We in India celebrate different festivals throughout the year. Many of them pertain to different religions and communities, but some are national festivals and festivals of national importance. Gandhi Jayanti happens to be one of those.
Gandhi Jayanti is celebrated every year on October 2 to make the birth of The Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. This is a day when the nation remembers and pays tribute to a person who gave his life to the country.
Mahatma Gandhi led the freedom movement against British rule with several other leaders. He was an advocate of nonviolence, a philosophy which inspired many civil rights movements across the world. This day is also celebrated as the International Day of Non-Violence by the United Nations. The day honours the “universal significance of the concept of nonviolence” with the goal to “secure a culture of peace, tolerance, understanding and nonviolence.”
Mahatma Gandhi – The Leader
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on 2nd October 1869 in Gujarat. He started life by becoming a lawyer and worked in South Africa. Never one to accept any form of discrimination, he organised a civil disobedience movement in South Africa to protest against discrimination by Whites. He returned to India in 1915 and embarked on a train journey to different parts of the country to understand the problems of farmers, peasants, labourers, and other oppressed people. He assumed the leadership of the Indian National Congress in 1921 and rose to become one of its prominent leaders and an iconic figure in Indian politics.
Mahatma Gandhi believed in religious pluralism, wanted India to be a secular nation, and fought to make it a reality.
He was shot dead by a Hindu nationalist, Nathuram Godse, on January 31, 1948.
Gandhi Jayanti Celebrations
The day is marked with prayer services, memorial ceremonies and cultural activities in schools, colleges and all government institutions. Mahatma Gandhi’s sculptures are adorned with flowers and garlands to the tune of his favourite hymn Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram. People commemorate his memory by taking on initiatives and projects to make a difference in the community. The day draws our attention to the need to care for the downtrodden,
Mahatma Gandhi said,
“I am endeavouring to see God through the service of humanity, for I know that God is neither in heaven nor down below, but in everyone.”
On the occasion of the 153rd birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation, let us try and imbibe some of his teachings into our lives.