“My religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God. Non-violence is the means of realizing Him.”
These profound words of wisdom were by Mahatma Gandhi. He was given the name “Mahatma” by Rabindranath Tagore. Although he never took it to heart as he believed it was unworthy of him being called as one. He led a philosophical and philanthropic life till his last breath.
India Celebrates the birth anniversary of our beloved Mahatma Gandhi also popularly known as Father of the nation, as Gandhi Jayanti. Tenderly called as “Baapu”, Gandhiji was born on October 2nd 1869 at Porbandar in Gujarat. United Nations acknowledged his contribution towards peace and non violence and further declared October 2nd as the International Day of Non Violence.
It is observed as a national holiday to pay homage to the birth of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (October 2, 1869-January 30, 1948). His non violence or Satyagraha tends to influence individuals belonging to politics and social movements even till date. The celebration and quintessence of Gandhi Jayanti is not confined within the territory of India rather his popularity transcends to nations unknown. The remembrance of his contribution can be clearly understood by the recognition that United Nation has bestowed upon the day.
We must remember this day as a celebration to revisit the obstacle infused journey of this extraordinary man who spearheaded the freedom struggle in flushing out the foreign feet from our motherland. His childhood memories and experiences are clearly depicted by him in his autobiography “My Experiment with Truth”. Gandhi at the age of 18 went to England to study law and returned to India in 1915. At Raj Ghat, New Delhi, and across India, people surround near his mausoleum and carry out the ritual that includes offering flowers on Gandhi’s pictures, statues and singing his favorite devotional song “Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram..”
The government offices, banks, schools and post offices remain closed on Gandhi Jayanti to commemorate “Father of the Nation”. Moreover as a tribute to this great man, the Indian Government issues rupee notes and also post stamp showcasing Gandhi’s image. Gandhi Jayanti traditionally starts by singing prayers, offering flowers, lighting candles and garlanding Gandhiji’s photo or statue. Mahatma Gandhi’s life and principles and has inspired lives of all ages.
Many avid followers go an extra mile in preserving Gandhi’s belongings, works and writings through various means with the support of government and non profit organizations. Gandhi’s belongings go for whopping amount at auctions overseas. This clearly specifies what strong impact he had on individuals. His followers fully devote their life towards his ideals of “ahimsa” i.e living a life by following non violence.
- Gandhi was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize as many as five times and the Nobel Committee has on record said it regrets never awarding him the coveted prize. When the Dalai Lama was awarded the prize in 1989, the chairman of the committee said it was partly a tribute to Gandhi.
- Gandhi walked and traveled almost 18 kilometers a day throughout his lifetime, which is sufficient enough to walk around the world twice.
- We can clearly see in all Indian currencies, Gandhi’s facial image being printed. The smiling Gandhi is a hit among the countrymen. Many of us think that image is drawn picture. Hence, in fact it was a photo shot and pictured in 1946 by an anonymous photographer.
- He worked as an editor for plethora of English, Hindi, Gujarati (his mother tongue) newspapers in India as well as South Africa, including the Harijan, Indian Opinion and the Young India.
- Mahatma Gandhi’s memoir titled An Autobiography of My Experiments with Truth, which provides a detailed account of his life in 1920s . It was published in 1927. In 1999 , Harper Collins publishers officially declared it one of the “100 Most Important Spiritual Books of the 20th century”.
- In 1999, Gandhi was declared the runner up for Time Magazine’s “Person of the century” title.
He lives in our heart even today because of the humongous contribution that he made in our freedom struggle and shaping our nation with utmost patriotism, compassion, brotherhood which he equally shared for his fellow countrymen.