OCTOBER 2 – BIRTH ANNIVERSARY OF MAHATMA
Gandhi Jayanti is a national festival celebrated in India to mark the birth anniversary of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi born on 2nd October 1869.
It is celebrated anually on 2 October, and it is one of the three national holidays of India.
The UN General Assembly announced on 15 June 2007 that it adopted a resolution which declared that 2 October will be celebrated as the International Day of Non-Violence.
Painting and essay competitions are conducted and best awards are granted for projects in schools and the community encouraging a non-violent way of life as well as celebrating Gandhi’s effort in the Indian independence movement.
Gandhi’s favourite bhajan (Hindu devotional song), Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram, is usually sung in his memory.
Statues of Mahatma Gandhi throughout the country are decorated with flowers and garlands, and some people avoid drinking alcohol or eating meat on the day.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi ( 2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was an Indian activist who was the leader of the Indian independence movement against British rule.
Employing nonviolent civil disobedience, Gandhi unified the masses for a common struggle against the British rule non violently, and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world.
The honorific Mahātmā (Sanskrit: “high-souled”, “venerable”) – applied to him first in 1914 in South Africa – is now used worldwide.
In India, he is also called Bapu (Gujarati: endearment for father, papa) and Gandhi ji, and known as the Father of the Nation.
Gandhi’s vision of an independent India based on religious pluralism, however, was challenged in the early 1940s by a new Muslim nationalism which was demanding a separate Muslim homeland carved out of India.
Eventually, in August 1947, Britain granted independence, but the British Indian Empire was partitioned into two dominions, a Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan.
As many displaced Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs made their way to their new lands, religious violence broke out, especially in the Punjab and Bengal. Eschewing the official celebration of independence in Delhi, Gandhi visited the affected areas, attempting to provide solace.
In the months following, he undertook several fasts unto death to stop religious violence.
The last of these, undertaken on 12 January 1948 when he was 78, also had the indirect goal of pressuring India to pay out some cash assets owed to Pakistan.
Some Indians thought Gandhi was too accommodating. Among them was Nathuram Godse, a Hindu nationalist, who assassinated Gandhi on 30 January 1948 by firing three bullets into his chest.
Captured along with many of his co-conspirators and collaborators, Godse and his co-conspirator Narayan Apte were tried, convicted and executed while many of their other accomplices were given prison sentences.