Mahatma Gandhi birth anniversary is celebrated as Gandhi Jayanti all over India. Celebrations of Gandhi Jayanti in 2nd October 2017.
Gandhi Jayanti - Gandhi Jayanti is observed on 2nd October every year to honor the birth of Mahatma Gandhi. Endearingly known as ‘Bapu’, Mahatma Gandhi’s principle of non-violence or ‘satyagraha’ still finds favor with human and civil rights ideologies. As such, Gandhian thought and value system have been instrumental in establishing peace in various parts of the world. Organizing mass movements through non-violent means in the pursuit of freedom, justice and social change is part of Gandhi’s philosophy. United Nations observes 2nd October as the International Day of non-violence aimed at educating the world about Mahatma Gandhi’s thoughts and ideals.
Gandhi's unwavering belief in non-violence, truth and peace and high moral standards made him a very effective leader. It eventually brought the entire nation under its fold, encouraging people to work concertedly for the cause of India’s freedom. After his brief stint in South Africa where he had his first brush with apartheid, Gandhi came to India and applied his own vision and theory of non-violence or ‘ahimsa’ to deal with oppression and injustice. His stress on achieving social and economic rights for women, the harijans, lepers and poor farmers was part of his vision for achieving an equitable society. He was assassinated on January 30, 1948.
Gandhi’s methods consisted of resisting oppression through peaceful means using the pillars of strong will and truth. He showed the strength in mass movements such as the non-cooperation movement in 1922, Dandi March in 1930 and Quit India Movement in 1942. He gave the call for true ‘swaraj’ or self-rule. Finally, the British rule came to an end and India was declared an independent country on 15th August, 1947. Thus, Mahatma Gandhi Jayanti commemorates Gandhi’s contribution as the political and spiritual trailblazer in the freedom movement of India.
The essence of Mahatma Gandhi Jayanti
The significance of Gandhi Jayanti lies in Mahatma’s Gandhi’s legacy, the profound sense of dignity and self-will that Gandhi instilled in people. Gandhi’s life carries loads of meaning for all of us. His belief in truth and non-violence and his own determination to live life on these terms has a message for everyone. He asserted that we must discipline ourselves spiritually to achieve anything in life. His life also carries the message of ‘simple living, high thinking’. We must also apply his principles in combating social, political and economic injustice.
Gandhi Jayanti Celebrations
On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, the President and Prime Minister of India, and officials holding high office in the government assemble and pay homage at Raj Ghat, the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi.
Gandhi Jayanti is a nationwide celebration that encompasses people of all religions and communities. People pay tribute to Gandhi at Raj Ghat, New Delhi. To mark this occasion, people place flowers and wreaths near Gandhi's picture or statue, light candles and sing the devotional song ‘Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram’.
All government offices, banks, schools and post offices remain closed on Gandhi ji‘s birthday. Apart from India, several other countries have also issued stamps bearing Gandhi's photos till date. In his memory, the United Nations issued a postal stamp to mark Mahatma Gandhi's 40th birthday.
To commemorate Gandhi ji‘s birthday, prayer meetings are held at national, state and local levels. Various essay competitions are conducted in schools and colleges and awards are given away for projects that uphold Gandhian thought and principle. Various cultural centres organize a retrospective on Gandhi by showing movies based on his life and reciting hymns from holy books. Art exhibitions are also held depicting snippets of Gandhiji’s life and his involvement during various milestones in the Indian National Movement.
2nd October is also declared a dry day, that is, selling and consumption of alcohol is prohibited on this day.