By: Dr. Mohammad Aleem, Editor-ICN Group
NEW DELHI: Gandhi Jayanti is celebrated on October 2 every year marking the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi popularly know as Gandhiji. Fondly known as Bapu, he led the freedom struggle against British inspiring millions to take up the movement.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869, in Porbandar, Gujarat. Various events and functions remembering works of Gandhi are held at many places in the country.
India’s secularism is ascribed in part to Gandhi, and it is certainly true that Gandhi wanted the Indian state to be the homeland for Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians alike.
A preacher of non-violence, peace and co-existence was killed by a fanatic in the name of religion and jingoism.
Whenever this day will come, this debate over violence and non-violence is bound to be raised. And it is good if we keep discussing and mulling over it from time-to-time.
Gandhi’s vision of the secular state is a place where religious values and discourse are cherished and respected in all spheres of life, the public as well as the private, but in which no single religion is allowed to dominate the others.
Mahatma Gandhi was a visionary who had seen India as a secular country which is very much inherent in its DNA. Can anyone deny the existence of millions of Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and other minority communities in India?
Is it not a fact that they have the same rights as a citizen as any other person in the country? But unfortunately, there is a group of people who want to deny it. But can they succeed? I doubt that they will ever be.
It is a fact that India’s progress and prosperity lie in it’s the very nature of accepting to all and rejecting to none. If we did not follow this spirit, then, I fear that our enemies will get a chance to divide us and rule us as they had done for many centuries in the past just because of our weaknesses.
This great epitome of freedom struggle was totally against any kind of divisive politics. And for those people, who think that they can get clung with power for ever on the basis of divisive politics has no solid ground to stand on. It is like a home, made of sea sand near the roaring water of the sea.
He was the person who inspired many great leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela. They had fought bigotry, racism and chauvinism in the same way as Mahtma Gandhi had fought in his own time.
Martin Luther King Jr. had visited India in 1959. How he felt and observed our country can be easily felt and understood with his these passionate words:
‘‘To other countries I may go as a tourist, but to India I come as a pilgrim. The people showered upon us the most generous hospitality imaginable.… Almost every door was open so that our party was able to see some of India’s most important social experiments and talk with leaders in and out of Government, ranging from Prime Minister Nehru to village councilmen and Vinoba Bhave, the sainted leader of the land reform movement.’’
In a radio address made during his ﬁnal evening in India, King reﬂected: ‘‘since being in India, I am more convinced than ever before that the method of nonviolent resistance is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for justice and human dignity. In a real sense, Mahatma Gandhi embodied in his life certain universal principles that are inherent in the moral structure of the universe, and these principles are as inescapable as the law of gravitation’’
Other champion of the modern world history, Nelson Mandela`s says while unveiling the Gandhi Memorial at Pietermaritzburg on 6th June 1993.
“The enemies that Gandhi fought ignorance, disease, unemployment, poverty and violence are today commonplace in a country that had the potential to lead and uplift Africa. Today we are faced with the formidable task of reconstructing our country anew. Now more than ever is the time when we have to heed to the lessons of Mahatma Gandhi.”
I do hope that our leaders will pay heed to the wise words of these two great leaders of our time, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela, who took inspiration in their struggles from the great soul, Gandhi.