Gandhi belongs to all humankind: Manmohan


New Delhi : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday toasted Mahatma Gandhi’s “universal and all-encompassing message” of satyagraha, peaceful non-violent resistance pioneered by him that delivered India from British rule, with the launch of “Gandhian Way” on the 65th anniversary of the Quit India movement.

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“This volume underscores Gandhiji’s message was not confined to his lifetime nor restricted to our people or region,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said after launching “Gandhian Way: Peace, Non-Violence and Empowerment” at Gandhi Smriti – the historic place where Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated 59 years ago.

“He belongs to all humankind and the values espoused by him will continue to inspire future generations,” Manmohan Singh said after launching the book in the presence of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

“Gandhiji was not just a national hero. His message had a global relevance and continues to do so in our troubled times,” the prime minister said.

“As long as we live in a world where there is injustice, inequality, violence, greed and hatred, the message of Mahatma will ring true for all,” he said.

“We are here on a pilgrimage … to reaffirm our collective commitment to the enduring principles of Gandhiji,” Sonia Gandhi said.

“Gandhiji’s message is timeless and eternal and was never confined to narrow divides of religion,” said Gandhi, the chairperson of the ruling United Progressive Alliance, while describing satyagraha as “the most powerful weapon of individual and social protest”.

Alluding to the UN resolution, co-sponsored by 142 countries, declaring Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday on Oct 2 as the International Day of Non-Violence, Sonia Gandhi said that it “reflected a widespread desire for global peaceful coexistence”.

Sonia will be going to New York to address the UN General Assembly on Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary.

Cabinet ministers, top Congress leaders, diplomats and mediamen turned up in droves for the function on a hot and humid August evening to soak in the magic and mystique of Gandhi. Defence Minister A.K. Antony welcomed the guests at the function.

“Gandhian Way”, published by Academic Foundation, is based on the international conference organised by the Congress party in January this year to commemorate 100 years of Gandhi’s satyagraha. The book has been edited by Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma.

The conference generated global interest with 91 countries and 122 organisations participating in it.

Containing rare photographs of Gandhi, the book compiles thoughts of eminent leaders and thinkers like Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Lech Walesa, Mohammad Yunus, Ela Gandhi, iconic Zambian leader Kenneth Kaunda and Asma Jahangir, many of whom participated in the satyagraha conference.