Urban planners need to be more Gandhian: P K Misra

Mysuru: Making a strong case against eviction of street vendors from cities, Prof. P K Misra, president of the Anthropological Association of  Mysuru, evoked Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals to appeal to city planners, urban authorities and social scientists to recognise their existence in the urban scenario and the welfare state’s responsibility to them.

“Street vendors, who are linked to the cultural ethos of the community and play a role in the growth of urban space,  have rights too,” he argued, participating in a one day seminar on 'Mahatma Gandhi and Applied Anthropology' hosted by  The Anthropological Survey of India, southern regional centre and Union ministry of culture, to mark the 150th  birth  anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi here on Tuesday.

Noting that Gandhiji once  said that one must recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man or woman when taking any action and  ask oneself if  he or she will gain anything by it, Prof. Misra deplored that the approach of  civic authorities and urban planners to street vendors was to either evict or relocate them. 

“Eviction is no solution.  They have been an integral part of the traditional Indian social structure,  are hard working and  support a variety of secondary occupations,” he said, adding that to help the vendors benefit from  welfare schemes they must be issued  identity cards.  To stress his point further, Prof. Misra observed that  Gandhiji was not only an idealist but a humanist to the core, who wanted basic issues of  mankind addressed.

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