Mahatma Gandhi's Birthday 2017 and 2018
Gandhi Jayanti, or Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday, is celebrated in India on 2 October.
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Out of the many beautiful public holidays in India, Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday stands out as an international symbol of peace. Gandhi’s life is revered in India and around the world as an example of how to live simply and devotedly. On his birthday, October 2nd, people across India gather together to observe Gandhi Jayanti. They offer flowers on pictures and statues of his likeness, sing songs, pray, and light candles. All government offices, banks, post offices, and schools are closed for this holiday.
Who Gandhi Was
Mahatma Gandhi was born in Porbandar in Gujarat to a senior government official. He married at 13, then went to England at 18 to study law. He travelled to South Africa to fight for the rights of Indians who were living there, then returned to India around the start of WWI. Considered the “Father of the Nation”, Gandhi became a leader of Indian nationalism during an era when India was still ruled by the British Empire.
While in India, Gandhi would inspire the people of India to rally together for independence by his use of non-violent civil disobedience. His techniques rapidly became an inspiration around the world for movements of a similar nature. He continued his determined strategy of freeing India peacefully from British rule as the leader of the Indian National Congress. In 1946, he met with the Cabinet Mission, responsible for recommending a new constitutional structure, and negotiated with them. Independence soon followed and after, in 1947, Gandhi was in Delhi attempting to stop the Hindu-Muslim conflict in Bengal when he was assassinated.
Why Gandhi is Remembered
Gandhi was an important figure both in India and around the world. His life and principles have inspired people of all ages. He is quoted most famously on life and on forgiveness, saying “My life is my message” and “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” For India, he showed resilience and as an individual was powerful in peacefully protesting for India’s freedom from Britain. He is celebrated for his methods, his determination, and his good intentions for peace and all people.
In many ways, Gandhi is remembered as an anti-war activist. His organised boycotts would become an important example for protests around the world for generations to come. Especially in a world so freshly engulfed by World War I and World War II, his demonstrations had a moving effect on the spirits of all kinds of people. He has become an international symbol of peace in many different regards.
Famous Ways to Celebrate Gandhi’s Birthday in India
While celebrations can be found all across India and in many forms, there are a few that stand out from the rest. These include:
- Where all three rivers – Ganga, Saraswati, and Yamuna – meet in Allabad (Triveni Sangam)
- Where Bapu (Gandhi) was shot on January 30th, 1948 (The Martyr’s Column at Gandhi Smriti)
- Where Bapu’s body was cremated on January 31, 1948 in New Delhi (The Raj Ghat at Yamuna’s bank)
At these celebrations, a number of customs are followed. Memorial ceremonies and prayer services are held as homage to Gandhi all across India. There are many artistic exhibitions, science displays, and even essay competitions held. Award presentations are made to promote Gandhi’s ideal of non-violent life. Films are seen and and books are read that commemorate Gandhi’s life achievements as well as the struggles he endured. At schools and colleges especially, students sing the famous song of devotion to Bapu called “Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram”. Where there are statues of Gandhi, garlands of flowers are placed on them by the people. Many people also avoid eating meat or drinking any alcohol on this day.
Seeing India on Gandhi’s birthday is truly a beautiful experience. It recounts the life of such a powerful leader who has had such an enormous impact over the independence of India and the lives of its people. Around the entire world, in fact, Gandhi is remembered in many ways. His impacts are felt far and wide, and they are held dear in such a way that they will never be forgotten.
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