Lage Raho Munnabhai inspiring students with Gandhian teachings

Oct 2, 2006 IANS

Jaipur, Oct 2 (IANS) Bollywood blockbuster "Lage Raho Munnabhai", that has brought back Mahatma Gandhi's teachings into the popular consciousness, is giving new shape to non-violent protests. The film is inspiring students of Rajasthan University to gift flowers to their vice-chancellor for early campus polls.

"We met the vice-chancellor and presented him flowers while requesting him to hold student unions elections soon," Dilip Singh, a student leader, told IANS.

V.K. Sharma, another student, said: "'Lage Raho Munnabhai' has taught us to do so. Let us see what response we get."

'Gandhigiri', as Gandhi's ideals are termed in the film, has even influenced dressing, as students take to khadi, the hand-spun cotton associated with Gandhi.

Teachers, who have been demanding that regular appointments be made for adhoc teachers employed with the university, aren't far behind. Members of the Rajasthan University Teachers Association (RUTA) have decided to stage a two-hour peaceful sit-in on Gandhian lines.

"We have staged violent protests for several years. We thought we should try some Gandhism. It will surely work," said Jayant Singh, the RUTA general secretary.

Many schools in the city have even done away with the concept of a class monitor. The class representative is now called 'Munnabhai' - Sanjay Dutt's name in the film - and is directed to mind the class with patience and politeness.

The schools try to resolve issues peacefully among students and also teach them the importance of the Gandhian concepts of peace and non-violence.

"Gandhi has done a lot for this nation and 'Munnabhai' has revived his importance. We have implemented a few such principles in our school and the results have been quite good. No fighting has been reported from the junior section of the school," said Rahul Tyagi, a Class 12 student who has been named a 'Munnabhai'.

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