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In Gandhi's footsteps...

BAHRAIN's Migrant Workers Protection Society (MWPS) works on the principles of Mahatma Gandhi, who believed in the equality of all people, irrespective of race or religion, said its chairperson Mona Almoayyed last night. "We reach out to all migrant workers in need of help without discrimination, regardless of their origin, religion or culture," she said.

Mrs Almoayyed was speaking at a seminar on Gandhian Thoughts and Globalisation, organised by the Indian Embassy at the Bahrain Keraleeya Samajam auditorium, Segaiya.

The seminar was held to mark the 139th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, which falls on October 2.

Others speaking at the event were Gulf Council for Foreign Relations president Dr Mansoor Al Arrayed, UN resident co-ordinator and UNDP resident representative Dr Sayed Aqa, Foreign Ministry Ambassador Karim Al Shaker and Indian Ambassador Balkrishna Shetty.

The seminar was preceded by a 32-minute documentary called Does Gandhi Matter?

The seminar will continue tonight, when one of India's top scholars and orators and secretary of the Indian Union Muslim League Abdus Samad Samadani will speak on 'Gandhian thoughts in the contemporary world'.

The seminar starts at 8pm, and is open to all.

"Mahatma Gandhi stood for values of nonviolence, while the world, and particularly our world in the East, has been transformed to a playground for the fundamentalists and the extremists, where traditionally tolerant societies have given way to violence, intolerance and disrespect for human life," said Ms Almoayyed.

"We take up cases of abuse of labourers, as well as abuse of domestic workers.

"We never refuse a call for help. Victims of abuse are often emotionally and physically wrecked, so we provide counselling, legal aid, medical attention and safe accommodation."

Ms Almoayyed said the MWPS shelter had so far helped hundreds and had extended humanitarian assistance to them.

"On the legal and government level, we have lobbied consistently for new legislation to protect the safety of workers, and for the implementation of existing laws," she said.

"There is no doubt that our world would be a better place if we all followed the teachings of the Mahatma Gandhi on peaceful negotiations and nonviolence.

"The wide support we get from different quarters for our work shows that there are so many people in this country who are guided by the same principles of compassion and humane values."

Mr Shetty said the Gandhian thoughts have a significant relevance in a globalised world.

"Frictions are bound to be there due to actions of some racist and wicked people, which will be identified with the groups or nations they belong to.

"Unless we adopt nonviolent methods shown by Mahatma Gandhi, it can even lead to the extinction of the human race."

Dr Al Arrayed said the world had still not properly recognised the greatness of Mahatma Gandhi, whose principles continued to inspire millions of people around the world.



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