Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the State’s first Gandhi Peace Centre near the Khandagiri-Udaygiri caves here on Saturday.
The centre, built on a five-acre of land, is a digital interactive museum promoting Gandhian values and principles among the people, particularly youths.
The centre, set up with the support of the Aditya Birla Group, has six galleries, where memorabilia and articles used by Gandhiji are on display.
The centre will conduct a multimedia show on the Father of the Nation’s ideology of truth, nonviolence and policy of Jainism till March 15. Besides, a debate and a Bhajan programme will also be organised.
Notably, the State Government had signed an MoU with the Aditya Birla Group in 2017 for operation and management of this interpretation centre and decided to rename it as Eternal Gandhi Peace Centre. The MoU is valid for 15 years.
The Chief Minister said, “The dedication of the Gandhi Peace Centre here today in the 150th years of Gandhi’s birth anniversary assumes significance.” The centre would provide an institutionalised platform to awaken consciousness about life and works of Gandhiji and educate people to realise the deeper significance of his ideals, he said.
“India achieved freedom in 1947. By this time, nonviolence had become truly global, an identity of India-ness, and a more potent weapon than violence,” Patnaik said.
The Chief Minister reiterated his demand for incorporation of Ahimsa (nonviolence) in the Preamble of the Constitution during Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary.
Aditya Birla Centre for Community Initiatives and Rural Development chairperson Rajashree Birla said, “We felt that to set up insightful galleries in different parts of India, where Gandhiji’s imprint is more than discernible would be an act of deep homage (to him). Odisha is the right choice.”
She added, “Naveen Patnaik epitomised Gandhian values and that the Mahatma felt a kind of spiritual connect with Odisha. It was the place that he visited eight times. His tryst with Odisha began in 1921 as part of his nationwide journey to spread his ideals of Satyagraha, Swaraj and Ahimsa.
It became intense when he saw the frugal, precarious living conditions of the poverty-struck, the ill-treatment of the Harijans, and the huge unemployment.”