Dr. G. Vijayam, Executive Director, Atheist Centre



Martin Luther King who fought relentlessly for the racial equality stated that "Gandhi is my weapon". Eventhough,Radhakrishna was firmly rooted in the Indian soil, he had international perspective. With a view to promote international peace, solidarity, understanding and mutual cooperation between people of the different countries, he maintained livewire contact with likemindedorganizations and individuals.

Under his guidance,the Gandhi Peace Foundation remained as the focal point to maintain contact with nonviolent and peaceful struggles all over the world. The Chirman of GPF, R. R. Diwakar and Radhakrishna kept up the international contacts of Gandhi Peace Foundation for over twenty years.

Radhakrishna followed with keen interest and admiration the struggle of Nelson Mandela and all others in South Africa to end Apartheid. Just before he went into a coma in May, 1994, he expressed his wish to write a letter of congratulations to Nelson Mandela for his assuming the President ship of South Africa, as it was the beginning of a new era of peaceful co-existence.

Radhakrishna took initiative in the publication and dissemination of Gandhian literature and journals. Through the Gandhi Peace Foundation,Radhakrishna extended support and cooperation to PyarelalNayyarto bring into light the hitherto unpublished material and to throw more light on Gandhi. He always encouraged Peace Research. He edited "People's Action" and "Gandhi Marg" in Hindi and English. They had international outreach.

Just before his death, Radhakrishna published a thought provoking article in "Gandhi Marg" on "Voluntary Agencies in a Critical Decade". Had Radhakrishna penned down his thoughts much more frequently on various aspects of social change, they would have been valuable guide to the workers in the field of rural development.

But Radhakrishna never highlighted himself. His aim was to encourage the youth in the Gandhian and voluntary movements.

He made in depth study of the problems before he expressed views on any subject. He was soft spoken and gentle persuasion was his method. Inspite of his overweight, he was always very active and jovial, In Conferences and Seminars, he was straight forward, focused and brief. He was multilingual and communicated with people in their local languages with remarkable ease.

Radhakrishna understood human nature well and he tried to bring to the fore the innate talents of many people. But some people misunderstood his large heartedness and sympathetic approach as his weakness. They tried to take undue advantage of his good qualities. He wished that such people will realize their folly, repent and comeback to the right path. He had no enemies. Even those who differed with him had no animosity. Similarly, he pardoned others with an open heart and utilized their services in social work.

Radhakrishna thought in terms of comprehensive rural development in a sustainable manner. He realized that mere economic development will not solve the problems of rural India. New values have to be inculcated among people. Social consciousness and commitment is needed. Environmental protection and ecological balance is a must. Hence he harped on that aspect repeatedly. All items of Gandhian Constructive programme received his attention, He was in touch with various experiments that were going on in the country.

At the fag end of his life, Radhakrishna was greatly concerned with the growing isolation and over specialization in society. He felt that this would lead to isolation of workers and insulate themselves from other developments which have a bearing on their work. They lose sight of total perspective and become unconcerned with the total picture. He wanted to remind them that they must have a comprehensive outlook and should realize the interdependence of their work.

Education, Health, Science and Technology, Environment, Agricultural and Industrial Development, Employment, Social and Cultural progress and myriad others are part and parcel of human life and reflect on their behaviour. Hence specialization and comprehensive outlook must find a happy blend. The strength of a chain rests on its weakest fink. If the progress is lopsided and some fields are neglected, comprehensive development and holistic perspective will be missed. Hence, the interconnection and inter relationship between various sections of society must be fully realized.

The Nationalist movement under the inspiring leadership of Mahatma Gandhi placed before the people a common action programme with comprehensive outlook. It created an atmosphere of commitment and their sacrifice for the cause. After attaining independence, the umbilical cord between the political and constructive work was cut resulting in disjointed efforts. Political sphere slipped into the game of power politics. The constructive work lost its momentum and direction. Frustration is the outcome and it is vitiating the whole atmosphere. The time has come to reestablish the link between constructive work and political change for social progress. Social control over political field is urgently needed. The ends and means cannot be separated.

The criminalization of politics and politicization of criminals is threatening the democratic fabric of the nation and challenging the very basis of body polity. The hard won freedom is at stake. The misconception that politics only mean power politics and it is the prerogative of the politicians to do as they like, cannot be accepted for long. People's politics and partyless democracy provide necessary correction. The people engaged in the constructive work and in the voluntary effort must understand clearly the implications of political developments and its impact on their work.

Radhakrishna visualized that revitalization of Panchayat Raj system at the local level would strengthen face to face contact and hence it would provide congenial atmosphere for the re-introduction of moral values into politics and also serve the people better. Of late, Radhakrishna devoted his time and energies in examining the implications of the Panchayat Raj system for the future growth of the country. He initiated an indepth study of the opinions of Gandhi, Vinoba, Jayaprakash Narayan and other national leaders as well as the views of the founding fathers of the Constitution. On behalf of Gandhi Peace Centre, a comprehensive document was prepared with his foreword. He encouraged country-wide debate on this important aspect of National Reconstruction.

Radhakrishna was witness to an era of the national movement at its height. He further witnessed the downward trend in social, economic and political relations. He had also seen the height of the voluntary effort. The Bhoodaan Movement brought youth into the fold of Gandhian movement. As the National Secretary of Akhil Bharat SarvaSevaSangh, he came closer to Vinoba, Jaya Prakash Narayan (JP) and other national leaders. He established rapport with various political parties and social organizations.

In his life, Radhakrishna had seen many vicissitudes. He was subjected to many unpleasant experiences. The Kudal Commission brought many woes to him. He became a stranger even to some of his friends. But he continued his activities with single minded devotion and endeared to youth. Gandhi Peace Centre was his laboratory for comprehensive development. He encouraged and enthused the youth to build a better future.

In 1940,Radhakrishna was at Sevagram and was greatly inspired by Ariyanyakkam and Ashadevi in spreading Gandhi's Basic Education. At the fag end of his life,Radhakrishna became the chairman of the NaiTaleemSamiti and initiated steps to revitalize it. He was also interested in bringing to the light the various experiments of Basic Education.

He was eager to organize and give impetus to Vinobha's centenary and Gandhi's 125th birth Anniversary. He was longing to prepare "A Report to Gandhi" in which he planned to give a glimpse of Post- Gandhian work. He was initiating measures to organize a Cycle-Yatra from Porbander to Sevagram for national and social integration.

The Indian culture is enriched with the great deeds of reformers, philosophers and scientists. Radhakrishna was a great optimist and dreamt of a better future for India.

The life of society is akin to relay race. Even if a person disappears from the scene, others take inspiration from his/her deeds and proceed further.

Commenting on life and death. Bertrand Russell said -
The wise man should wish to die while still at work, knowing that others will carry on what he can no longer do, and content in the thought that what was possible has been done".