Dhenkanal: Gandhi was a mass communicator without any mass media. Through his multi-pronged communication strategies, he reached out to the masses during the freedom movement and tried to bridge the gap between the elite leaders and the common people and also the urban and rural India. A special lecture on ‘Gandhi as a communicator’ to mark the August Kranti Divas highlighted various aspects of the great leader’s unique ways of communication.
IIMC Dhenkanal organized a special lecture on ‘Gandhi as a communicator’ to mark the August Kranti Divas, the day Mahatma Gandhi had given the call for ‘Quit India’ in 1942. The keynote speaker Subir Ghosh, an author and media academician, pointed out how Gandhi adapted simple measures to reach out to millions of common people in India.
Elaborating on Gandhi’s multi-pronged communication strategy, Subir Ghosh said, “Despite spending his student life in England and early professional life in South Africa, Gandhi was quick to realize that he had to identify himself as an average Indian in order to send his message to the masses. He deliberately transformed his western attire to just a loincloth which barely reached his knees, the dress of a common person in India at that time.”
Gandhi had also used his newspapers to forge the urban-rural divide in India. Though he edited and published newspapers in English, he aimed to make the urban Indians aware of the problems of the masses. “Gandhi also would appeal to his readers who knew English to read the newspapers he edited and tell about the news to the people who did not understand the language,” said Subir Ghosh.
His use of simple language was another reason why it had a mass appeal and popularized his newspapers and messages. Citing the example of August Kranti Divas, Ghosh said, “On August Kranti Divas, Gandhi had two messages. ‘Quit India’ was for the British and ‘Do or Die’ was for the Indians. With two simple words, he served the notice to the British. The words were simple but strong and carried a huge impact on both the parties.”
In his opening remark, Dr Mrinal Chatterjee, regional director, IIMC Dhenkanal emphasized on the role of Gandhi as a development journalist. “I believe without his involvement in journalism, Gandhi could not be the Mahatma. After coming to India from South Africa he had a tour of India and gathered real-life experience from the grassroots. After he realized the problems of the common people, he wanted to bring that to the notice of the people. He left a huge impact on grassroots journalism. Gandhi’s Champaran Diary is one of the examples of great work in development journalism. As an editor and journalist he set an example for the future generation as well,” said Dr Chatterjee.
In the second part of the programme, Utkal Gandhi Smarak Nidhi organized a seminar on ‘Gandhi 150’ which was attended by the former executive editor of Samaj, Satya Ray and former director Jayanti Manjari Rath. Both of them spoke on the role of Gandhi in India’s freedom struggle and how he engaged the common people, including the women, in the movement. After a question and answer session with the students, the function came to a close with Assistant Professor Jyoti Prakash Mohapatra giving a vote of thanks.