India.
As per the Indian world view, the entire world is one large family. The following verse from the Ramayana encapsulates this universal vision.
అయం నిజః పరోవేతి గణనా లఘుచేతసామ్ |
ఉదార పురుషానాం తు వసుధైవ కుటుంబకమ్ ||
(Only the narrow minded categorize people as ‘our own’ and ‘others’. For those who have a large heart, the entire world is just a large family)
One corollary of this view, which follows from the concept of the whole world being seen as one family, is the attitude of empathy, of sharing and caring, of a sharp focus on alleviating the agony of fellow human beings. His deep sense of compassion and inclusiveness permeated his outlook on humanity.
Mahatma Gandhi’s life embodied this attitude and value system.
It was Mahatma Gandhi who said, “I am endeavouring to see God through service of humanity; for I know that God is neither in heaven, nor down below, but in everyone”.
He specially cared for the marginalized. He was a strong proponent of Gram Swaraj and truly believed that development of villages was vital for the development of the country.
Dear sisters and brothers,
This message of Gandhiji is vital at this juncture as India is at the cusp of transforming into a major economy. With a consistent growth rate of over 7 per cent, India is expected to become the third largest economy in the world in the coming years.
However, the fruits of development and prosperity must reach every section and every corner, particularly the rural areas. Efforts must be made on a war-footing by all stakeholders to end the urban-rural divide.
Here, I would like to remind all of you that Gandhi ji had established the "All India Village Industries Association" at Wardha and devoted most of his time towards reorganization of Indian villages.
Gandhiji worked relentlessly towards revival of village crafts, agro processing industries, and promoted village cleanliness and sanitation.
Rural crafts do play a remarkable role in village development. Also, pottery plays an important role in studying culture and reconstructing the past.
Recently, the Ministry of Railways has decided to use locally produced, environment-savvy terracotta products like Kullads, glasses and plates for serving catering items to passengers. This will certainly enable the local Kumhar community to earn higher income.
Dear Sisters and Brothers!
The life of Mahatma is all about internal reflection, self purification and harmonisation of individual and universal objectives.
The principle of ‘Ahimsa’ so eloquently propounded by Mahatma encompasses all aspects of our personality ranging from our thoughts to our deeds. If every human being is at peace with himself or herself, there will be peace all around in the outer world.
Gandhi Ji experimented with himself a great deal and never suggested anything to anybody in which either he did not believe himself or did not follow himself. That is how he had acquired the moral authority to suggest that “Be the change you want to be”.
We are celebrating the 150th Birth Anniversary of that great soul this year.
The best way of paying a genuine tribute to Mahatma is to sincerely introspect as to whether we are living the values of this great son of our county.
Let us practice some of the essential values he stood for like ‘empathy’ and ‘service’, ‘truth’ and ‘non-violence’, ‘inclusion’ and ‘sustainable development’.
Let each one of us shape a new India that Gandhiji and other leaders had dreamt of just as the potters have given shape to a dream creation through their deft hands.