Gandhian philosophy cementing India-Indonesia bilateral ties: Udayana

Kalaktang hosts International Youth Leadership camp

* Let Nepal-Bharat bilateral ties be everlasting: Rimal

By Pradeep Kumar

KALAKTANG, Sept 13: Recalling the strong bond between India and Indonesia, noted Gandhian from Indonesia Agus Indra Udayana, known as Guruji said that Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was sympathetic to Indonesian freedom struggle and considering it as a potential ally.

“In July 1947 when the Dutch launched a mass scale attack to suppress Indonesian freedom movement, President Sukarno had instructed Sultan Sjahrir to leave the country immediately to attend the 1st Inter-Asia conference and create international public opinion against the foreign oppression. However, Sjahrir couldn’t move out of the country as all air & sea routes were controlled by Dutch Govt.

“Pt Nehru had asked than daring pilot Biju Patnaik since he was one of the few expert pilot’s who could undertake such a daring act to rescue the sultan. He flew a Dakota aircraft to Jakarta (Java) in extremely dangerous conditions where it could have been shot down any moment. He brought back Sultan Sjahrir safely to India via Singapore on 24.07.47. Indonesia gave him an honorary citizenship and awarded him with the highest civilian award ‘Bhoomi Putra’ which is rarely given to a foreigner,” he recalled justifying the strong bilateral relations between both nations.

However, he said that he was deeply influenced by Gandhiji who had launched movement against racial discrimination by Biritishers in South Africa followed by non-violence movement to free India from British rule. And the Gandhian philosophy had taught Indonesian Atithi Devo Bhavo spirit.

“This is the reason as to why I had decided to set up Gandhi Ashram in Bali in 1997 to propagate Gandhian philosophy. The ashram, known as Gandhi Puri, offers free education with fooding and lodging to 27 students regularly and so far 250 students have passed out”, Udayana , who is leading a five-member team, told this daily in an exclusive interview.

“Though over 90% Indonesian is Muslim making it the largest populated nation of the world, but 95% residents of Bali is Hindu. Bali is the largest among 17,508 islands of Indonesia, including 2,328 inhabited ones, according to CIA fact book data.  That is why Hindu temples are surviving in Indonesia as god fearing Indonesians protect places of worships as heritage sites without destroying them as they are believers of Lord Shiva. The portion of traditional cap, locally called (udeng), touching the centre of forehead symbolizes Lord Shiva’s third eye and such dresses are mandatory for all even in offices and schools during full moon and full dark night”, informed Udayan, a Jamanlal Bajaj Award winner.

“Our visit to this picturesque town in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh would strengthen age-old bilateral ties between India and Indonesia further, he said, adding the Gandhian philosophy has been flourishing in Indonesia rapidly, but this camp though with few hundred gathering including from Nepal and rest of India is indication of their strong bond”, he reasoned.

On his state experience during last three days, he said that Kalaktang is a model as peaceful Monpa tribe is leading a life by balancing their livelihood with nature, which Gandhiji had advocated. It is a beautiful place with scenic beauty and the local inhabitants deserve credit for preserving it.

Wayan Sari Dika, a post graduate in communication science, director Gandhi Vichar Studies and also in-charge of celebration 150 years of Mahtma Gandhi birth anniversary, pitched in to add that Gandhiji’s movement against racial discrimination by the Britishers in South Africa and against untouchability in India through styagraha (non-violence) is a model followed across the world for peaceful co-existence. That is why Indonesia is celebrating it, Dika said.

Terming their experience at Kalaktang excellent, yoga experts Komang Edi Susanta and Herawati, said that the people, the weather and the nature in full blown impressed us too much. Susanta and Herawati, pursuing their post graduation in yoga and health, hare won many laurels including topping in all Indonesia yoga completion in 2016.

Moreover, an eight-member Nepal team is also taking part in the camp led by Dharma Raj Rimal, a bachelor in social welfare and noted social & youth activist. He told this daily that the strong bond between Nepal and India is known to all for which neither of the country’s citizens need passports and visas to visit each other’s nation. This reflects not only strong bond but faith too, he said as the gathering facing him shouted “Jai Nepal, Jai Bahrat”.

“I am here in the camp with Adesh Gautam, a teacher with MSW; Reecha Koirala, a social worker with an MPhil degree; Kamana Rai, a dance teacher with BSW; Bharati Dawadi, a lab technician in a college while studying BSW; Chanda Poudel, Bhumika Nepal and Manoj Budhathoki, all BSW students.

“I have lot to learn about Indian and this beautiful state of Arunachal Pradesh, but help you to learn about Nepal whatever I know,” he said, adding “sare Hindusthan achha lagta hey”. He said that India-Nepal bilateral ties should grow stronger and stronger before shouting “Nepal-Bharat maitri sambhand amare rahey (Let Nepal-India friendly relations remain everlasting and the same sound echoed in unison from the gathering.

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