(Last Updated on : 24/09/2010)
Gandhi Jayanti, a national festival of India, is celebrated to mark the occasion of the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, the "Father of the Nation". Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, also known as 'Bapu' or 'Father of the nation', was born on the 2nd of October in 1869, in Porbunder, Gujarat. On the same day on 2nd October A.D.1927 that the Indian National Congress, then fighting its non-violent struggle for independence, declared for Total Independence as against Dominion Status, and the members took the pledge to work for a Sovereign Democratic Republic of India.
Gandhiji studied law in U.K and practiced law in South Africa. But he left his profession and returned to India to join the Indian freedom struggle. He is the man who played a significant role in achieving independence for India from the British Empire with his simplicity and strong will power. It is one of the three official declared National Holidays of India and is observed in all its states and union territories.
He established the Satyagraha Ashram in Ahmedabad and the Sabarmati Ashram, which became a platform for introducing long-needed social reforms such as 'Harijan' welfare, small-scale industries and self-reliance and rehabilitation of lepers. Gandhi protested against the Rowlatt Bills and started a non-violent non-cooperation movement in India against the tyrant British rule. He violated the Salt Law by marching to Dandi in March 1930 and making salt and started the Civil Disobedience Movement in January 1932. In 1942, his final act of Satyagraha was 'Quit India' movement. He led his life that confirmed to his preaching. His morality and his doctrines on non-violence have become a beacon of light for the world.
Five months after independence, Nathuram Godse while on his way to his daily prayer meeting, assassinated Gandhiji. The 78-year-old Father of the Nation had left a country that was just discovering its feet, orphaned. People pay a visit to Raj Ghat, the cremation site of Gandhiji and various museums and Ashrams on this day. Popular celebration includes prayer meetings, commemorative ceremonies in different cities by colleges, local government institutions and socio-political institutions. Painting and essay competitions are conducted and best awards are awarded for projects in schools and the community, on themes of glorifying peace, non-violence and Gandhi's effort in Indian Freedom Struggle. Most of the clubs, hotels and social organizations, Government houses hold Republic day dinners. Usually, Gandhi's favourite song, "Raghupathi Raghava Rajaram" is sung in his memory.
Mahatma Gandhi's contribution towards bringing peace and non-violence to this world is unparalleled. His teachings must be promoted to resolve current conflicts, avoid violence, and find peaceful solutions and to make our world a better place to live.