Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Feature: October 02 - remembering Mahatma Gandhi on his birth anniversary

On January 30, 1948 hundreds gathered for prayers with Mahatma Gandhi at Birla House in Delhi, among them, Nathuram Godse. The Hindu fanatic bowed before the Mahatma, then pulled a pistol and fired three shots at the father of the Indian nation. Gandhiji fell, uttering the words, "Hey Ram, Hey Ram."

Mahatma Gandhi with his spinning wheel, which became a symbol of India's resistance to British rule
"The light has gone out, and darkness is everywhere," Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru told the shocked nation, as he reported the assassination of Gandhi. Today, in a world ravaged by violence, hate and bigotry, Gandhi's message of non-violence may seem irrelevant.

However, in his time it was the most potent weapon in his struggle against British rule in his homeland.

Armed with his deep religious beliefs and a conviction that Indians must be masters of their own destiny, this tiny "half-naked Fakir" in a loincloth took on the mighty British empire and won.

Mahatma Gandhi with his political ally, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who became India's first prime minister.
For Gandhi the victory was hollow. Independence on August 15, 1947 was a day of mourning for the Mahatma because it was the day the Union Jack came down, to be replaced by flags of an Independent India and a new nation, Pakistan, a Muslim state, carved out of two sections of India.
Mahatma Gandhi with Pakistan's first prime minister, Muhammad Ali Jinnah

Millions attended the Mahatmas's funeral. Kings, presidents and other world leaders joined the man in the street to pay homage to this apostle of peace whom the U.S. Secretary of State, General George. C Marshall described as "the spokesman for the conscience of all mankind."

Gen. Marshall said, "He was a man who made humility and simple truth more powerful than empire." And in an editorial, The Times of London wrote: "No country but India and no religion but Hinduism could have given birth to a Gandhi."

In a tribute to the "great soul" Albert Einstein said: "Generations to come... will scare believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth."

At the close of the 20th century TIME magazine named Einstein the person of the century, with Gandhi as the runner-up for the title.

Read the TIME essay on Gandhi
View a photo essay of Gandhi's life
Read Nelson Mandela's tribute to Gandhi

(Gandhi tribute by JAI PARASRAM First published on JYOTI October 02, 2011)

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai