Established in 1920 by Mahatma Gandhi, Gujarat Vidyapith has stirred up controversy with its decision to give the chancellorship to Governor Acharya Devvrat. On October 11, Devvrat, 63, accepted the offer, becoming the first “non-Gandhian” to be appointed to the position.
Talking to The Indian Express, Davvrat said that had Gandhiji been there today, he would have blessed him the most for he follows all the tenets of a Gandhian—his love for khadi, respect for cows, stress on natural farming, etc. Devvrat also said that following Gandhiji’s teachings, he also practices ahimsa, satya, brahmcharya, aparigrah, shodh, santosh, tap, swadhyay, ishwar pranidhan and more. A vegetarian, he stressed there is no space in his gurukul—he runs four gurukuls in Haryana—for caste and he boasts the same ‘life philosophy’ as the Mahatma, which naturally makes him the perfect choice for the position.
Devvrat says that his years of managing the four gurukuls have given him over three decades of experience in running an institute, which will prove to be helpful in running the Gujarat Vidyapith. He claims that rather than joining active politics, his mission has always been education, natural farming, gaupalan (cow rearing), inculcating yog pranayam in the young generation, and creating an addiction-free society for youth in rural areas. Devvrat is also associated with the Prime Minister’s missions of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
A proponent of natural farming, Devvrat was motivated to seriously practice it around 2012-’13, when one of the employees of Gurukul Kurukshetra fell unconscious while spraying pesticides at the farm. He moved to organic farming with the help of the Krishi Vigyan Kendra in Kurukshetra, but his experiments failed, which led him to move to natural farming practices. With a team of 10 scientists and agricultural experts from Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh, he undertook the mission to propagate natural farming practices.
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