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Gandhi is still relevant: PM

books Updated: Aug 10, 2007 04:21 IST
Saroj Nagi
Saroj Nagi
Hindustan Times
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi underlined the continuing and universal relevance of Mahatma Gandhi’s message in the contemporary world and welcomed the UN General Assembly’s decision to declare October 2 as International Non-violence Day.

“His message has a global relevance and continues to do so in our troubled times. As long as we live in a world where there is injustice, inequality, violence, greed and hatred, the message of the Mahatma will ring true for all,’’ Singh said. He added that Gandhi belonged to all humankind. Singh said the Mahatma’s Quit India call — made this day in 1942 — was not a negative slogan of rejection but a positive slogan of empowerment, with satyagraha being used to arouse the latent energies of people.

he prime minister, who commended Sonia for taking for taking “several initiatives to perpetuate Gandhiji’s memory or future generations,” was speaking to a large gathering at the launch of a commemorative volume — “Gandhian Way — Peace, Non-violence and Empowerment.’’ The publication is based on the deliberations at an international satyagraha conference in New Delhi in January which several world leaders attended. Sonia said the volume “reaffirms our collective commitment to the Mahatma’s enduring principles.’’

The Congress chief, who will address the UN on October 2 to launch the international day of non-violence, said Gandhi’s message is “timeless and eternal.”

Sonia found the timing and venue of the function appropriate: it was on the Quit India anniversary and the venue was Gandhi Smriti where Gandhi spent his last days — a point made also by Gandhi’s granddaughter Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee. “We come here on a pilgrimage, we come here to pay homage to his memory, we come here to renew our faith in his teachings, his ideals,’’ Sonia said.

The PM, Sonia and other speakers recalled that the conference’s call for declaring October 2 as international non-violence day was endorsed by 142 nations.

“This single act…reflects a widespread desire for global peaceful existence,’’ Sonia said.