Gandhi memories resonate at Pappapatti Grama Sabha

erhaps the best, most apt and poetic tribute to Mahatma Gandhi came from Albert Einstein, who famously said of him, “Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.”

After the Government of India commemorating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the Nation, for a period of two years from October 2, 2018 to October 2, 2020, Gandhi Jayanthi 2021 marked the 153rd birth anniversary of the ‘Apostle of Non-Violence’.

Born on October 2, 1869, at Porbandar in Gujarat, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s immense contributions to the Indian Independence Movement, beginning with his political life in South Africa where he fine-tuned his concept of ‘Satyagraha’ (broadly ‘Soul Force’ in search and affirmation of the Truth) and his unique, matchless approach of ‘Non-Violence’ he gave to the world at large-, which he believed would make injustice selfmanifest itself in those who practice it-, are part of the much-cherished, ennobling legacy of this great soul.

This year again, Gandhi’s birth anniversary should remind us of the profound import of the U.N. General Assembly Resolution adopted on June 15, 2007, declaring October 2 as ‘International Day of Non-Violence’. The resolution spoke of “the universal relevance of the principle of nonviolence and the desire to secure a culture of peace, tolerance, understanding and non-violence.” It implies an active respect for all Religious Faiths and the need for dialogue to promote inter-religious harmony, all the more in a post-Covid world.


Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K Stalin paid a fitting tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on October 2, by participating in the ‘Grama Sabha’ at Pappapatti, a village near Usilampatti in Madurai District where the post of Panchayat President was reserved for Dalits.

The event was socially and politically significant, signalling the ruling DMK’s commitment to empowerment of Dalits and strengthening grassroots democratic structures under the new Panchayat Raj Act.

Speaking to the Pappapatti villagers, Mr. Stalin said he was extremely happy to be back there, as it was a special occasion. He recalled how during 2006, when Panchayat elections could not be held in some villages of Madurai district - Pappapatti, Keeripatti and Nattarmangalam, and in Kottakatchiyendhal in Virudhunagar district-, owing to certain social factors.

However, it was during the earlier DMK rule, Mr. Stalin said, as the then Local Administration Minister in the Cabinet of Kalaignar M Karunanidhi, he had made all efforts to hold elections to these village Panchayats, where the President's posts were reserved for Dalits.

Their efforts turned fruitful, thanks also to the administrative acumen of then secretary of the LA department, Ashok Varadan Shetty and then Madurai district Collector, T. Udayachandran, the Chief Minister said, turning to Udayachandran and present Madurai Collector Anish Sekhar present on the occasion.

"Kalaignar had invited the newly-elected officebearers of these Panchayats and felicitated them in Chennai," Mr. Stalin said, adding, it was at that function that Kalaignar was conferred the honorific title, 'Samathuva Periyar' by the VCK leader Thol. Thirumavalavan.

Assuring to fulfill the demands placed by the Pappapatti villagers at the 'Grama Sabha' meeting, Mr. Stalin said the occasion, coinciding with 'Gandhi Jayanthi' was even more significant as Mahatma Gandhi firmly believed that 'India lives in her villages'. The state Minister for Cooperation, Mr. I. Periyasamy, was also present. India is made by her villages, Gandhiyaar had said, Stalin drew attention to, adding, elected local bodies like village Panchayats strengthen democracy in the country. "The Madurai soil was also particularly significant for Gandhi, for it was here that he took to wearing simple Khadi cloth in a half-clad mode, to identify himself with the common man," Stalin also recalled, to bring out the Gandhian underpinnings to 'Grama Sabha' meetings.

Seeking everybody's cooperation and unity for Tamil Nadu's overall development, Mr. Stalin also announced several basic amenities projects for Pappapatti and nearby villages. They included a new building to house the Pappapatti Panchayat Council Hall at a cost of Rs.23.57 lakh under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme, besides a building for the ration shop at Pappapatti.