‘Ahimsa Santhai’ brings Mahatma Gandhi’s ideal world to life

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The five-day fair has around 115 stalls set up by local artisans, SHG women and environmentalists from TN, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, West Bengal and Delhi.

The five-day fair has around 115 stalls set up by local artisans, SHG women and environmentalists from TN, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, West Bengal and Delhi.

“We talk today about the need to be eco-friendly, but Mahatma Gandhi rightly pointed this out decades ago. His quote ‘Earth has enough for everyone’s needs but not for greed of everyone “remains true today, as do many of Gandhi’s tenets,” collector S. Aneesh Sekhar said Thursday.

He was speaking at the inauguration of five-day “Ahimsa Santhai” at the Gandhi Memorial Museum which aims to promote local artisans and eco-friendly initiatives. The fair is jointly organized by the museum, the Center for the Experience of Socio-Cultural Interaction (CESCI) and the Gandhian International Institute for Non-Violence and Peace (IGINP).

Mr Sekhar said the ‘Santhai’ was a step forward in encouraging people to be more environmentally friendly. He said Gandhiji’s principles should be taught to the younger generation.

Madurai MP Su.Venkatesan, Virudhunagar MP Manickam Tagore, social worker Krishnammal Jagannathan, water activist Rajendra Singh and climate change activist Pushpanath Krishnamurthy were present.

Mr Krishnamoorthy recalled the historic incident of Mahatma Gandhi changing into his usual Western attire loincloth in Madurai on September 22, a hundred years ago. Earlier, a team of organizers and dignitaries paid floral tributes to the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Gandhi Pottal on Kamarajar Salai where he made the first public appearance in ordinary men’s clothes.

The fair features around 115 stalls set up by local artisans, women’s self-help groups and environmentalists from Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, West Bengal, Delhi, etc., showcasing products ranging from colorful bamboo baskets to naturally dyed cotton T-shirts, from “karupatti kadalai mittai” to organic honey from the hills of Jawadhu. Sessions and workshops on eco-friendly living and traditional performances were held.

For Maheswari Sudalaimuthu, a homepreneur, this is the first experience of setting up a booth and meeting like-minded people. “I make ‘idli podi’ at home. My hard work has often gone unnoticed. But now I am winning and it has made me financially independent,” she said.

Many stores displayed handbags and purses made from recycled materials which caught the attention of young people who flooded the fair in groups. Interesting choices such as banana fiber jewelry, coconut shell chess set, shell hair accessories captivated visitors.

Society Commissioner Simranjeet Singh Kahlon, CESCI Advisor PV Rajagopal, IGINP Director Jill Carr Harris and Gandhi Memorial Museum Chairman Mr Manickam attended.

The lounge without entry would be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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