Gandhian Day in Rome – The Information Act 2005

October the 2nd is the anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and this year the day was honoured by a Seminar on Gandhi at La Luiss, one of Rome’s private universities by two Indian lecturers. The sun, the warmth, the summer feeling were overwhelming, all creating a lovely moment to remember someone who had inspired so much respect, so much humanity and such strength for the peace movement.

La Luiss was founded in the Sixties by a group of industrial leaders. Recently it has expanded to a more central and green part of the city, keeping only some of the faculties, like Political Science, the main organizer of the Gandhian seminar. The surrounding park is beautifully kept with interesting plants and restoring points, so students have several relax areas to meet in. Hopefully even public universities could be inspired by such a view!

The two Indian scholars, Aruna Roy and Nikhil Dey, are both belonging to Gandhian movements, both political and social activists, living in Rajasthan among the poor in their same conditions, moving around the world with campaigns to better the lives of the rural population in Rajasthan and to spread their non-violent movements and peace thoughts inspired by Gandhi. Aruna Roy  started a political movement and is the leader of it the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathana (”Workers and Peasants Strength Union”). Her most important political initiative has been the Right to Information movement, which led to the enactment of the Right to Information Act in 2005. It’s a brilliant result, a triumph for people and the democracy. Thanks to that act people are more encouraged to demand and get information concerning the management of public money and resources.The Seminar, intended mainly for Italian students in political science, focused on the meaning for the Indian people in Rajasthan of this Act. And also how the right to information slowly enters people’s mind and therefore pushes the process of a major consciousness and democracy.

Gandhian Day in Rome - The Information Act 2005

The discussion that followed the presentation was particularly lively because just in these days, even in Italy we would need an Information act that clarifies the right for people to get more inside information. Too often in these days Roman citizens have felt they have been betrayed by their political leaders, and only long after they have come to known how public resources have been spent on politicians’ private affairs, far from any true democracy.

We are committed on two issues, Nikhil Dey, ended his speech and that is: transparency and the right to information. In India where the growth of religious fundamentalism and the irrational in governance haunts us, the battle continues. We have to speak and act for the sake of the nation, for universal principles of justice, and ourselves.

“Bene”, hoppas ha förmedlat lite av stora tankar och lite av stämning!


Marianne Bengtsson Agostino