The UN designating October 2 as the International Day of Non-violence is a proud moment for India and the world, the Prime Minister said on Tuesday.
Singh was flagging off an Ahimsa Diwas Yatra from the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters to mark the Mahatma’s 138th birth anniversary. Democracy goes hand-in-hand with the principles of non-violence and it is the Congress party’s responsibility to carry Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals of ahimsa forward, he said.
Politicians and dignitaries went to Rajghat to pay homage to the father of the nation on his 138th birth anniversary from early in the morning. These included President Pratibha Patil Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Defence Minister A K Antony, former prime minister I K Gujral, Minister of State for PMO Prithviraj Chavan and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit among many others.
Indian American astronaut Sunita Williams – described by her father Deepak Pandya as an “ardent Gandhi fan” – said: “I respect Gandhiji. He stood for the entire humanity and is eternally relevant.”
“Ahimsa is a weapon of the strong and powerful — a tool that facilitated the country’s independence without bloodshed,” Singh said.
Singh hoped that the global community would rediscover the relevance of Gandhi’s eternal message for fighting conflict, violence and terrorism. “Mahatma Gandhi’s message of love and peace, of non- violence and satyagraha, of the equality of all people, of harmony between all religions, is universal...,” he said.