New Delhi : As nations continue to grapple with conflict, violence and terror, Gandhian values are more vital than ever, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Tuesday as the world celebrated Mahatma Gandhi’s 138th birth anniversary as International Day of Non-Violence.
“For as long as there is temptation to resort to violence in the human mind, the Mahatma’s message of non-violence will tug at our hearts,” the prime minister said at an event in Vigyan Bhavan to observe the day, where he also released a commemorative stamp.
“The fact that the international community has today come to observe this day as the International Day of Non-Violence in memory of Mahatma Gandhi, should ensure that generations to come would never forget the eternal message of the Mahatma.”
The prime minister said the ideas and ideals of Gandhi – the Father of the Nation — will continue to resonate as long as there is strife and injustice, inequality and indignity, pain and suffering, and violence and hatred.
Gandhi’s message lay in some key words associated with him — tolerance, truth, transparency, non-violence and self-respect — the prime minister said.
“There is permanence in these principles and values that transcends and unites humankind.
“You will agree with me that many ‘isms’ have battled for our minds over this past century, but few have succeeded in touching our hearts. Many political ideologies, and movements based on them, have come and gone, some with doubtful legacies and others with terrible consequences.”
He went on to state that Gandhi’s philosophy had stood the test of time and would continue to do so, as long as human kind seeks peace and equality of all people.
The prime minister was of the view that Gandhi’s message of non-violence has been underscored time and again by the lives and teachings of great men of peace such as Martin Luther King Junior and Nelson Mandela.
“Wherever and whenever injustice is redressed and freedom won through peaceful means, Gandhiji will always be remembered.”
Stating that Gandhi gave practical shape to his beliefs in a given historical and social context, the prime minister said: “Be it in England, be it in South Africa, be it in India — he applied his ideas to concrete situations. He endeavoured to make a practical difference to the lives of ordinary people.”
The prime minister stressed that Gandhi was not some ‘lofty saint’ but also a great ‘political leader’.
“He was regarded as a Mahatma because he practised what he preached. Because he cared for the poorest of the poor, the weakest of the weak,” he pointed out.