New Delhi, Oct 2 (EFE).- India paid tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 154th birth anniversary on Monday, remembering his ideals of truth and non-violence amid alleged reports of rising hate crimes and communal polarization in the backdrop of growing Hindu nationalism.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, better known as “Mahatma” (“great soul”) Gandhi, was born on Oct 2, 1869, in the city of Porbandar in western Gujarat state.
Traditionally, people lay floral wreaths at his statues to celebrate the “Gandhi Jayanti” holiday.
President Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the nation in honoring the so-called “prophet of peace and non-violence” at the Rajghat memorial, where he was cremated after his assassination in 1948.
“I bow to Mahatma Gandhi on the special occasion of Gandhi Jayanti,” Modi wrote on social media platform X formerly known as Twitter.
Modi, the icon of Hindu nationalism and often accused of being anti-Muslim, said Gandhi’s “timeless teachings continue to illuminate our path.”
“Mahatma Gandhi’s impact is global, motivating the entire humankind to further the spirit of unity and compassion,” the prime minister said.
Gandhi was one of the main architects of India’s freedom struggle and a champion of truth, non-violence, religious harmony, and an egalitarian society.
Opposition Indian National Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge also went to the Rajghat to pay his obeisance “to the ideals” of Gandhi on his birthday.
“Mahatma Gandhi ji is not just an individual. He is an idea, an ideology, and the moral compass of our great nation,” Kharge wrote on X.
“His ideals of truth, non-violence, freedom, equality, and coexistence have eternal value.”
Gandhi led a peaceful resistance movement against British rulers in India with a message of religious harmony that supported the diversity of the subcontinent and was decisive for the nation’s independence.
“There are many causes that I am prepared to die for, but no causes that I am prepared to kill for,” Gandhi once said.
His birthday is also observed as the International Day of Non-Violence. Gandhi was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize on 12 occasions.
After a few years of university education in England, Gandhi settled in South Africa, where he was removed from a train for not being white—an event that led him to begin his doctrine of civil disobedience against the British Empire.
Although some of his ideas have been questioned, the figure of Gandhi continues to evoke passion for his commitment to moral integrity and the defense of peace and harmony in public life. EFE