Gandhi Jayanti (2 Oct)
Gandhi Jayanti is one of the most important national events of India celebrated every year on 2nd October, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. This year marks the commencement of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhiji and hence huge enthusiasm and zeal is seen amongst the citizens of India to celebrate this joyous occasion. We celebrate this day with great pleasure every year to pay tribute to the Father of the Nation as well as to remember his values, principles and philosophy.
2nd of October is also celebrated internationally as the International Day of Non-Violence because of being a preacher of non-violence throughout his life. We remember Gandhiji as Bapu, as he was lovingly called so because he was a symbol of peace, non violence and truth. These were deeply rooted in our culture. Gandhiji experimented them with modern needs of the nation and found them as proper tools. Gandhiji was the man of simple living and high thinking. He was the pioneer of truth and non-violence who started the Satyagraha movement for India’s freedom. He worked hard for achieving Sawaraj, removing untouchability from society, for abolition of other social evils, improving economic condition of farmers, empowering women rights and many more.
Mahatma Gandhiji played a memorable role in uplifting the untouchables. According to Gandhiji, the practice of untouchability was “a leper wound in the whole-body of Hindu politics”. He even regarded it as “the most hateful expression of caste”. He made it his life’s mission to wipe out untouchability and to uplift the depressed and the downtrodden people. As a servant of mankind, he preached that all human beings are equal. Gandhiji worked not only for the political emancipation of the nation, but for liberation of all the suppressed and oppressed sections of society. One of the note worthy results of his life-work has been the awakening of women, which made them shed their deep-rooted sense of inferiority and rise to dignity and self- esteem. According to Gandhi, education for women was the need of the time that would ensure their moral development and make them capable of occupying the same platform as that of men. In Gandhi's views, women can never be considered to be the weaker sex. In fact, women for Gandhi were embodiments of virtues like knowledge, humility, tolerance, sacrifice and faith. The capability of enduring endless suffering can be witnessed only in the women, said Gandhiji. The doctrine of ahimsa as preached by Gandhiji incorporates the virtue of suffering as is evident in the women. Therefore, Gandhi envisaged a critical role for women in establishing non-violence.
In 1918 Mahatma Gandhi started his movement for Khadi as relief programme for the poor masses living in India's villages. Spinning and weaving was elevated to an ideology for self-reliance and self government. The spinning wheel was at one time the symbol of India's poverty and backwardness. Gandhiji turned it into a symbol of self-reliance and non-violence. Khadi enabled him to carry his message of swadeshi and swaraj to the people and to establish connection with them. It was for economic, cultural and social reasons and not merely political that Gandhiji established the Khadi Movement.
Mahatma Gandhi had a revolutionary vision about making India clean. ‘Revolutionary’, because he was probably the only leader of his time who realized that India’s emancipation was possible only through sanitation, not just independence. He did not just write about it but practiced what he preached. Along with ideas of Swadeshi and Non-Violence, Gandhi ji had a special mention about his concern for cleanliness. He often addressed people urging them to maintain hygiene, making them aware of the threat of the diseases they were surrounded with incase of dirty streets, water logged ditches and filthy lavatories. Cleanliness is the symbol of dignity, health and safety. Mahatma Gandhi took cleanliness to the level of spirituality. He had a firm belief in the proverb: ‘Cleanliness is next to godliness’. Taking this idea ahead the Hon’ble Prime Minister had launched the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ campaign and this campaign is being carried out successfully throughout India. To commemorate the 150th Birth Anniversary of Gandhiji, several events were organized by the government across the country. I have given a programme namely, “Gandhi Samagra”, to the Goa Government, under which we will commemorate all aspects of Gandhian values.
Mahatma Gandhi's life and principles has inspired lives of all ages. Hence, Gandhi Jayanti is the right occasion to internalize his perpetual and valuable philosophy, and we all must try to follow the principles laid by this great ‘Mahatma’.
Governor of Goa
1st October, 2018.