Art Shows People Another Way of Living: Nandita Das

The UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP) concluded the first-ever World Youth Conference on Kindness at the Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi, on the theme 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam: Gandhi for the Contemporary World: Celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’ on Friday.

The event saw an expert plenary on the Art & Science of Peace and had prominent speakers from various domains. The panel was moderated by Jo Cutler, Doctoral Fellow, Neuroscience and Psychology of Giving, University of Sussex.  

Among the panellists were Michael N Nagler, Founder & President, Metta Center for
Non-Violence; Nandita Das, Director and Actor; Nandini Chatterjee, Neuroscientist, UNESCO MGIEP; and Ramin Jahanbegloo, Executive Director, The Mahatma
Gandhi Centre for Nonviolence and Peace Studies, O P Jindal Global University.

Acknowledging the importance of arts in our day to day lives Nandita said, “The power of images and art is that it impacts us in a subconscious way. Our responses change over time as our minds open to new ideas. We start responding to things differently.” 

Further, on how Das hones the art to impact the way of living of other individuals, she added, “Through my art, I am trying to find subtle ways to show people another way of living.”  

Nandita also read one of the famous quotes of Mahatma Gandhi, “Hate the sin, not the sinner.” She pointed out that although during the Gandhian era, the world was full of hateful leaders like Hitler, Mussolini, and was dominated by nationalism above all, yet Gandhi thought for even the last person.  

She also informed on how Gandhi’s quote, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ has inspired her and how Gandhi has been her guiding master throughout her career. 

On the increasing incidents of hate-news, fake-news and other propaganda served through various mass-media, Das said that I have stopped watching and reading news. “I felt that I don’t want to be a cynic and think that things are going worse”, she added.  

The conference was inaugurated by the Honourable President of the Republic of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind and saw participation from approximately 1,000 youth representing over 27 countries such as Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Europe.

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