Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation and the tallest hero of India’s independence, died on this day, that is January 30, back in 1948. On January 30 today, India will mark the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi as Martyrs’ Day, credited significantly for uniting several streams in India’s freedom movement with non-violence. Assuming leadership of the Indian National Congress in 1921, Mahatma Gandhi led nationwide campaigns for various social causes and for achieving Swaraj, or self-rule. Mahatma Gandhi, the man who led India to freedom from the oppressive British colonial rule, was assassinated on January 30, 1948 at the age of 78. Nathuram Godse, a Hindu fanatic, was found guilty of murdering him and was executed the following year. Earlier this week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, delivering his first ‘Mann Ki Baat’ address of 2019, had urged everyone to pay a 2-minute tribute to the martyrs on the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on January 30. On Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary, also observed as Martyrs’ Day or Shaheed Diwas, here is one of his most renowned concepts of struggle– non-violence.
— Nistula Hebbar (@nistula) January 30, 2019
Mahatma Gandhi made a conscious choice to search for nonviolent alternatives to take forward India’s struggle for independence. He is credited to be a leader who used non-violence as a political tool and means to achieve a political goal. The weapons that Mahatma Gandhi used in his struggle to independence were innovative methods to unite masses to stand up non-violently against the oppressive British colonialists. What makes this so unusual is how Mahatma Gandhi did not use counter violence as a method of resistance, but only non-violence. He believed that violence only resulted in a ‘temporary’ good. Former South Africa President Nelson Mandela had even said once: “A hundred years ago Gandhi became the first person of colour to practise law in Johannesburg. Gandhi’s offices and the old courts are long gone. But here too, Gandhi paved the way for others.”
— Twitter Moments India (@MomentsIndia) January 30, 2019
The Salt Satyagraha March, better known as ‘Dandi March’, was a landmark event in the freedom struggle. As part of the civil disobedience movement against the British rule, 80 Satyagrahis led by Gandhi marched 241 miles from Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad to the coastal village of Dandi and made salt from sea water, thus breaking the Salt Law imposed by the British.
Refusing to toe the government’s stand that he required security, Mahatma Gandhi had told authorities that he would leave Delhi if protection was insisted upon, Kalyanam, who was secretary to the father of the nation, said. Although there were warnings to Mahatma Gandhi from the government– several weeks ahead of his assassination– that he faced threat to his life, he told the authorities that he does not want security. “Had Gandhiji agreed to have security, people might have been frisked and his assassination could have been averted,” Mr Kalyanam told news agency PTI.
With these thoughts, let’s remember Mahatma Gandhi and his values on Martyrs’ Day and always strive to take our nation forward based on this foundation.