Good neighbourhood makes strong community: Hugh Mackay sums up Gandhi’s message


 There is a kind of a picture that is painted into our minds during childhood by our elders of Gandhi as an ideal person. When we think of Gandhi, we think of a man who must have been perfect. I learnt about Gandhi during school, we were taught about his extraordinary simple principles. I also learned later as I grew up that he had his own flaws. Gandhi ji’s philosophy of non-violence enamoured us all as he lived in the hearts of millions of Indians and loving addressed as ”˜Bapu’ (father).

University of New South Wales, like every year, organised Gandhi Oration on last Monday of January 30, 2017 and has brought many eminent people to the community for their inspiring addresses.   Despite a hot and humid day hundreds of people attended to hear social researcher and author of sixteen books Dr Hugh Mackay speak, the evening succeeded in promoting thought and reflection on the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi. The Gandhi Oration, which is sponsored by Tata Consultancy Services, is preceded by a Remembrance Ceremony on the University’s library lawn where Gandhiji’s bust sits serenely at UNSW’s Library Lawn was garlanded. Singer, actor and dancer Maya Stempien rendered patriotic song and paid tribute to Gandhiji. On the occasion, two minutes silence was observed and the Mahatma’s most favourite bhajan ”˜Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram’ was also chanted.

Maya Stempien

The sixth annual Gandhi Oration was delivered by Dr Hugh Mackay AO after Remembrance ceremony to a packed auditorium of UNSW.  Dr Hugh Mackay AO has had a 60-year career in social research. For 25 years he produced a social research quarterly called “The Mackay Report” that told us who we are, what we think and why we behave the way we do. He was also a weekly newspaper columnist for over 25 years.

The annual oration commemorates India’s Martyrs Day, the anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination on 30 January 1948, and is delivered by a person whose life work exemplifies Gandhian ideals.

Dr Mackay spoke on the topic “The state of the nation starts in your street”, he delivered his message why our neighbourhoods matter and how good neighbours build strong communities. “Look at others and beyond yourself to create a sustainable environment, compassion and respect for another goes a long way in helping achieve Gandhiji ideals. He also added Australia is a remarkable place and people came here from all over the world,” as his speech ended with big round of applause.

Among the prominent who attended the event, included, new High Commissioner Dr A.M Gondane, Mr. Neville Roach, Prof Ian Jacob, Consul General of India Mr. Vanlal Vawna.  Dr A.M Gondane remembered Mahatma’s contribution, and his struggle for Indian freedom. Speaking on the occasion, several Gandhians termed the philosophy of the Mahatma as the only way to lead a life of peace and dignity

During the vote of thanks, Mr. Neville Roach addressed the gathering by narrating Gandhi’s relevance in the corporate world. He concluded by thanking the audience, sponsors and acknowledged Sydney’s well known community member Mala Mehta, Meherlyn Jussawalla for their support to this worthy event.

Gandhi ji is an inspiration for millions of people not only during the freedom movement, his philosophy of non-violence is the only answer to peace which is very much needed in todays’ world.

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