Gandhian crusader Anna Hazare’s movement against corruption has a historic importance. The people of India have found a leader in Anna Hazare to speak for an issue they were expecting for. Indian people from across the society had joined the movement for a stronger public ombudsman, which had finally compelled the government to consider the demand. But even then, another Gandhian social activist Natwar Thakkar maintains his reservation on the second phase of fasting by Anna and his team.
Expressing his great admiration to the crusader, Thakkar, 79, however argues that Anna’s fast at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi was itself a successful attempt as he made the entire population aware of corruption and the government also showed interest to resolve the issue. So the second phase of fasting at Ramlila Maidan could have been avoided, Thakkar commented.
Attending the ‘Guest of the Month’ program of Guwahati Press Club in Northeast India on September 2, Thakkar argued that both houses of Indian Parliament have its own role to play and even the strongest civil society should understand the style of functioning of the lawmakers highest forums.
Thakkar, of course, appreciates the civil society groups, which render voluntary and self-less service to the society and argues that presence of a strong civil society has enriched the Indian democracy.
He even insists that the forum comprising the spirit of voluntary social service should be recognized as the fifth pillar of democracy.
Talking about the role of India media as a whole and that of the Northeast, Thakkar expresses satisfaction over the service of local media. He declared that the regional and local media in the Northeast, leaving aside few media groups, has played an important role and many times it has helped the local habitants to get due justice.
Thakkar, who was born to Gujarati parents at Dahanu, has made Nagaland (and Assam) his home place. He has dedicated his life for the mission of promoting goodwill and emotional integration through voluntary social service on Gandhian lines among various ethnic groups of the region.
Thakkar, when he was only 23 years old, went to Nagaland in 1955 and established the Nagaland Gandhi Ashram under the auspices of Bharatiya Adimjati Sevak Sangha at Chuchuyimlang.
Initially it was a risky period for Thakkar and even he was in hit-list of some insurgent outfits there. But Thakkar and his Naga wife Lentina survived. They have today three children (two daughters and one son).
Thakkar with his Gandhi Ashram continues encouraging the local people for various development and income generating activities like Bee-keeping, Gur making, Oil ghanis, Biogas Plant, Mechanised carpentry workshop, Khadi sales centres etc. Thakkar is honoured with Padmashri Award (1999), Diwaliben Mehta Award (2001), Jamnalal Bajaj Award (1987), Indira Gandhi Award (1994), Meghalaya State Mahatma Gandhi Award (1996) etc.
Before the interaction with the journalists of press club starts, Thakkar was felicitated with the traditional Assamese Japi and Gamosa.