October 2, 2023 marks the 154th birth anniversary of the Father of our Nation, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi, who was lovingly called Bapu was a political ethicist, lawyer and a Nationalist. This day is celebrated as ‘Gandhi Jayanti’ across India and is marked as a National holiday as tribute to the great freedom fighter. Globally, the day is also celebrated as the International Day of Non-Violence by the United Nations to reaffirm a culture of peace, tolerance, understanding and non-violence.. This day is celebrated to honor the great leader and to promote peace, harmony and unity.
Bapu was a staunch believer and supporter of peace. He believed in peaceful protests and strikes using non violent means, instead of fights and other violent methods that were adopted by the other freedom fighters. He also coined the metaphor of the three monkeys that symbolize that we should- ‘do no evil, speak no evil and hear no evil’.
The significance of Rajghat
Every year on Gandhi Jayanti, Rajghat becomes the focal point of homage to the Mahatma. Rajghat is nestled in the banks of the sacred river Yamuna in Delhi. It is the place where Mahatma Gandhi’s final rights were observed on January 1, 1948. The place is known as the solemn memorial to the man who led India to independence only through the method of peace.
Celebrations over last few years
This year saw a special commemoration of the occasion at Rajghat. The day began with a beautiful golden glow over the venue, setting the tone of reflection and reverence. Thousands of people from all over the country gathered to pay their respects. The event usually commences with morning prayers, where people from all walks of life gathered to sing various bhajans that were close to Bapu’s heart. The atmosphere becomes one of intense love and devotion, especially when Gandhi’s favorite hymn, Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram is played.
Gandhi Jayanti 2023
On Monday, President Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a floral tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat in the national capital. The Prime Minister of India also led tributes on social media by saying that Bapu’s tribute is “global” and has always motivated the very spirit of mankind to further compassion and unity. He further tweeted that he bows to Mahatma Gandhi and that his teachings and principles continue to light all our paths. He also wished that youngsters become the instruments of change, fostering unity and harmony all over.
Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar and Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla also paid homage through floral tributes. Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, especially believes that the Mahatma is not just an individual, but an ideology and moral compass for the Nation.
Oftentimes, in the spirit of Gandhi Jayanti, Bapu’s favorite spinning wheel (charkha) is also displayed at Rajghat as a symbol of self-reliance (atma nirbharta), and economic stability. The visitors are given the chance to try their hand at spinning yarn; emphasizing the vitality of cottage industries and self-sufficiency.
As homage to Gandhi’s famous Dandi March, a peace march is also often organized that starts at Rajghat and goes through the streets of Delhi. Sometimes in the evenings, a candlelight vigil is held, symbolizing the light of truth and non-violence that Gandhi preached about throughout his life.
Gandhi Jayanti 2023 was a beautiful reminder of the enduring legacy of the Mahatma. His principles of truth, simplicity and non-violence continue to inspire people throughout the world, especially in today’s times filled with violence, cheating and complexities. The event at Rajghat served as a fitting tribute to the man who left an indelible mark on the world.