India celebrates the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi as Mahatma Gandhi Jayanti on 2nd October. On 15 June 2007, the United Nations General Assembly declared this day as the International Day of Non-Violence. This was in honour of Mahatma Gandhi and his global popularity as a non-violent freedom fighter.
Here, you will discover the history and importance of Mahatma Gandhi Jayanti and understand his contributions to India and the world.
What is the History and Significance of Mahatma Gandhi Jayanti?
Mahatma Gandhi Jayanti is a national holiday that is observed in all Indian states and union territories. He became the leader of the Indian National Congress in 1921 and led multiple campaigns for attaining ‘Swaraj’. Ahimsa (non-violence) and Satyavad (truthfulness) were two of Gandhi’s principles during this protest against British rule.
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose gave him the title of “Father of the Nation” due to his relentless struggle for independence. With his tremendous efforts combined with significant contributions of other freedom fighters, India was able to push the British colonialists out.
Since that time, Gandhi ji’s birthday, 2nd October, has been celebrated as a day when we celebrate his everlasting legacy. Educational institutions, banks and all government and private offices are closed in honour of this day.
Furthermore, International Day of Non-Violence is observed in several countries other than India. These include the United States of America, South Africa, the United Kingdom etc.
Role of Mahatma Gandhi in Indian History
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, popularly known as Mahatma Gandhi, was one of the eminent leaders of the Indian Independence Movement. He was an Indian lawyer, anti-colonial nationalist and political ethicist. He not only inspired the movements for civil rights and self-governance in India but in several countries across the world.
● Life of Mahatma Gandhi
Raised in a Hindu family in Gujarat, Mohandas Gandhi studied law in London. After that, he went to South Africa to practice law. There, he first experienced racial discrimination and injustice. When he witnessed the plight of Indian peasants, he resolved to fight for justice and civil rights. He started the nonviolent Civil Disobedience Movement against the African officials.
He returned to India in 1915 and became a prominent figure in the Indian National Congress. Later on, he employed ‘Satyagraha’ (‘holding firmly to truth’) as his primary tool to bring political revolution in India.
● Significance of Mahatma Gandhi in the Indian Freedom Movement
Mahatma Gandhi played a significant role in India’s struggle for independence from British rulers. His philosophy of non-violence and truthfulness greatly impacted the Indian Independence movement. Some of this legend’s contributions include:
1. Non-violence Movement: To protest against the salt tax, Gandhi and his followers led the 400-km-long Dandi Salt March. This is one of the great instances of non-violent protest.
2. Civil Disobedience: Mohandas encouraged several civil disobedience acts such as protests, boycotts and non-cooperation with the British Government.
3. Quit India Movement: Gandhi initiated the Quit India Movement, in 1942, to immediately end British rule.
4. Mass Mobilisation: Gandhi unified the diverse Indian population into the freedom fight and made it a mass movement.
5. Negotiations with the British: Mohandas represented the Indian National Congress and negotiated several times with British officials for India’s Independence.
6. Role in the Constitution: Mahatma Gandhi’s ideologies on non-violence, social justice and decentralisation influenced the framing of the Indian constitution.
The Global Influence of Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi’s legacy inspired several countries through his message of non-violence. The changes he influenced were:
• His philosophy of nonviolent movement and civil disobedience inspired the American civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King Jr.
• He battled against racial injustice and religious intolerance, which influenced the South African freedom movement. Nelson Mandela was the father of the South African country, but Gandhi is their grandparent, claims Harris Majeke, the former South African envoy to India.
• Gandhi’s simple lifestyle and minimalistic approach to life inspired many people.
Best Places to Observe Gandhi Jayanti Celebrations in India
Here are the best places that celebrate Gandhi Jayanti in India with utmost enthusiasm:
● Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, Gujarat
● Aga Khan Palace in Pune, Maharashtra
● Gandhi Smriti Museum, Near Birla House, Delhi
● Mani Bhavan Gandhi Museum in Mumbai, Maharashtra
To conclude, Mahatma Gandhi Jayanti serves as a powerful reminder of Gandhi’s principles of non-violence, truth and social justice. It reminds us about the power of love, peace and non-violence. Commemorating this day emphasises his ideals once again and help us to become better individuals and begin the change within us.
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