The Wardha Peace Conference – 30 Jan

The padyatra ended its four months of the Indian leg of the yearlong peace march today with the third and last day of the peace conference held in Sewagram, Ashram, Wardha, Gandhi’s home during his last 12 years. The marchers will be staying in the Ashram for two days before leaving for Delhi in preparation for the rest of the march in foreign soils.

The beautiful Sewagram ashram was the venue for the last topic on nonviolent governance. The panel was moderated by Milund Kothari, UN rappateur for housing rights, and included
Meenakshi Natarajan, former MP, and working on Panchayati Raj, Reva Joshee, educationist from Canada; Rana ji, former MLA, Jharkhand; and Father Nicholos Barda, activist working in
Odisha. All of them are Gandhians in their respective fields and spoke of India in Gandhi’s framework of Swaraj, defined as a self sufficient, self dependent country.

The conclusion emphasized the values of compassion, service and accountability as necessary values for a nonviolent governance. People’s participation in decision making was deemed of paramount importance asking with a constructive dialogue on policy where all are equal stakeholders to facilitate a nonviolent model of governance. Meenakshi spoke of how the need is to create village based governance instead of the current state based model.

The morning started with eminent Gandhians, including the present and former director of the Sewagram ashram who interacted with the padyatrees and gave them their blessings.

The padyatrees got to meet a group of marchers from Europe, twin marchers who began their 45 countries long march also on the 2nd of October, 2019. They shared the experiences of their march, called the Second World March, and the positives and negatives of their observations, noting that the things in general have gotten worse for people since their first march in 2009.

The Sewagram director felicitated the padyatrees in the evening which was followed by an interreligious prayer to end the day.