By Ese Awhotu
Yesterday marked a significant day as the world marked the Non-violence day and the launch of the in the history of the world
An exciting aspect of the celebration was the official visit to India this week of the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres who laid a wreath in honour of Mahatma Gandhi, at the Raj Ghat Memorial, in New Delhi.
Describing him as “the greatest soul that ever lived”, the UN chief said that Gandhi’s example “demonstrates that the way to reach objectives, is through non-violence.”
Mr. Guterres called on the world to follow the “enduring vision and wisdom of Mahatma Gandhi” on the International Day of Non-Violence, which falls on 2 October – the birthday of the iconic leader who led India to independence, and inspired civil rights movements across the globe.
In a statement posted on the UN website, the UN scribe said, “As Secretary-General of the United Nations, I can only hope that all those that have political responsibility in the world are able to be worthy of Mahatma Gandhi and to understand that they should reach their objectives through dialogue, through non-violence, through a strong commitment to truth and too the well-being of their peoples.”
In his message for the day, the UN chief said that “at a time of protracted conflicts and complex challenges, Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence remains an inspiration. At the United Nations, a world free of violence – and the resolution of differences through non-violent means – is at the core of our work.”
Mr. Guterres recalled Gandhi’s commitment to social justice. with inequality on the rise.
He said it was important for a fairer globalization process to take root, based on human dignity, at a time when the world is “striving to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, ensure gender equality and leave no one behind.”
The Charter of the United Nations, said the Secretary-General, with its call in Chapter VI for the use, “first of all”, of negotiation, mediation, arbitration, judicial settlement and other peaceful ways to address threats to peace, echoes the spirit of Gandhi’s statement that “non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind.”
Noting that Gandhi proved that non-violence can change history, Mr. Guterres called on the world to be inspired by Gandhi’s “courage and conviction as we continue our work to advance peace, sustainable development and human rights for all of the peoples of the world.”
The statement noted that the Indian Government has reportedly launched 2 years of celebrations, from October 2018 to 2020, bookending the Mahatma Gandhi’s year since Mahatma Gandhi’s birth on 02 October 2019.
According to historical data, Ghandhi was an Indian activist who was the leader of the Indian independence movement against British rule. Employing nonviolent civil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world.
The honorific Mahātmā (Sanskrit: “high-souled”, “venerable”) applied to him first in 1914 in South Africa is now used worldwide.
In India, he is also called Bapu (Gujarati: endearment for father, papa) and Gandhi ji, and known as the Father of the Nation.
Born and raised in a Hindu merchant caste family in coastal Gujarat, India, and trained in law at the Inner Temple, London, Gandhi first employed nonviolent civil disobedience as an expatriate lawyer in South Africa, in the resident Indian community’s struggle for civil rights. After his return to India in 1915, he set about organising peasants, farmers, and urban labourers to protest against excessive land-tax and discrimination. Assuming leadership of the Indian National Congress in 1921, Gandhi led nationwide campaigns for various social causes and for achieving Swaraj or self-rule.
Gandhi famously led Indians in challenging the British-imposed salt tax with the 400 km (250 mi) Dandi Salt March in 1930, and later in calling for the British to Quit India in 1942. He was imprisoned for many years, upon many occasions, in both South Africa and India.
He lived modestly in a self-sufficient residential community and wore the traditional Indian dhoti and shawl, woven with yarn hand-spun on a charkha.
He ate simple vegetarian food, and also undertook long fasts as a means of both self-purification and political protest.
Gandhi’s vision of an independent India based on religious pluralism, however, was challenged in the early 1940s by a new Muslim nationalism which was demanding a separate Muslim homeland carved out of India.
Eventually, in August 1947, Britain granted independence, but the British Indian Empire was partitioned into two dominions, a Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan. As many displaced Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs made their way to their new lands, religious violence broke out, especially in the Punjab and Bengal.
Eschewing the official celebration of independence in Delhi, Gandhi visited the affected areas, attempting to provide solace. In the months following, he undertook several fasts unto death to stop religious violence. The last of these, undertaken on 12 January 1948 when he was 78, also had the indirect goal of pressuring India to pay out some cash assets owed to Pakistan.
Some Indians thought Gandhi was too accommodating. Among them was Nathuram Godse, a Hindu nationalist, who assassinated Gandhi on 30 January 1948 by firing three bullets into his chest. Captured along with many of his co-conspirators and collaborators, Godse and his co-conspirator Narayan Apte were tried, convicted and executed while many of their other accomplices were given prison sentences.
Ghadhi’s life and leadership style apparently reflects participation were all men and women should have a voice in decision-making and rule of law were legal frameworks should be fair and enforced impartially.
Transparency that is built on the free flow of information and responsiveness were institutions and processes try to serve all stakeholders.
Others are consensus orientation, equity in which all men and women have opportunities to improve or maintain their well-being.
Effectiveness and efficiency as well as accountability are not left out.
These are some of the attributes the world, especially countries like Nigeria in search of good governance needs to move their economies and their people to Promised Land. Ghadhi is indeed remembered.