Webinar on Gandhi and Disaster Risk Reduction Organized by ADRID
| Gitanjali Tiwary, Freelance Journalist, Noida, UP - 03 Oct 2020

0n the eve of 150th Birth of Gandhi Jee

By Gitanjali Tiway 

New Delhi, Oct 03, 2020:  “My life is my message” Said Gandhiji. On the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation, a webinar was organized by ADRID, Action for Disaster Resilient and Inclusive Development, New Delhi to discuss the relevance of Gandhi in disaster risk reduction.

Impact of Covid-19 and other disasters were discussed at length in the webinar. The speakers said, “Gandhi’s principle was still found to be relevant and important for the disaster risk reduction in times to come. No one be left behind and last mile connectivity for reducing risk is possible only when the Disaster Management approach is bottom up and driven by the communities. A fearful democratic process at the local level is the need of the hour. By any means, nature has to be protected and a symbiotic balance to be maintained between nature, science and people with fearless, ethic based and in a disciplined manner.”

The moderation was done by Onkareshwar Pandey, Executive Director, ADRID a senior Journalist and Founder – Indian Thought Leaders, a Digital Network of Knowledge Leaders. He opened the session remarking that we need to apply Gandhian Philosophy in terms of Natural and Social world interactions to restore balance amid increasing disasters for better environment and ecology.

The relevance of Gandhi has increased manifold in the violence prone society moving towards increased urbanization observed Dr. Anil Dutt Mishra - A distinguished Gandhian scholar and writer. He also said that Gandhi is being rejected by Indian society now which is a dangerous trend. We need his ideas and wisdom more in the present context when man-made disasters are on the rise globally and conflict is increasing.

"Waterman of India" Dr Rajendra Singh, an Indian water conservationist and environmentalist who won the Magsaysay Award in 2001 and Stockholm Water Prize in 2015, gave great insights into the watershed management with community involvement incorporating the Gandhian methods of community development following the path of peace and non-violence. He said conservation of water is essential as the threat of third world war is predicted by the World Bank to happen over water rights which will lead to widespread riots. The earth is sick and its sickness can be cured by adopting green development mechanism and filling the empty stomach of earth with water. Situation is of too much and too little water is grim. We all are heading towards a huge overdraft (recharge vs discharge of water) which might lead to third World War (water crisis). He said on Gandhian values that to avoid such situations, we need be fearless, disciplined, ethical and democratic. We have to work for the nature. Running water must be slowed down and slower one must be stopped by watershed process. Jameen ka Panni Jameen mein. 

Dr Sanjay Srivastava, Chief of Disaster Risk Reduction at UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) elaborated the Gandhian Philosphy in context with SDG which evolved from MDG in 2015. The First SDG-No Poverty imbibes the Gandhian Philosophy in its essence. He also said that science works for everyone and recent development in EWS has confirmed it as nowadays we are able to contain the loss of life during cyclone because of strong EWS and it is in tandem with Gandhian Philosophy-leave no one behind.

Dr Santosh Kumar, Head, Governance and Inclusive DRR, NIDM, Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt of India, taking cues from previous speakers elaborated upon the relevance of Gandhian philosophy of upliftment of downtrodden and poor people as they are the most vulnerable during disasters. He also said that the increasing greed of people is causing many disasters. In the time of COVID vulnerability of the poor have increased exponentially. For Disaster Management, we need to recognize indigenous knowledge rather totally depending on the imported literature.

Prof Girishwar Misra, Former vice chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya, Wardha, Maharashtra said that we have to control our consumption for sustainable development in consonance with the Gandhoan philosophy. We need to grow up as a responsible consumer and discourage over exploitation of natural resources which are limited. Risk communication is Important to make disaster risk reduction as peoples movement as Gandhiji could do in Dandi march. We need to have regular communication  with the people .Policy should move from bottom to up rather top down for making community based  risk reduction a success. He said that there is a huge gap between the thought and action which is making our task difficult. We need look beyond govt for the answer.


Shri Vyas ji, 1982 batch IAS in Bihar Cadre, Currently serving as Vice Chairman of Bihar State Disaster Management Authority (BSDMA), who has served in Civil Services for more than 35 years said that Gandhian philosophy can stop global warming which is leading to climate change as e are over exploiting our natural resources duet o our greed beyond our need as Gandhijee had said, there is too much for everyone’s need but not for greed. He also shared Govt of Bihar’s recent initiative -Jal Jevan aur hariyali.

The vote of thanks was proposed by Sri Dileep Kumar of BSDMA also a National Consultant of UNDP for DRR-CCA program. He thanked all the eminent speakers for giving their wonderful insights about their work in line with the Gandhian Philosphy. He also said that Gandhi was a great Disaster Manager as He contributed a lot in Independence of India without much bloodshed using his methods of civil disobedience, Dandi March, Quit India movement,  non-violence and peace.

ACTION FOR DISASTER RESILIENT AND INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT, a non-profit charitable trust supporting the advancement of safer communities and sustainable development through innovative tools and new knowledge base in the sector.  www.adrid.org 


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