Gandhi Jayanti (October 2nd) marks the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, fondly known as 'Bapu'. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, born on October 2nd 1869 at Porbandar in Gujarat, is referred to as Bapuji by his intimate friends and acquaintances, Gandhiji by most other Indians including his critics, and Mahatma Gandhi by the rest of the world.
Gandhiji is a symbol of peace and humanity. We remember him on his birthday and every other solemn occasion as the United Nations has declared October 2 as the International Day of Non-Violence.
Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday, is celebrated with great enthusiasm throughout the country. The President, Prime Minister and other eminent leaders pay tribute to this beloved of nation at Raj Ghat, Delhi. The enchanting bhajan 'Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram', a favourite of Gandhiji, adds melody to the occasion. Philosophies, ideologies, verses and teachings of Gandhiji are remembered on this occasion, reflecting our love and respect towards the selfless great man India has ever produced.
by the Mahatma
Ahimsa is the highest duty. Even if we cannot practice it in full, we must try to understand its spirit and refrain as far as is humanly possible from violence.
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.
It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.
It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.
You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.
Honest differences are often a healthy sign of progress.
Ideologies of the Mahatma
Gandhiji's philosophy and his ideologies of Satya (truth) and Ahimsa (non-violence) were influenced by the Bhagavad Gita and the Hindu beliefs, the Jain religion and the pacifist Christian teachings of Leo Tolstoy.
Gandhiji, a vegetarian and a follower of the Hindu idea of Brahmacharya - spiritual and practical purity, spent one day of each week in silence. He believed that abstaining from speaking brought him inner peace, an influence drawn from the Hindu principles of Mouna (silence) and Shanti (peace).
Returning from South Africa, Gandhiji gave up wearing Western-style clothing, which he associated with wealth and success. He advocated the use of homespun cloth (khadi). Gandhiji and his followers adopted the practice of weaving their own clothes from thread. They themselves spun, and encouraged others to do so. The spinning wheel was later incorporated in the flag of the Indian National Congress.
Gandhiji speaks of his philosophy and way of life in his autobiography 'The Story of my Experiments with Truth'.
The Constitution of India, through the fundamental rights, granted equality before the law to all citizens of India. It prohibits discrimination on the grounds of caste, religion, race, sex or birth and abolishes untouchability. India follows the values of truth and nonviolence even as the country's democratic set-up represents the ideal of Swaraj.
Bapu used Satyagraha as a means to improve the condition of people and bring about social justice in areas such as universal education, women's rights, communal harmony, eradication of poverty, promotion of khadi and so on.
Gandhiji enumerated Seven Social Sins, which are -
- Politics without Principles.
- Wealth without Work.
- Pleasure without Conscience.
- Knowledge without Character.
- Commerce without Morality.
- Science without Humanity.
- Worship without Sacrifice.
|Literary Works of Gandhiji|
No one can deny that Gandhiji was a prolific writer. He edited several newspapers e.g. Harijan, Indian Opinion, Young India and Navajivan.
Gandhiji also wrote several books including his autobiography - An Autobiography of My Experiments with Truth. His other works include Satyagraha in South Africa, Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule, and Key To Health among many of his famous books.
Gandhiji's complete works were published by the Publication Division with the name The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (External website that opens in a new window) in 1960s. The writings comprise about 50,000 pages published in about a hundred volumes.
Tribute to Gandhiji
The word Mahatma is taken from the Sanskrit words maha (Great) and atma (Soul). Rabindranath Tagore is said to have accorded the title Mahatma to Gandhiji. He influenced important leaders and political movements.
"Mahatma Gandhi came and stood at the door of India's destitute millions, clad as one of themselves": Rabindranath Tagore
"The only ray of light - He was the only ray of light to help us through these darkest days": Khan Abdul Gafar Khan
"A leader of his people, unsupported by only outward authority; a politician whose success rests not upon craft nor mastery of technical devices, but simply on the convincing power of his personality; a victorious fighter who has always scorned the use of force; a man of wisdom and humility, armed with resolve and inflexible consistency, who has devoted all his strength to the uplifting of his people and the betterment of their lot; a man who has confronted the brutality of Europe with the dignity of the simple human being, and thus at all times risen superior".
Generations to come, it may be, will scarce believe that such one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth": Albert Einstein
"Like most people, I had heard of Gandhi, but I had never studied him seriously. As I read, I became deeply fascinated by his campaigns of nonviolent resistance.... The whole concept of Satyagraha was profoundly significant to me": Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
"I and others may be revolutionaries but we are disciples of Mahatma Gandhi, directly or indirectly, nothing more nothing less": Ho Chi Minh
"He was right; he knew he was right, we all knew he was right. The man who killed him knew he was right. However long the follies of the violent continue, they but prove that Gandhi was right. 'Resist to the very end', he said, 'but without violence'. Of violence the world is sick. Oh, India, dare to be worthy of your Gandhi": Pearl S. Buck
"Impressions of Gandhi? You might well ask for someone's impression of the Himalayas": Bernard Shaw
"Mahatma Gandhi will go down in history on a par with Buddha and Jesus Christ": Earl Mountbatten
Send warm and hearty Gandhi Jayanti greetings to your loved ones. Check out the online e-Cards and send your wishes.
'We all bow our heads in respect to our beloved Bapu'
October the 2nd
In 2007, by adopting Resolution 61/271, the United Nations established the International Day of Non-Violence. Learning from the example of Mahatma Gandhi’s life, the global community has recognised that tolerance and cooperation can be more powerful tools than forceful interventions. Gandhi has been a real inspiration for non-violent movements for civil rights across the world. Throughout his life, Gandhi remained committed to his belief in non-violence “even under oppressive conditions and in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges.”1
Gandhi’s action followed a precise philosophy behind it: respect of the rule of law and recognition of injustice by not following stigmatised written orders. In fact, Gandhi’s non-violent action included encouraging massive civil disobedience to British law (see for instance the historic Salt March of 1930.) Fundamentally, according to Gandhi, “it is irrational to try to use violence to achieve a peaceful society.”2
Whilst 2015 was marking the 70th anniversary of this International Day and in 2014 the global community was focusing on the resilience of older women and men as an example for all human beings, in 2016 the real focal point was the link between non-violence and sustainability. As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has stated:
“We know that a culture of non-violence begins with respect for others, but it does not end there. To nurture peace, we must respect nature. I am pleased this year’s International Day of Non-Violence puts the focus on sustainability and the environment.”3
What is “non-violence”?
Fundamentally, “the principle of non-violence rejects the use of physical violence in order to achieve social or political change.”4 Often described as "the politics of ordinary people", this form of social struggle has been adopted by people all over the world in campaigns for justice and human rights.
‘Non-violence’ is a term that has been frequently used as a synonym of ‘pacifism.’ However, the idea behind non-violent movements is different from the pacifist philosophy. In fact, pacifism is connected to the opposition of war. Instead, non-violence seeks to undermine the power of rulers through “withdrawal of the consent and cooperation of the populace.”5 Thus, non-violent movements are active and strongly engaged with the political and social need for a progressive change.
Inciting violence in the Philippines
Whilst the world tries to depart from the enactment of forceful practices and human rights abuses, the Philippines are experiencing today a very different situation: incitement of violence by the President himself, Rodrigo Duterte.
The people of the Philippines, as Amnesty International has reported, have been suffering human rights abuses on many different levels. “Torture and other ill-treatment by police continued in a climate of impunity for human rights violations. There were no convictions under laws criminalizing torture and enforced disappearances.”6 With journalists, lawyers and Indigenous Peoples killed on a daily basis, human rights groups accused an armed militia “allegedly trained by the military of being behind the killings.”7
In a climate of abuses and violations, President Duterte has repeatedly incited the population to violence, especially against drug users and dealers – as the CIPADH has previously covered. As Oliver Holmes, from the Guardian, reported, Rodrigo Duterte publicly stated:
“Hitler massacred three million Jews ... there’s three million drug addicts. There are. I’d be happy to slaughter them.”8
Now, Kate Lamb – British journalist – seems to have evidence of the involvement of governmental armed forces in these operations of “drug cleansing” which led to the extra judicial killing of more than 3,600 people since 1 July 2016. For the first time, a serving officer is revealing the working mechanisms of a campaign “to rid the streets of unwanted citizens.”9 This officer claimed that he has been part of one of the 10 highly secretive police teams “coordinated to execute a list of targets: suspected drug users, dealers and criminals.”10 As much as this is just the first of many evidences that could fully prove the actions of such special operational police teams, Brad Adams, the executive director of the Asia division at Human Rights Watch, stated that this scenario could be “extremely credible.”11
Hence, ultimately, the importance of a day like the 2nd of October is even more highlighted considering the issues surrounding a country like the Philippines. The incitement of violence and the complete disregard of human rights need to be fought against. Moreover, perhaps, the tool that could be used in response to this incitement of violence is non-violence itself.
1United Nations, International Day of Non-Violence – 2 October. Available at: http://www.un.org/en/events/nonviolenceday/index.shtml
6Amnesty International, “Philippines 2015/2016 – Annual Report.” Available at: https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/asia-and-the-pacific/philippines/re...
8HOLMES Oliver (October 2016) “Rodrigo Duterte vows to kill 3 million drug addicts and likens himself to Hitler”, the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/30/rodrigo-duterte-vows-to-ki...
9LAMB Kate (October 2016) “Philippines secret death squads: officer claims police teams behind wave of killings”, the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/04/philippines-secret-death-s...
MR - Research Assistant at CIPADH
Al Jazeera English, “Human Rights Watch: Duterte inciting more deaths in the Philippines” (September 2016). In: YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78Cc-7WtUhs
Amnesty International, “Philippines 2015/2016 – Annual Report.” Available at: https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/asia-and-the-pacific/philippines/re...
BBC News, “Philppines' Rodrigo Duterte on drug-pushers and Pope” (May 2016). In: YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GSwEd5NdGw
HOLMES Oliver (October 2016) “Rodrigo Duterte vows to kill 3 million drug addicts and likens himself to Hitler”, the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/30/rodrigo-duterte-vows-to-ki...
LAMB Kate (October 2016) “Philippines secret death squads: officer claims police teams behind wave of killings”, the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/04/philippines-secret-death-s...
OHCHR (June 2007) “Resolution 61/271. International Day of Non-Violence”, General Assembly, 61st session, United Nations. Available at: http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/61/271
United Nations, International Day of Non-Violence – 2 October. Available at: http://www.un.org/en/events/nonviolenceday/index.shtml