New Delhi/ Noida : Walking was core of Mahatma Gandhi’s exemplary healthy life style. He was an amazing walker, and brisk at that. Many may not be in the know of the fact that Bapu walked close to 79, 000 Kilo Meters in his life time which adds up to ‘two rounds of the entire earth’. Needless to say, walking remains the foremost advice for good health even today.
Mr. Alok Mehta, Senior Journalist and Former President and Secretary General of Editors Guild of India talked walk of Mahatma Gandh while talking in E-Summit on ‘Gandhian Values and its Relevance in Managing Current Healthcare and Humanitarian Crisis’ as part of its HEAL-Thy Samvaad Series, organized by Heal Foundation. Experts on the summit agreed in unison that Gandh’s life was a veritable scripture for good health and is even today.
In a year when a pandemic arose and changed our lives, the only hope that has inspired us to pull through has been the determination of healthcare workers to save lives as well as the wise sayings of those leaders who have made our country what it is today. Thus, on the 151st Birth Anniversary of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, HEAL Foundation, a leading Health care Awareness & Advocacy Group organized an Powered by Heal Health Connect Solutions & ICCIDD, an International Public Health Group, this virtual event was graced by the hon’able presence of Professor KG Suresh, newly appointed Vice Chancellor, Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism & Communication, Bhopal; Dr Swadeep Srivastava, Founder, HEAL Foundation; Dr. Chandrakant S. Pandav, Former HoD, Community Medicine, The AIIMS, New Delhi, President, ICCIDD; Dr. H.K. Chopra, Former President, Cardiology Society of India (CSI), Senior Consultant, Moolchand Hospital, New Delhi and Alok Mehta (Padma Shri), Senior Journalist, Former President and Secretary General of Editors Guild of India.
The summit revolved around the relevance of Gandhian views on Health, Hygiene, Nutrition and Diseases, and how these views have become much more important in the trying times of COVID-19. The discussion also involved the brilliant takes of all panelists on how Gandhi’s philosophy of ‘self-reliance’ has, in the past, helped sustain crisis and is expected to continue to do so in the future as well. The speakers emphasized on the importance of Gandhi’s 4 S’: Swadeshi, Swacchata, Swaraj and Sarvodaya in the restoration of the world’s affairs post COVID-19. His three-pronged approach to communication- Interpersonal, Symbolic and Media were also elaborated upon, and the instrumental role they played in managing the COVID-19 healthcare crisis was also discussed.
Speaking about the significance of Gandhi’s simple learnings, Dr. Swadeep Srivastava, Founder, HEAL Foundation, said,“In a time of crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, when there is a lot of panic among the public and the generation of misinformation, Gandhi’s simple teachings and philosophies inspire us to shape our thoughts and do better. Taking this into consideration, I believe there would be no better time to celebrate our learnings from the Mahatma if not on his 151st Birth Anniversary and commemorate how he has transformed the Indian landscape for the generations to come.” He added that, “Mahatma Gandhi was also a Master Communicator & the Behavior Change Champion of the world.”
Mr. Alok Mehta, Senior Journalist and Former President and Secretary General of Editors Guild of India, elaborated on the terrific journey of Mahatma Gandhi and how every single step taken by him left a landmark effect behind. “His entire life, Mahatma Gandhi brought about change just through his walk. It is said that in his entire life, he walked 79,000 kilometers- be it Champaran or Dandi. He is said to have taken ‘two rounds of the entire earth’ like Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, but he was the Mahatma and he brought about much more change. People need to learn the importance of slowing down and cutting down on socializing- this is the only preventive measure which will possibly help us in fighting the COVID-19 crisis” said Mr. Mehta.
Dr. H. K. Chopra, Former President, Cardiology Society of India (CSI), Senior Consultant, Moolchand Hospital, New Delhi, also validated Mahatma Gandhi’s initiative for ‘step towards change’.He said,“Gandhi ji promoted movement. His thought process was ‘keep moving’, which is essential for blood circulation and a healthy body. The best message that he gave us was that exercise is essential for a fit body and mind. He expressed that exercise should be defined as an optimal integration of mind, body, soul, spirit and environment.
He was a firm believer of cleanliness- cleanliness within one and outside, both were important. He stated that tobacco is a havoc for mankind, and alcohol is a nuisance for both who consume it and others around him. He felt that Saatvik food is an essential component of a healthy diet.” He added that, ‘These are the important factors why he could lead a physically active life till age of 78. It is important to know that Mahatma never suffered from any Disease except Hypertension. He never got a ‘Heart Attack’ or suffered from ‘Diabetes’ never had undergone any surgery or treatment for any mental, neurological or any other Disorder in his life!’
Prof. KG Suresh emphasized on the fact that, “Gandhi’s Principles & Ideologies are probably more relevant in today’s scenario when the world is going through this Pandemic crisis of the century! He always inspired the humanity for self-reliance & to adopt to physically active lifestyle and remain both physically & mentally healthy by practicing ‘Saetvik’ Jeewan. Today while fighting this COVID 19 crisis, we see an immense value in what Gandhi ji taught us few decades back.”
The event rounded-up with all the panelists reminiscing about the change brought by Mahatma Gandhi, and how our simple learnings which come from him continue to be relevant even decades later. He was a man of power and kindness, discipline yet compassionate; the father of our nation who actually changed the history of the world.