NJ Assembly Deputy Speaker pays tribute on 65th death anniversary of Gandhi.
NEW YORK: New Jersey Assembly Deputy Speaker Upendra J. Chivukula said Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of ‘Satyagraha’ which literally translated means ‘truth or soul force,’ and which he reinvented into a strategy of peaceful non-cooperation, are as relevant today, as during his lifetime.
Chivukula made the statement during the 65th death anniversary of Gandhiji, joining hundreds of millions in India and around the world in paying homage to the man who was assassinated on January 30, 1948, after successfully leading India to freedom from centuries of British Raj.
In New Delhi, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee led the nation’s homage to Gandhi with musical and floral tributes at the Mahatma Gandhi memorial.
Chivukula (D-Somerset\Middlesex) issued the following statement on Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi:
“Decades after his unfortunate death, the Mahatma (great soul) lives on in the hearts and minds of hundreds of millions, who continue to be inspired by his life and his message and by his ideas and ideology;
“Gandhiji empowered humanity with the strategy of non-violent mass civil disobedience to overcome oppression and injustice, and through which he led the emancipation of India from centuries of British Raj;
“Gandhi’s advocacy of Satyagraha extended to calling on Indians to boycott British goods in order to strike an economic blow to the empire which had moved most manufacturing out of the subcontinent to England, in a bid to control the economy of India;
“The Oxford-educated lawyer urged Indians to give up silk and chiffon and wear only khadi – a hand spun coarse cotton that they could make themselves with a ‘charkha’ or spinning wheel. He did this to reduce India’s economic dependence on the British. He set an example by wearing a minimum amount of clothing that he spun himself out of khadi into a loin cloth;
“A defiant Gandhi protested the British monopoly of salt combined with the levy of a salt tax to raise revenues for the empire. He encouraged Indians to break the law and manufacture their own salt;
“In the famous ‘Salt March’ of 1930, Gandhi and 78 satyagrahis (followers of the philosophy of Satyagraha) walked 241 miles from Sabarmati Ashram to India’s coastal village of Dandi in Gujarat to make salt;
“Thousands of Indians lined the procession route to see Gandhi or hear him speak as he journeyed on the 23-day historic march to the sea, which was a turning point in mobilizing the Indian masses in their fight for freedom;
“Gandhi’s political genius and humanitarian approach inspired Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who adopted the strategy of ‘Satyagraha’ or mass civil disobedience in his successful fight for civil rights for all Americans;
“Gandhi’s influence on King was evident in the latter’s famous ‘I have a dream speech,’ when he drew on the concept of Satyagraha, to call on African-Americans to ‘rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force’ to ‘let freedom ring’;
“King’s visit to India in 1959 to meet with Gandhi’s family deepened his resolve that non-violent resistance was the best means to guarantee what he described as the ‘unalienable rights’ of ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all Americans’;
“Reverend King was especially inspired by these words of Gandhi: ‘Through our pain, we will make them see their injustice’;
“Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence did not imply the acceptance of oppression and injustice or a lack of courage;
“In fact, he was a profile in courage and even advocated breaking unjust laws and overriding unfair rules through peaceful means;
“Gandhi believed that non-cooperation with evil or wrongdoing is a sacred duty. He shared this view with other great thinkers and philosophers;
“On this subject, Albert Einstein said: ‘Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it’;
“And in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ‘The time is always right to do what is right’;
“The life of the apostle of peace came to a violent end;
“Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was assassinated on January 30, 1948 after successfully leading India to freedom from centuries of British Raj. It was at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947 that India was born a free nation;
“As a tribute to the architect of free India who inspired movements for civil rights and independence across the world, the United Nations has designated Gandhi’s birth anniversary, which falls on October 2nd, as the International Day of Non-Violence;
“In closing, I want to share with you a tribute to Gandhi by one of the smartest men of our time, Albert Einstein and some of Gandhi’s thoughts that continue to guide my moral compass;
“Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as Gandhi ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.”