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Gandhi Jayanti- Twenty -Twenty

by Shehnaz Gujral
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Gandhi Jayanti is celebrated on October 2 every year to mark the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of nation who is fondly remembered as Bapu. It is observed across States and Union Territories in India, and is one of the officially declared national holidays.

Karamchand Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869, in Porbandar, Gujarat. This year will mark Bapu’s 151st birth anniversary.

As school going children, we would check the days on calendar to confirm if his birthday was falling on a week day. That one day of holiday would bring smiles on our faces. Had we known that we will ever have a Pandemic Year where everyday would become work from home, that holiday would seldom have brought joy.
Monthly pocket money of a good sum of Rs.10 fascinated us on the first of every month. Diwali, Eid and tokens of love from Grand parents were showered with Rs.20 We met Gandhi ji on these precious notes. I would be awe struck thinking why this gentleman is on currency notes.
Social Studies lessons unspooled the contributions of the true light of our nation. His contributions towards the Indian Independence movement, and his non-violent way of life are a constant reminder to the much-deviated youth of today. He led the Dandi Salt March in 1930. In 1942, he launched the Quit India Movement.

Is it not ironical that we are celebrating the birthday of Bapu, who was also instrumental in abolishing the age-old practice of untouchability? On June 15, 2007, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution that declared October 2 as International Day of Non-Violence.  The resolution reaffirms “the universal relevance of the principle of non-violence” and the desire “to secure a culture of peace, tolerance, understanding and non-violence”

Dalit girls raped and brutally murdered without any accountability in the times, when we wrongly interpreted that man is going to behave in the most humane way. Human race has gone to the dogs. Unabated acts of brutality are recurring without any remorse. Nirbhay, Kathua, Hathras or Balrampur are the few numbers in the ether of sins.
His favourite Bhajan, Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram is sung at Public Functions reminiscing Gandhi ji. Let us understand the essence of  the song, his principles, ethics and his fight for noble causes such as Apartheid and social evils present in the society.

This was not the India of his dreams. Divided India on religion, caste, creed, race, prejudice which speaks the voice of rich. His heart would have bled with pain to see the India of the disoriented. Let us pay homage to Bapu not in words but deeds.

Can we pledge to follow his footsteps with this quote in the melancholy days.

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

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