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Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, October 2, is honored around the world

On October 2, Indian people will honor the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, and people around the world will honor the day known as Gandhi Jayanti as well. The Father of the Nation was born on this day in 1869, and he played a major role in the Indian independence movement. He is credited with the development of satyagraha, or non-violent protest, and has inspired many civil rights movements around the world.

Gandhi lived modestly, humbly and honestly, and he encouraged others to follow suit. His non-violent approach to changing the world for the better rubbed some people the wrong way, and he was assassinated in January 1948 while approaching a stage to lead a prayer meeting. He was cremated and his ashes were scattered into the Sangam at Allahabad, where the Ganges and Yamuna rivers meet. The site is sacred in the Hindu religion and bathing in a sangam is said to free a person of the rebirth cycle and wash away their sins.

To honor the memory of the Father of the Nation, prayer services, ceremonies and other events are held throughout the nation and the world on Gandhi Jayanti. Many people sing Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram, which was Gandhi's favorite devotional song. Flowers are placed on statues of the iconic figurehead throughout the nation and many people who are working in other countries will send money to their families in India so they can buy flowers to decorate their monuments to Gandhi.

In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly declared that this day would also be recognized as the International Day of Non-Violence. Around the world people gather to take part in multi-faith prayers, light ceremonies that promote peace and public lectures and art exhibitions on non-violence and current issues.

The humble man's wisdom is revered around the world, and his approach to social change still proves to be one of the most effective. He believed that it was best to avoid violence and seek more peaceful means of resolution and his beliefs fueled his contribution to the freedom of India from British rule.

"The only virtue I want to claim is truth and non-violence," Gandhi once said. "I lay no claim to super human powers – I want none." 

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