UN celebrates International Day of Non-Violence on 2 October, recalls Mahatma Gandhi's beliefs

United Nations: 'The legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela is that they were exemplars of the fundamental belief that the drivers of conflict are all amenable to non-violent solutions,' India's Permanent Representative to the UN Syed Akbaruddin said on the International Day of Non-Violence. He further said that it is this belief that underpins the activities of the UN.

At an event held at the UN headquarters in New York to commemorate the International Day of Non-Violence, the top Indian diplomat said the three leaders advocated non-violence to usher social and political changes that were national in nature.

Yet their approach of peaceful, non-violent resolution of differences resonates globally, he said.

"The achievements of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela demonstrate that the outcome of non-violent change, achieved through persuasion rather than coercion, are durable," Akbaruddin said at the meeting which was addressed by representatives from several countries in addition to Miroslav Lajcak, President of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly.

File photo of the United Nations headquarters. Reuters

File photo of the United Nations headquarters. Reuters

The UN General Assembly had on 17 June, 2007 voted to establish 2 October – the birth day of Mahatma Gandhi – as the International Day of Non-Violence.

Referring to the remarks made by other leaders at the UN's commemorative event, Akbaruddin said the discussion are an effort to seek pathways to tackle the situation the world is confronted with. It is imbued with the hope that the concept of non-violence, which is as old as civilisation, can provide a path forward, he said.

As Mahatma Gandhi once said, "I have nothing new to teach the world. Truth and Non-violence are as old as the hills. All I have done is to try experiments in both, on as vast a scale as I could," he said.

Observing that the message of non-violence is therefore needed more today than ever, Lajcak said, "Unfortunately, we are not yet living in the world that Gandhi dreamt of. Many actors still use violence as their tool of choice. Every day there is new evidence of the destruction and human suffering, which result from this choice"

"Intolerance and hate speech are features of our world and International human rights and humanitarian law are constantly violated," Lajcak said.

"Conflicts, violent extremism, and terrorism don't show any signs of decreasing. Even the planet is suffering from a violence of sorts, due to the harmful impact of human activities," he added.

The Gandhi Memorial centre in a Maryland suburb of Washington DC in cooperation with Embassy of India had a special evening of celebrations to mark the 148th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

Early in the morning, the Indian Ambassador to the US, Navtej Sarna, offered flora; tributes to the apostle of peace to the statue of Mahatma Gandhi located in front of the Embassy premises.

In New York, Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan joined hands with the Consulate General of India, to celebrate Gandhi Jayanti at the Gandhi Statue in Union Square Park. The programme included offering of floral tribute and singing of Gandhiji's favourite bhajans by the students of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.

Gandhi Foundation of US and Indian Consulate in Atlanta celebrated International Day of Non-violence at the historic Gandhi statue.

Mahatma Gandhi Memorial of North Texas celebrated Gandhi's birthday on 1 October at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Plaza in Irving, Dallas, with a large number of people participating in "Gandhi Peace Walk."

Updated Date: Oct 03, 2017 07:20 AM

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