Prof. Radhakrishnan has an amazing record of highly distuinguished and dedicated record of service during the last 38 years in the field Gandhian Constructive work, social work and training of youth in nonviolence. As a trainer of Youth in Nonviolence he has attracted national and international attention and the number of Youth trained by him in Shantisena and conflict resolution itself is a testimony of his commitment to social work along Gandhian lines. He is respected in several countries as one of world’s top-most trainers in nonviolence.
What the Grand Chief of First Nations People, Canada, Mr. Ovide Mercredi said about Dr.Radhakrishnan while introducing him as the keynote speaker at the Conference of First Nations People, Vancouver in Oct 1996, sums up his contributions to humankind: -
“I have found from my own experience that Prof. Radhakrishnan is a great and inspiring trainer of youth and excellent communicator. The training he offered to us in Nonviolence during our visit to India, thanks to the Gandhi-Canadian Foundation, Edmonton, and the orientation classes on Gandhi he took for me, my wife and children, convinced all of us that his is a dedicated life in nonviolence. I had interest in Gandhi, but it was Prof. Radhakrishnan who taught me how to interpret Gandhian methods to First Nations People who are desperately looking for nonviolent alternatives in their fight for justice”.
A Volunteer under Vinoba Bhave: Trained in Gandhian social work by his father, a Gandhian activist who had participated in the Vaikom Temple Entry Movement and afterwards founder of a Gandhi Centre for Rural Development in his village, it was natural for Radhakrishnan to grow in to a student activist. As a student activist, he was a student volunteer during the walking-saint and Gandhi disciple Vinoba Bhave and Shri Jayaprakash Narayan’s Bhoodan visit in the Quilon District under the leadership of Shri K. Janardanan Pillai and Prof. M.P. Manmathan and A.K. Rajamma.
Takes up Shanti Sena Training: His interest in Shantisena Training Programs dates back to the 60’s and his joining the Gandhigram University in Tamilnadu as a Faculty Member offered him opportunities to develop appropriate strategies in Rural Development with student and community participation and the next 22 years witnessed dedicated efforts to involve fully under the leadership of distinguished Gandhian leaders like Acharya Kalelkar, R.R. Divakar, Suresh Rambhai, Sadiq Ali, Dr. Susheela Nayar, Lakshmi N. Menon, Dr. Soundram Ramchandran, Dr. Devendra Kumar, Dr. M. Aram, in offering an adapted version of the
Shantisena program in educational institutions.
He played a significant role in the transition period of Gandhigram Rural Institute in getting it the formal status of a University in 1976. He was a member in the apex body of negotiators between the University Grants Commission, Ministry of Human Resource Development and the Gandhigram Rural Institute under Justice Gajendra Gadkar and Dr. G. Ramachandran.
The last six years of his activist’s life have shown a concerted and dedicated effort to mobilize people of all categories to nonviolent living and social transformation. Withdrawing from all positions of authority and financial gains, he dedicates himself to fulltime social work as is revealed in the following courageous and dedicated initiatives:
Establishing five training centres for nonviolence in association with the Jain Viswabharati,
Ladnun under the spiritual guidance of Acharya Mahapragya is a major step undertaken by Radhakrishnan. These Nonviolence Training Centres started functioning from the 5th of July 2007 in places such as Rajsamand, Jaipur, New Delhi Madurai and Trivandrum. Training in Nonviolence is being offered to selected batches of children, youth, women, social activists, teachers, and others in all these centres on a regular basis. Other programs of awareness creation are also being organized in these centres.
He is perhaps, among the first Gandhian Scholars who designed serious and imaginative programs to take Gandhi to universities and inspire the Indian youth to go to villages to bring about a qualitative change in village life. His books, articles and even his letters evince much interest among the youth. What Dr. Devendra Kumar, former Vice-Chancellor of Gandhigram said on the occasion of the conferment of
Honorary Degree to Subha Rao is significant:
“Dr. S.N. Subha Rao and Professor N. Radhakrishnan are the most widely respected youth trainers of India. Both of them have earned great reputation as master trainers in nonviolence” (GRU convocation 1998).
Very few Gandhian Scholars have perhaps penetrated deeper into the significance of Gandhiji’s experiments in relation to the contemporary socio-political, educational, economic and cultural problems in order to make the world a better place where people belonging to different castes, creed, ethnicity and nationalities happily coexist. He launched a series of experiments with whatever innovations he made on Gandhian creative activities. Along with the deepening of his understanding of Gandhian culture Radhakrishnan’s ideas and feelings,his relationship with people, even his language have been bound to undergo great change.
What the World famous social activist and champion of the concept of nonkilling world, Dr. Glenn D. Paige of the Global Centre of Nonviolence, Hawaii said about Prof.Radhakrishnan will be an ample justification for Radhakrishnans candidature for the Bajaj Award for Constructive Work Let me quote Dr. Paige in this regard:
As a creative contributor to advancement of the Gandhian legacy, Professor N. Radhakrishnan is a pioneer in educating youth for courageous nonviolent service to society through Shanti Sena (Peace Brigades). He has trained over 5,000 leaders and 20,000 students in 500 training camps in India and abroad.
Seeking to strengthen commitments to nonviolence throughout civil society, as National Convener he has initiated the world’s first Violence-Free Society Campaign with the family as the focus. During its first six months in 2005, 80,000 families have signed written pledges while 1,02,000 school children and youth have taken pledges orally or in writing against violence.
With deep love of children, especially of the poor, he enthusiastically contributes his artistic skills to nurture nonviolent values through the arts as the surest hope of creating happy future lives.A prolific writer and energetic organizer, his life of selfless service continues to send a message of nonviolent inspiration and practical example to countless beneficiaries in India and throughout the world.
Some of the many arenas for needed nonviolent actions that have engaged Radhakrishnan’s heart, intellect, and energies over the past forty years are the following:
1. To evoke the nonviolent creativity of children through the Rangaprabhat Children’s Theatre in Kerala.
2. To mobilize all-India youth for training in Shanti Sena service; typically 125 young people in week-long camps at the Gandhi Darshan complex.
3. To mobilize countervailing forces for conflict resolution in areas of communal bloodshed (Gujarat). rom Gujarat he wrote, ‘horror beyond belief”.
4. To mobilize relief in areas of natural disasters.
5. To mobilize Gandhian-legacy consciousness among millions as illustrated by the Five Flames Marches from (a) Porbandar (b) Vaikkom (c) Champaran (d) Jalianwalabaugh (e) Naokhali that converged at Rajghat in Delhi on October 2, 1994, Gandhi’s 125th birth anniversary. Estimated to have reached enroute 20 million people. Accompanied by distributions of 100,000 copies of Gandhi’s utobiography among the poor of Delhi and elsewhere
6. To mobilize towns and villages to eliminate violent social practices as illustrated by the nonviolent performing arts caravan, including street performances by children, that traversed the 500 mile length of Kerala in 1984.
7. To mobilize 1,00,000 families throughout India to take a Pledge of Nonviolence. Ongoing campaign in the Fall of 2004.
8. To mobilize universities to strengthen Gandhian studies for social service as illustrated by convening a national workshop to identify defects and needs by educators, administrators, officials, and constructive workers (The Message of Gandhi through Universities (1997)
9. To introduce community peace centres in educational institutions in different parts of India. (Ongoing in Fall 2004)
10.To mobilize intellect for problem-solving action as illustrated by founding the journal of Peace & Gandhian Studies, Vol. 5, No.1 (January 2004). Published together with books by the Gandhi Media Centre also founded by him.
11. To create or co-found institutions for nonviolent service beyond self as illustrated by the G. R. Institute for Nonviolence and Shanti Sena and the Indian Council for Gandhian Studies.
12.To share the nonsectarian Gandhian experience across borders and to learn from the nonviolent inspiration and experiences of others. Examples include dynamic contributions to the First Nations Assembly in Canada,the World Future Studies Federation in Costa Rica, the Fifth World Conference on Nonviolence in Colombia, the Soka Gakkai International in Japan, plus lectures at many universities.Importantly in 2000 he exchanged views in Washington, D.C. with Representative Dennis J. Kucinich, principle advocate of establishing of a cabinet-level Department of Peace combined with a Peace Academy in the United States Government.
13.To selflessly celebrate in pamphlets, books, lectures, and media appearances, the lives of others to inspire courageous nonviolent service. Among many, in addition to Gandhi and Martin luther King, Jr. G.Ramachanran, Abdul Ghaffar Khan, B. N. Pande, Nelson Mandela, Julius Nyerere, Petra Kelly, Guillermo Gaviria, Chaiwat Satha-Anand (Qader Muheideen), A. T. Ariyaratne, and Acharya Tulsi. In short, an activist-educator whose life provides an example of selfless service that continues to testify that the multi-faceted violence of society can be overcome against all odds.