In 1969, the year MGIMS was born, Dr Sushila Nayar wrote a unique conduct of conduct which students, faculty and health workers strictly adhered to. Wearing Khadi, a handspun and handwoven cloth, was the key component of the code of conduct. “Khadi is not mere a piece of cloth but a way of life”, said Dr Sushila Nayar who all her life wore Khadi.
Deeply influence by Mahatma Gandhi’s principles, Dr Sushila Nayar strongly believed that Khadi bonded rich and poor, and equated Khadi to self-reliance and self government.
When Gandhiji said in 1920, in 'Young India', "I present the spinning wheel on which depends India's economic salvation", khadi was envisaged as a means to attain self-reliance and self- respect, to empower women and men in rural areas, `the backbone of India', as the Mahatma loved to say. It spurred on young idealists who had but one aim then - freedom. To be seen in khadi was patriotic, it showed disdain for the 'angrezi' aggressor and displayed loud and clear where the wearer's loyalties lay.
Gandhiji felt that if every Indian wore Khadi, not only would India cease to be dependent on foreign materials (symbolizing foreign rule) but more importantly, this strategy would help the country to gain real independence.
During that time, the British took cotton to England and sent back costly finished cloth, depriving the local population of work and profits on it. India accounted for half of Britain's cotton exports, but as part of his campaign for Indian independence, Gandhi called for a boycott of imported Lancashire cotton.
Gandhiji also felt that in a county where manual labor was looked down upon, Khadi would bridge the gap between rich and poor. This practice, he said, would elevate the dignity of hand-labor. He wrote that the rich have a moral obligation towards poor and asked every person to spin an hour a day. Khadi was created not just for the masses but more to make the weavers and spinners independent. Thus, the Khadi Movement was born not for political reasons alone but for economic, cultural and social reasons.
Dr Sushila Nayar would get very glad whenever she would see her students, khadi-clad. “Khadi brings my students and doctors closer to the population they serve - villagers”, she would repeatedly say whenever she addressed students.
Schumacher once called Gandhiji the greatest economist of the century because human worth, human dignity and human hand were key to the Gandhian concept of mass employment. Gandhiji believed that there was a large scope for bringing together nature’s blessings, which were being wasted, and people’s capacity, which remained untapped.
“Shramdan is a wonder drug which corrects the pathology of wants and misery,” so said Dr Sushila Nayar. “Nature has intended man to earn his bread by manual labour- but by the sweat of his brow.”she would often take pride in quoting her Guru. And she asked her students, faculty and paramedics to devote Friday evening for voluntary self-labour. Thus, much before the present government asked the people to participate in Swachcha Bharat Abhiyan, MGIMS had already began practising this concept- so dear to Mahatma Gandhi.
Inter-religious prayer is the third code of conduct at MGIMS. To Gandhiji, prayer was for remembering God and for purifying the heart, and could be offered even when observing silence. The prayer from a pure heart never goes unanswered.
Dr Sushila Nayar would often remind the students and the faculty that in the first shloka of Ishopanishad, that is recited every Friday evening in MGIMS, one is asked to dedicate everything to God and then use it to required extent.
The Friday evening prayers consist of a collection of prayers, culled from from different religious texts like the Holy Koran, Zend Avesta, the Holy Bible, Guru Granth Sahib and the Hindu and Buddhist scriptures.