BJP honour for Gandhian in Nagaland

Natwar Thakkar, who set up a Gandhi Ashram in Nagaland when few "mainlanders" tread into the state, will be felicitated by BJP president Amit Shah here on Sunday.

By Nishit Dholabhai
  • Published 9.09.15
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Amit Shah

New Delhi, Sept. 8: Natwar Thakkar, who set up a Gandhi Ashram in Nagaland when few "mainlanders" tread into the state, will be felicitated by BJP president Amit Shah here on Sunday.

Thakkar spent the better part of his life in the Northeast, particularly at Chuchuyimlang where he set up Nagaland Gandhi Ashram in 1955. Well into his eighties, Thakkar is still active and aims to turn the place into an educational institution that will deal with issues affecting the region the most.

"It is in Gandhi ji's name that the Naga people have given 200 acres of land," Thakkar told The Telegraph. The Tata Institute of Social Sciences is said to have shown interest in associating with Thakkar's institution.

He will be felicitated with the third Karmyogi Award given by My Home India, an NGO close to the BJP that works to bring about "emotional integration" with the Northeast. The NGO's principal hand, Sunil Deodhar, recently visited Chuchuyimlang to invite Thakkar for the award.

A battery of ministers, including DoNER minister Jitendra Singh andUnion minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju, and dignitaries from the BJP will be present on the occasion at Mavlankar Hall.

Shah's participation in honouring a Gandhian indicates the BJP's consistent efforts to be seen as furthering Gandhi's legacy.

Information and broadcasting minister Arun Jaitley today launched the electronic version of the Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi. Its 100 volumes documents Gandhi's life from 1884 till his assassination.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned Gandhi ji as he launched the Swachh Bharat campaign last year. In his second Independence Day speech this year, Modi said there cannot be a better tribute to Gandhiji on his 150th birth anniversary in 2019 than handing over a "Swachh Bharat". #Gandhiji's understanding of a range of issues enabled him to create a moral environment that eventually compelled the British to leave India, Jaitley said at the event held at Gandhi Peace Foundation.

The digitisation has been done by a team of experts from Gujarat Vidyapeeth and Navjivan Trust which were founded by Gandhiji and the publication division of the government of India. Work is on to make the volumes available in Hindi also.

While these institutions spread Gandhian ideals through education and publications, Thakkar has been a one-man army driven by Gandhi's thoughts and inspired in early life by Kaka Kalelkar. As a young man, Thakkar had met and worked with Kalelkar at Dahanu in Maharashtra and later was inspired to travel to the Northeast.