JP recalled Gandhi’s contention that the best way of getting justice is rendering justice to the adversary and asked whether our parties and leaders are practicing it. “We all need to introspect – do we have the moral right to pay tribute to Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri?
He pointed out that intolerance, lies, failure to render justice to others, rousing fears and blaming others for our problems have all led to the Andhra Pradesh crisis.
“Whatever happens, we are all Telugus and Indians. Where are spiritual leaders? Where are artists and writers? Why are they silent?
“Gurus, saints, stars, writers – please speak up. Do not take sides on politics & division of the State.”
All of them should remind people that we all share a language and culture, and promote harmony and reconciliation. “Whatever happens, we will remain a family, and we share a common destiny. Politics should not promote hatred. Transcending politics and irrespective of the final outcome, the wise, learned and talented Telugus should spread this message.”
Recalling that Gandhi always sought full employment to empower citizens and give them dignity, Dr. JP said the need of the hour in India is job creation. While China created at its peak 200 million jobs in industry in 20 years, India created just two million jobs in 20 years.
By taking two pledges on the occasion of Gandhi’s birthday, Dr. JP said, we can build an India of Gandhi’s dreams. First, we shall not buy gold at all. If we must, we will buy 50% of what we plan. Second, those of us whose basic needs are met will give 10% of our income and time for charity and community.
“If we reduce gold demand, and give 10% of what we have for the community, we all prosper; the nation prospers. We need to modernize and adapt Gandhi’s message to suit our needs today. Let us do simple, practical things every day.”
“If gold import is stopped, we will have no current account deficit. If we cannot curb gold demand, we cannot build India. Gold does not fulfill any real need. We have 30000 tons of gold in India – the world’s largest reserve. We still import 1000 MT a year! What is needed for ornaments and weddings can be met by internal market.
A lot of gold is lying idle. Available gold with people is enough to give 100 grams to every family! Our gold needs can be met without imports. If we cannot promote self-reliance even in a commodity like gold, which we cannot really use, we have no right to invoke Gandhi.”
Dr. JP said that to fulfill the second pledge of giving 10% of our income and time for charity and community “We don’t have to deprive or starve our families.”
“When our children inherit our assets, let 90% go to them, and 10% to society in some form. Family comes first. But society comes next. Let our 10% income, time and assets build the community – library, park, school, hospital, museum. Our time can go to volunteer to teach, manage traffic, fight fires, maintain parks or graveyards.
“We build a nation when our personal growth and public good go together. Let us begin in simple things every day.”