The Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, on Wednesday paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary, describing him as the 'best teacher' and 'the guiding light' who continues to give courage to millions globally.
In an article in ‘'The New York Times’ on mark the day, Mr. Modi talked about the ideals epitomised by the apostle of peace who inspired such leaders as Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Mandela. 'The guiding light whose inspiration got Dr King to India was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the Mahatma, the Great Soul. On Wednesday, we observe his 150th birth anniversary. Gandhi Ji, or Bapu, continues to give courage to millions globally,' Mr. Modi said.
Elaborating on Gandhi’s vision on nationalism, the Prime Minister noted that Gandhi 'envisioned Indian nationalism as one that was never narrow or exclusive but one that worked for the service of humanity.'
He stated that Gandhi possessed a 'unique ability' to become a bridge between some of the greatest contradictions in human society and epitomised trust among all sections of society. The Prime Minister also lauded Gandhi for combining ordinary objects like charkha, spinning wheel, and khadi with 'mass politics' and asserted that he was never tempted by power.
'Who else could have used a charkha, a spinning wheel, and khadi, Indian homespun cloth, as symbols of economic self-reliance and empowerment for a nation?' he asked.
'Who else could have created a mass agitation through a pinch of salt!... Through the Dandi March in 1930, Gandhi challenged the Salt Laws. His picking up a small lump of natural salt from the Arabian Sea shore led to the historic civil disobedience movement,' he said.
There have been many mass movements in the world, many strands of the freedom struggle even in India, but what sets apart the Gandhian struggle and those inspired by him is the wide-scale public participation. He never held administrative or elected office. He was never tempted by power.