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Gandhi's 'Shanti Sena' to be revived to mark his 150th birth anniversary

Gandhi's 'Shanti Sena' to be revived to mark his 150th birth anniversary

New Delhi, Jul 31 (PTI) The Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti will revive the defunct 'Shanti Sena' (peace army), founded by Mahatma Gandhi to counter communal violence, to mark his 150 birth anniversary celebrations, an official said on Wednesday. It will also celebrate August 23 as Shanti Sena Day, they said. The Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti (GSDS), who along with other Gandhian organisations, has prepared a road map for the revival of Shanti Sena and will also involve civil society groups and a mass programme involving volunteers. GSDS is an autonomous body functioning with financial support from the Ministry of Culture with the prime minister as its chairperson. Shanti Sena was a term first coined by Gandhi and was used as a people's initiative to combat violence by Acharya Vinoba Bhave in 1957 to deal with riots in villages. The organisation was later led by Jayaprakash Narayan and had 6,000 members at its peak. "What we want to do is do constructive work, re-establish Shanti Sena through groups of volunteers who would work in society. This is the need of the hour everywhere. We are always expecting the government to do all the work, these groups contribute to nation building through non-violence," said Dipankar Shrigyan, Director, GSDS. The decision to revive Gandhi's army was taken in the backdrop of the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi to revisit one of his significant initiatives. This initiative comes at a time when Vinoba Bhave's 125th birth anniversary will be celebrated next year. A major meeting is also being organized in Manjeswaram in Kerala, the place where the foundation of Shanti Sena was laid, on August 23 and 24. PTI ASG ASG SMNSMN