On January 30 as the nation observes the Martyrdom day to commemorate the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi the Panjab University observes the day in its typical manner at the Gandhi Bhawan located in the heart of the campus. Besides observing a two-minute silence, the lotus-shaped building which houses the Department of Gandhian and Peace studies, reverberates with the thoughts and ideas of Mahatma Gandhi. The Gandhi Bhawan, along with a dedicated academic institution, was conceived in 1960 in order to disseminate the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi. The heritage building, rooted in on an initiative taken by Gandhi Smarak Nidhi and the Government of India to set up centres to propagate teachings of Gandhi, was designed by Swiss architect Pierre Jeanneret. Over the years, the Department of Gandhian and Peace studies, which was initially known as Department of Gandhian Studies, has witnessed a trend of steady diversification in the areas of academics, research and arrays of heritage pieces related to Gandhi. A separate building was set up to provide curriculum on the philosophies, ideologies, principles of Gandhi.
A blend of national and international students are enrolled for courses ranging from Post Graduate level up to Doctorate level. In view of the trend in the preceding years, students from Iran, Thailand, Korea have been the most common applicants for courses in this department from the international category. Talking to Daily Post, Manish Sharma, Assistant Professor and Faculty In-charge, Department of Gandhian and Peace Studies, Panjab University said, “ Being a department with iconic and heritage touch signifying Gandhian philosophy, we aim towards providing relevant facilities for future generations.” Discussing the introduction of new courses, Sharma shared that various short courses on domains such as ‘Introduction to Philosophy of Gandhian Studies’ etc., along with a proposal for a 5-years integrated course have been submitted for approval. In the current academic year, a total of 110 students are enrolled in a wide range of degrees including Masters in Gandhian and Peace Studies, Master of Philosophy (MPhil), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). As per the information, the heritage building, accorded with Grade 1 heritage status, which was inaugurated with a single chair and table to its disposal, now encases display models, pictures, books, newspapers, photographs depicting the life and ideologies of Gandhi.
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