Gandhians plan revival of Shanti Sena in his 150th birth year

New Delhi: Shanti Sena, a peace brigade conceptualised by Mahatma Gandhi and taken forward by Vinoba Bhave, is likely to be revived by a group of Gandhian organisations.

The Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti, the Gandhi Peace Mission and the All India Harijan Sevak Sangh along with other organisations, here on Thursday, announced the plan, which included designating August 23 — the day when Vinoba Bhave launched it in 1957 — as Shanti Sena Diwas.

The idea of brigade, Gandhi’s answer to the problem of violence and disharmony, was to be taken up on February 8, 1948 at Wardha. But Gandhi was assassinated just few days before on 30 January 1948.

The initiative to remember Gandhi’s efforts in his 150th birth year, also involves a two-day conference, starting on August 23, at Manjeswaram, a border town between Karnataka and Kerala, where Vinoba Bhave launched the Shanti Sena.

The idea behind the revival of Shanti Sena is to make the youth pledge against “hatred, killing, and violence” and to pledge allegiance to Gandhian principles of non-violence, peace and sacrifice.

On the relevance of the revival plan, Gandhi Smriti Director Dipankar Sri Gyan has said the structural violence many Indians are complaining against is not the guiding force behind the initiative, it has been planned as a peace movement.

According to the representatives of these Gandhian organisations, a trained brigade of youth will form part of the Shanti Sena. Training centres would be set up at seven places, including Delhi, Madurai, Ahmedabad, Gandhigram, Sodepur and Manjeswaram, to train the youth in “non-violent conflict management, non-killing initiatives, non-violent communication strategies” among others.

The training will seek to correct the “moral and spiritual value” depletion in India’s youth with a focus on social justice and harmony, N. Radhakrishnan, Chairman of the Gandhi Peace Mission, told IANS. It will also focus on inculcating positive attitudes on water conservation and hygiene and sanitation.