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Speech of Ambassador, H.E. Mr. Abhishek Singh on the occasion of the 'Gandhi Katha' narrated by Dr. Shobhana Radhakrishna and hosted by the Embassy of India, Caracas on 25 August 2020

Posted on: August 27, 2020 | Back | Print

Opening Remarks by Ambassador Abhishek Singh at the Gandhi Katha organized by the Embassy of India, Caracas on 25 August 2020

          Dr. ShobhanaRadhakrishnaji,
esteemed friends and participants from Venezuela,
ladies and gentlemen.

2.       Let me, at the outset, thank Dr. Shobhana Radhakrishna for organizing the Gandhi Katha today.This will give a glimpse of the philosophy and teachings of one of the greatest human beingsever – Mahatma Gandhi, who is globally respected for his philosophy of non-violence. The occasion is also special as we are in the 150th birth anniversary year of Mahatma Gandhi.I am sure the participants todayfrom close partner country Venezuela will benefit from it.

3.       Born as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the journey from an ordinary person to a ‘great soul’ or Mahatma is as fascinating as educative. Gandhiji believed in truth and ahimsa (non-violence).His philosophy started to evolve when he was in South Africa where he faced discrimination.When he came back to India, he led the freedom struggle and showed the world that a mighty empire can withdraw in the face of truth and non-violence.

4.       Friends, while one can discuss many aspects of Gandhiji’s philosophy, I would like to highlight some of them which in my view, are particularly relevant in today’s time:

  1. Firstly, equal respect for all religions – Gandhiji believed in equality of all human beings and religions.India, which is a secular state, is the finest example of how many religions and faiths can co-exist in harmony.
  2. The next aspect is gender equality – Gandhji’s belief in gender equality was second to none.Government of India has very strongly advocated various schemes for gender equality including ‘betibachaobetipadao’ scheme.
  3. Another aspect is health and hygiene – Gandhiji laid special emphasis on health and hygiene.While the world is facing COVID pandemic, we realise the importance of health and hygiene more than any other time.Government of India with its health scheme like ‘Ayushman Bharat’ is providing healthcare to perhaps the largest number of people anywhere in the world.Much before the COVID pandemic, the great emphasis of the Government of India on cleanliness through ‘Swach Bharat Abhiyan’ has inculcated a culture of cleanliness in India.
  4. Sustainable development – Gandhiji’s famous saying “world has enough for everyone’s need, but not for human greed” was prophetic to say the least.While the world is facing the issue of climate change, India has been in the forefront of the sustainable development campaign.Only last year at the United Nations in New York, Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modijidedicated GandhiSolar Park to the world as a symbol of commitment.
  5. Finally, I recall what Gandhiji said “Be the change, you want to see in the world” COVID pandemic has disrupted many things which we had taken for granted earlier.The need for self-reliance which was espousedby Gandhiji is now truly embodied in the ‘AtmaNirbhar Bharat’ scheme of Government of India.
  6. Friends, while we strengthen our capacities, we stand ready to assist our friends like Venezuela in their path of progress.
  7. The Government of India has been involved at various levels in following the Gandhian principles, we should also endeavor at individual level to follow the Gandhian philosophy of‘simple living and high thinking’.

 

5.       India has always been a strong voice of an independent foreign policy.Gandhiji’s philosophy of ‘truth and non-violence’ are an integral part of our national conscience. As we put in collective effort for building a ‘New India’, Gandhiji’s philosophy and teachings would be our guiding lights.

6.       Now, it is indeed my privilege and pleasure to invite Dr. Shobhana Radhakrishna for her narration of ‘Gandhi Katha’ on the topic crisis due to COVID-19 pandemic and the need to live in harmony with nature – the Gandhian way.

          Thank you all.

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