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October 4, 2001 - October 4, 2001

Get 'Gandhi' to lend credence to your stir! Thursday, October 4, 2001

AHMEDABAD: At public agitation, school programmes, Congress party activities in the city, Gandhiji is making surprise appearances and regaling young and old with sermons and impromptu speeches.

Surprised? Don't be. This Gandhiji is a "double" of the Mahatma, one whose presence you can have if you're ready to donate anything between Rs 150 to Rs 500, provided the cause, or agitation, is just.

For 65-year-old Prakashbhai Modi too the appearances are as easy as donning that white dhoti, draping the characteristic sash over his slender shoulders and putting on those typical spectacles. The rest Modi leaves on his uncanny resemblance to the Mahatma to achieve.

"I carry my Gandhi get-up where ever I go and comply to people's wishes if I find their iterest or cause genuine enough," added Modi, sitting at his modest apartment in Ekta

Housing Society of Amraiwadi. From those days in 1942 when an eight-year-old Modi's desire to catch a glimpse of Mahatma Gandhi had him walk, along the railway tracks, from his village Mansa near Gandhinagar to Shapur in Ahmedabad (where Gandhiji was addressing a public meeting), Modi has indeed come a long way.

Today, he keeps a busy schedule making his quicksilver appearances in political and cultural functions, wowing his audience and sermonising Mahatma's thoughts into his own words. And, the trick is keeping his make-up keep handy and, of course, shaving his head to give that bald look on the first week of every month.

"It's my endeavour to take off from when Gandhiji left us. I want to realise his dreams of bringing swaraj to villages of India. Since I laid my eyes on Gandhiji, I could not concentrate on anything, not even my studies, and vowed to follow in his footsteps. I have followed his wish to serve villages and have devoted a lifetime in uplift of tribal-dominated villages of Sabarkantha district," said Modi.

Modi plans to be in the district on the 132nd Gandhi Jayanti on Tuesday. He says: "There have been many invitations from schools and cultural bodies of Sabarkantha to make appearances." And, so this Gandhi-apparition of Ahmedabad will be Sabarkantha, at least for the next couple of days.

"I never ask for money from my caller. But, most often than not they know of my modest background and donate on their own. The elder of my two sons had died leaving behind his wife and two sons while my younger son has a milk diary," confessed Modi. This apart Modi's income from his Gandhi-appearances is the only other financial support to a large family.

Despite being honoured by the President at the Rashtrapati Bhawan at the Red Fort on August 15, 1997, and having caught the fancy of politicians, both influential and small time, Modi complains of not getting any government support in his crusade to realise the Mahatma's dreams.

But, this Gandhi-double has not lost heart. He, as soon as the political turbulence in Gandhinagar calms down, wishes to approach the chief minister of Gujarat and ask for a piece of land in the state's capital to set up a Nav Jivan Gandhi Ashram, one that will of course have his photos as well as Gandhiji's side-by-side.

Modi told TNN, "In 1997 when India celebrated silver jubilee of Independence I had participated in a reconstruction of the historic Dandi March. Somewhere along the way I transformed into an image of Gandhiji, and realised my childhood dream. People, old and young, treated me with as much respect as they would have for Mahatma and then I had found the mission of my life -- to fulfil Mahatma's dreams. I am not an actor only a person who looks, thinks and feels like Mahatma Gandhi...

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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People's Verdict :: 'Leadership change is not the solution' Thursday, October 4, 2001

AHMEDABAD: The political turmoil in Gujarat, arising from the BJP's bid to effect a change of guard in the state, has aroused the interest of the man on the street. But not everybody blames Keshubhai alone for the by-election debacle; and not everyone feels a new chief minister will work a miracle for the beleaguered BJP.

Dr Yogendra Mankad, Political scientist
Keshubhai Patel was basically a man bereft of drive, initiative and any sense of vision. Under his leadership, the government proved to be by and large a non-performing one. A government that had no vision despite its pioneering effort in bringing the Vision-2010 document! How Narendra Modi will make a difference remains to be seen. It is one thing to be national secretary of a party and defend its policies on TV, and quite another to lead a party in the state despite opposition from most quarters. In first six months, his energy will be spent on ensuring his getting elected ... How much will he contribute to boosting the party image in the remaining time will make interesting observation.

Dr Bipin Patel, Anaesthesiologist
Keshubhai Patel was not a man of action. He exercised no hold on officials and chose to rely more on his coterie's opinion than the public at large. With his resignation, the inactive government will give way to a more stable and impressive administration.
Narendra Modi is known for his organisational capabilities and will not take long to unite the government and push it into constructive action.

Ila Pathak, Social activist
Poor performance of a party in any election reflective of the performance of the entire government. How can one man be singled out? How will changing the CM make a difference to the party's image? Defeat in election happens because of non-performance on a much larger scale, and not just at the chief ministerial level. If the BJP wants to bolster its image, it will have to make more changes than just replacing the head.

Babubhai Zadafia, Hosiery dealer
Leadership change is not the solution to boost the party's image in the state. Keshubhai Patel has done a great job during the earthquake. And, whatever beating the party has taken in the recent by-elections was due to organisational blunders and a lenient bureaucracy.

Pravin Patel, Diamond factory owner
Keshubhai's predicament today is because of his own deeds. In the initial six months of his second term as chief minister, Keshubhai did not exercise much control over his ministers. This has primarily contributed to his doom. These things apart, he did a fantastic job during the earthquake. But if the organisation wants Keshubhai to go, he should go.

Vinubhai Jogani, Bapunagar
The BJP has blundered not once but twice. First, by continuing with Keshubhai Patel, and now, by replacing him with Narendra Modi. Patel lobby will make it difficult for the BJP to get a respectable number of seats from Saurashtra in the next elections. Keshubhai did some good work. Solving the water crisis, to some extent, in Saurashtra was one among them.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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VTD to observe 'Sanchar Week' Thursday, October 4, 2001

VADODARA: Vadodara Telecom District is observing 'Sanchar Week' from October 1, to mark the successful completion of one year of BSNL.

The VTD is organising various activities as a part of the week. It has opened telephone exchanges to students of Class XI and above to enhance their knowledge in the field of telecom and get them acquainted with information technology.

In a separate development, VTD has diverted 823 numbers from city telephone exchange (level 41, 42 and 43) to Karelibaug exchange.

The localities where the line diversion has been effected are Khaswadi Smashan, Mataria Kabrastan, Mahavi Industrial Estate, Karelibaug Industrial Estate, Natraj Enclave, Guru Krupa Society, Gitanjali apartment, RBG complex, Jalaram Apartment, Mahesh Park Society, Goovardhan complex, Tajaria Kabrastan, Laxmi Estate, Purushottam Industrial estate.

A VTD press note informs that subscribers affected by the changed numbers are advised to reset their dynamic STD lock and other phones plus facilities after the number change. Change of number information is available on 1951. Complaint and supervisor number of new telephone exchange are 462198 and 463333 respectively. In case of technical difficulty after number change SDE (OCB Karelibaug) can be contacted on 460150.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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MSU institute inquiry into ragging incident Thursday, October 4, 2001

VADODARA: The MS University here is contemplating conducting an inquiry into Saturday night's incident of ragging at MSU's Jivraj Mehta Hall. Student leaders have demanded a thorough probe into the incident to bring the guilty to book.

Commenting on Saturday night's episode at the hall, in-charge vice-chancellor VD Pathak said the authorities had come to know about the incident only through media reports. "Ragging in any form cannot be tolerated on the campus. The university has taken a strict view of whatever has happened and will conduct a probe in the matter," he said.

As reported earlier, freshers who had joined Baroda Medical College just a few days back were allegedly forced to perform vulgar acts by seniors. The incident had come to the notice of hostel authorities, who called the police to manage the situation. However, miscreants allegedly involved in the incident managed to escape from the hostel. The police returned empty-handed.

Meanwhile, student leaders have reacted sharply to the issue and have demanded action against the guilty. Faculty of Arts general secretary and a resident of Manubhai Mehta Hall, Nitin Patel, submitted a memorandum stating that the rot must be stemmed.

Patel said the hostel residents were stunned by the episode. "It is a known fact that the incident took place. An inquiry will only confirm things," Patel said.

Patel has offered support of student leaders in any action against ragging on campus.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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Gandhian non-violence relevant for combating terrorism Thursday, October 4, 2001

SURAT: For many of the city's schoolchildren the answer to global terrorism lies in Gandhian philosophy to usher in universal brotherhood based on peace and non-violence.

The wars of the 21st century to contain evil designs of terrorists need to be fought not on battle grounds, but be oriented towards change in hearts as the Father of the Nation did in getting India free from the clutches of the colonial rule five decades ago.

For 13-year-old Mehul Randeri, student of St Xavier's School, the present crisis in terms of global terrorism could be best handled by none other than a person like Mahatama Gandhi, who's 132nd birth anniversary was celeberated on Tuesday. Only peace and non-violence can be effective tools to defeat global terrorism, he forwards. Randeri was one among the first few to despatch his heartfelt reactions to US President George Bush after the ghastly destruction of WTC in terrorist attacks.

The same sentiments were echoed by 12-year-old Khyati Patel, std VII student of Sanskar Bharti School. She says Gandhi was a great person for his being an ardent follower of peace and non-violence. The greatman used these tools very successfully in getting India free, she adds.

For another girl student of Sanskar Bharati School, Anjali Valukar, if Gandhi would have been alive thecisis looming large across the national boundaries in the wake of terrorism would have got solved through love and brotherhood among all.

Wars being waged against the global terrorism would have been definitely without deadly weapons like missiles and bombs if Gandhian approach would have been resorted, feels Nishant Patel, Std IX student of St Xaviers School.

He states that India freedom struggle in non-violent manner is a an example worth to follow for the international community to combat terrorism. Chinmay Thakkar and Veeral Patel, both students of Std IX of Jeevan Bharati School, are philosophical when they forward that persistence use of love for all, irrespective of any distinction, could helped Gandhi to win over the Britishers in India's freedom movement and the great man of the 20th century is still relevant for the whole world at this juncture of unprecedented crisis in terms of global terrorism.

Talking on the need to spread of peace and love as Mahatma Gandhi did, Anil Kumar Bharati, music teacher of Sanskar Bharati School says the `bhajans' ' of Gandhi do inspire everyone even now and informations on life sketch of the greatman do instill a confidence among the generation that evils could be won over by way love and not hatred.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]

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