Institute of Gandhian Studies Wardha
Gandhi Vichar Parishad has its roots in the early fifties, when some close associates of Gandhi decided, shortly after his death, that there was a need for an Institution which would undertake the scientific study and analysis of Gandhian Thought and methods for the benefit of the younger generation. The founding members included such eminent Gandhian scholars such as Kaka Saheb Kalelkar, Shri J. C. Kumarappa, Shri K.G. Mashruwala, Shri Shankar Rao Deo, Shri G. Ramachandran, Shri S. N. Agarawal and Shri Satish Chandra Dasgupta.
Kaka Saheb Kalelkar was its first Chairman, and Shri Shankar Rao Deo and Shri Ravindra Varma were Secretaries. The Bajaj family was happy to offer one of its buildings in the premises of Bajajwadi at Wardha for Gandhi Vichar Parishad in 1951-52. In 1955, the Gandhi Vichar Parishad was shifted to Delhi. The march of history and the demands of organization caused the Parishad to be merged into the Gandhi Smark Nidhi as the Tatva Prachar Vibhag (Ideology Dissemination Department). It was revived and revitalised in the late Eighties by the Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation. That was the beginning of the new Gandhi Vichar Parishad or Institute of Gandhian Studies at Wardha.
The Institute of Gandhian Studies or Gandhi Vichar Parishad in its present form was established at Wardha on October 7, 1987. Initially the Institute started its activities within the Campus of Mahatma Gandhi,s Ashram at Sevagram. In the course of time, it has been moved to its new campus at Gopuri. Late Shri Ravindra Varma, freedom fighter, Gandhian activist and well known scholar was the founder Chairman of this Institute. The establishment of the Institute was the result of vision and work of Shri Ravindra Varma along with the active interest and full support of Shri Ramkrishna Bajaj, the then Chairman of the Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation. Shri Ravindra Varma served as the Chairman of the Institute from its inception till May 2000. From May 2000 onwards Justice Chandrsekhar Dharmadhikari has been guiding the activities of the Institute as the Chairman of the Institute.
Shri Ravindra Varma, founder Chairman of the Institute, was the first director of the Institute. He served as Director of the Institute from its inception to May 1999. Dr. Raman Modi, formerly of Gujarat Vidyapith, followed him as Director of the Institute. He served the Institute from 1999 to 2005.Shri Bharat Mahodaya has been serving as the Director of the Institute from 2005 onwards.
Dr. Benudhar Pradhan, formerly Professor and head of Department of Political Science of Utkal University, was the first Dean of Studies and Research of the Institute. He served as the Dean from August 1991 to July 1998. He was followed by Prof. Ranjit Chaudhari as the Dean of Studies of the Institute. He served as the Dean of the Institute from August 1998 to April 2006. Dr. Siby K. Joseph has been serving as the Dean of Studies and Research of the Institute from August 2006 onwards.
During these years, the Institute has succeeded in establishing a high reputation for the variety of the courses of studies it offers, and for its uniqueness and academic excellence. It is now acclaimed as an outstanding institution by the academic community, thinkers, activists, trade unionists, youth, students, Gandhian workers and traditional organisations engaged in Gandhian work. These years also marked the extension of the activities of the Institute from the regional/national level to the international plane. The international programmes and courses organized by the Institute have opened up new vistas and area of activities. These programmes have created new expectations and wider acceptance of the credibility and competence of the Institute. Many institutions from abroad expect the Institute to run training programmes required for non-violent activists and academics and take up pioneering efforts in the field of peace, non-violence, conflict resolution, development and other similar areas.