Gandhi Jayanti, Beijing, 2 October 2015
Remarks by Mr. Ashok K. Kantha, Ambassador of India to China
Ms. Ruo Hua, Director, JintaiArt Museum,
Colleagues,Children,Ladies and gentlemen,
Today is the 146th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the Indian Nation. On 15th June 2007, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to commemorate 2nd October, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, as the International Day of Non-Violence and utilize this occasion every year to disseminate the message of non-violence pioneered by the great leader.
This year also marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations and the end of World War II. It is a day when we must once again commit ourselves to secure a culture of non-violence, universal peace, tolerance, understanding and brotherhood propounded by Mahatma Gandhi.
The UN has just adopted an ambitious post-2015 development agenda which reflects our evolving understanding of global social, economic and environmental linkages and inter-dependence. This aptly reflects Gandhiji’s philosophy of convergence and harmony with nature.
At this important juncture, we remember Mahatma Gandhi not just as a national icon, but as a great global leader.
Today, when we strive to chart a course for the future development of the world, Gandhiji’s ideals are more relevant than ever. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi quoted in his speech at the United Nations last week, Gandhiji had said, “One must care about the world one will not see”. Our most important challenge is to improve the lives of the poorest of the poor in a world that we now shape but may not see. This is a common challenge for both our countries, India and China.
Although Mahatma Gandhi did not have the chance to visit China, it is interesting to note that about a thousand Chinese people supported Indians in Gandhi’s first peaceful protest in South Africa in 1906.
The teachings of Mahatma Gandhi have always drawninterest in China and this is now increasingly evident. During his visit to India in September 2014, President Xi visited Mahatma Gandhi’s abode in Gujarat and paid a personal homage to him.
Duringhis visit to China in May this year, Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the Center for Gandhian and Indian Studies at Fudan University, the first institution in China dedicated to Gandhian studies. In his speech, he invoked Mahatma Gandhi and said, “The world today is going through two major crises — global warming and terrorism. Solutions to both lie in Gandhi’s teachings”.
Prime Minister emphasized that Mahatma Gandhi is not just an Indian, but rather a global citizen, a true Yogi who tried to show the way out of a number of problems that the world is confronted with today.
I am confident that Gandhi will continue to be a beacon for the world and that the messages of peace, non-violence,tolerance, truth and self-respect he left behind will continue to unite humankind.
I thank Honorable Mr. Yuan Xikun, Ms. Ruo Hua and Jintai Art Museum for hosting this beautiful function.
I join all of you today in paying our deepest respects to Gandhiji – the great leader, the great philosopher and most of all, a great soul.