A LIVING MEMORIAL TO THE MAHATMA
“If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable....We may ignore him at our own risk” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi the Father of the Indian Nation and the architect of India’s glorious non-violent victory over western imperialism, continues to attract millions the world over, cutting across barriers of race and place, time and age.
Memorials may be made for other great men. But Gandhi is a living force. His ideas only gain greater relevance with the passage of time. If humanity is to survive, we cannot afford to confine the Mahatma to memorials. We need to build living laboratories wherein the ideas of the Mahatma are experimented with and applied to everyday life.
This great truth was realised by the founding fathers of GITAM University when they named this great institution after the Mahatma and based it solidly on Gandhian values more than three decades ago. Over the years, GITAM University itself has emerged as a symbol of devotion to the Mahatma, drawing upon the inspiration from the GITAM School of Gandhian Studies which is a memorial of love for the Saint of Sabarmati.
The GITAM School of Gandhian Studies began its momentous journey as the Centre for Gandhian Studies in 2010. The precious seedling of the Centre for Gandhian Studies was nurtured with utmost care under the watchful gaze of the visionary educationist and statesman, Dr MVVS Murthi, President, GITAM, who took great pride in this memorial to his idol and offered his immense and unconditional support in every step taken by the Centre. The Centre for Gandhian Studies was the fruition of the long cherished dream of a staunch Gandhian – Koneru Ramakrishna Rao who devoted all his energies and ideas to it. Padmashri Prof. K. Ramakrishna Rao, Chancellor, GITAM University and Chairman, GITAM School of Gandhian Studies, a globally acclaimed philosopher-psychologist, is an institution by himself. He was the magnet that attracted renowned Gandhian scholars and philosophers from around the globe to this Centre and thus enriched it immensely.
Prof. K. Siva Rama Krishna, currently Pro Vice Chancellor, GITAM University, in his capacity as Dean and Principal of GITAM Institute of Management, of which the Centre for Gandhian Studies was a constituent unit, rendered his yeoman services in developing the Centre in every possible way. Prof. B. Sambasiva Prasad, the first Director of the Centre for Gandhian Studies, did the massive groundwork required for setting up the Centre and brought laurels with his research and publications output. The baton was handed over to the capable hands of Dr. B. Nalini, currently the Director In-charge, GITAM School of Gandhian Studies. With her extraordinary contribution to teaching, research and social outreach activities, the Centre flourished rapidly.
On the first of November, 2016, a major milestone was reached when the Centre was upgraded into an independent institute – the School of Gandhian Studies (GSGS). GSGS is located in the picturesque seaside setting of the Rushikonda campus of GITAM University, Visakhapatnam. GITAM University has built a five storey 50,000 sft facility for GSGS . The five floors are appropriately named as Ahimsa, Satya, Swarajya, Swadeshi and Swadharma. The school has a Gandhi museum with a unique pictorial depiction of the Mahatma’s life and houses priceless artefacts from the East and West. The library has a collection of over 3000 volumes on Gandhi and on various disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. GSGS can also boast of a well-equipped and spacious Yoga and Meditation Hall as well as digitally connected reading rooms and classrooms.
It is now a full-fledged teaching and research institution with Professor K. Ramakrishna Rao as the Chairman, Dr. B. Nalini as the Director In-charge and a host of other staff.