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Speech of Ambassador of India to Venezuela H.E. Shri Abhishek Singh on the occasion of the celebration of 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi together with South African Embassy in Venezuela on 21 September 2020

Posted on: September 22, 2020 | Back | Print

Vice Minister of Asia, Middle East and Oceania, His Excellency Ruben Dario Molina

Vice Minister for Africa His Excellency Yuri Pimentel

Ambassador of South Africa to Venezuela His Excellency Joseph Nkosi

Ladies and Gentlemen

          Let me, at the outset, welcome you to today’s joint online celebration of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary being organized by the Embassy of India and the Embassy of South Africa.  This is truly a significant occasion.  The Embassy of India and the Embassy of South Africa in Caracas have collaborated to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of the Father of my nation Mahatma Gandhi.  

2.      I am grateful to Ambassador Joseph Nkosi, who has worked closely on this programme to make it a reality.  Though both of us had bigger plans of having a celebration which would have involved not a virtual presence but a physical one but due to the ongoing pandemic, we had to restrict ourselves to online celebrations.

3.      Though the format is different, but the spirit of the celebration remains undiluted. We are celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of a great soul Mahatma Gandhi who has been described by Albert Einstein “that generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth”.

4.      Gandhiji’s thought and philosophy not only touched millions of people in India but across the world.  We are aware that Gandhiji had spent considerable part of his life in South Africa where his philosophy of non-violence and satyagraha took shape.  Many leaders like the great Nelson Mandela who we fondly refer to as Madiba, Martin Luther King, former US President Barack Obama to name a few have been inspired by Gandhiji and his philosophy. 

5.      In India, Gandhiji’s work and philosophy have shaped the national conscience.  Being an Ambassador of any country is a privilege, to represent a country like India is a great honour because one represents a country where Gandhiji’s philosophy of non-violence and truth is deeply embedded.  In the field of foreign policy and conduct of international affairs, India is a great moral voice and has always stood on the side of truth and non-violence over other means.  We have always chosen the path of peace not as a matter of weakness but as a strength. It comes naturally for a country like India where Gandhiji words are not merely words but talisman for the leaders both in our Government as well as Indian society at large. 

6.      We have shown the world that while following Gandhian principle of peaceful co-existence, we can all progress together and do not to do so at the cost of one another.  Gandhiji’s vision of participatory democracy is truly reflected in my country and I am very proud of the fact that India is the world’s largest democracy where people’s voice is not only heard but is decisive, where people, irrespective of his or her position, gender or standing have an equal say in the governance and the future of the country. 

Friends,

7.      Mahatma Gandhi not only liberated us from an oppressive regime but also showed the world that violence can be countered by non-violence and yet the objectives can be achieved.

8.      If I say that we are in the midst of difficult times, it would be an under-statement.  The pandemic has posed a challenge which has not been faced by the world for decades if not for centuries.  While this pandemic is because of a virus which has forced people to distance each other even from very close friends and relatives because of its infectious nature, quite ironically, the solution to this problem lies in the united efforts of the global community.  Gandhiji had put special emphasis on simple living and cleanliness, both these are not only mantras followed by our Government and the people of India but has become a way of life for us.

9.      People have realized that personal hygiene and health is not doing any one a favour but first and foremost doing oneself a favour and also contributing to the larger issue of the society.  Gandhiji philosophy spread across several topics pertaining to climate change, self-reliance to name a few.  In fact, it touches almost every aspect of human existence.  The enduring nature of his thought and philosophy can be gauged from the fact that it is becoming more relevant as time passes by. 

10.    While 150th year is a special occasion, we in India and countless millions around the world, celebrate Mahatma Gandhi, his life and philosophy every day.  The celebration is not only a matter of joy but also a great responsibility bestowed on all of us. 

11.    There has never been another Mahatma Gandhi and perhaps there will not be another one, we must use every occasion like this to pledge to ourselves, to the society and to the world that we will do our utmost to preserve the humanity that has made the world beautiful, that we will do our utmost to ensure that what we have achieved remains there for the future generations on a sustainable basis and we will do our utmost to ensure that darkness, violence, hatred and bigotry shall never ever find any place on earth.  That, my friends, will be a real tribute to Mahatma Gandhi.

12.    I would like to once again thank all of you for participating in this celebration and I look forward to the deliberations that await us.

Thank you very much.

 

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