Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings more relevant: Jaishankar

United Nations, Oct 2 (IANS) Growth of religious bigotry and intolerance has directly fuelled sponsorship of terrorism in many cases, India’s Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar said on Friday, as he noted the relevance of Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings was recognized in the world more than ever before.

In his address at the special event to commemorate the “International Day of Non-Violence” at the UN Headquarters, Jaishankar said the event testifies to the collective homage of the world community to one of the greatest men of all times, a homage that rises above politics and speaks for all of human kind.

October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, is observed as International Day of Non-Violence. The event was attended by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN General Assembly president Morgans Lykketoft.

Jaishankar said that the merits of non-violence was widely recognized as history demonstrates that the outcome of non-violent change is more durable because it is an outcome of persuasion and not coercion.

Noting the Mahatma was a revolutionary, yet a realist, a visionary but a person of details, practical and yet imbued with idealism, he said: “Perhaps, it is the limitations of our own imagination that make it difficult to reconcile different aspects of his personality and activities.

“What is, however, indisputable is that after almost seven decades since he left us, Mahatma Gandhi’s relevance is recognized more than ever before.”

Jaishankar said Mahatma Gandhi’s three guiding principles – ‘ahimsa'(non-violence), ‘satyagraha’ (force born of truth) and ‘sarvodaya’ (uplift of all) – continue to provide the world with approaches to address a range of complex challenges, many of which may not have even existed during his lifetime.

“In our times, we have seen the growth of religious bigotry and intolerance. In many cases, this has directly fuelled support and sponsorship of terrorism. Unfortunately, the world has often looked away when terrorists have attacked innocents, assuming that it is not their problem. As a believer in the indivisibility of the world and the importance of moral courage, Gandhiji would ask us all to stand up and be counted,” he added.

Terming Mahatma Gandhi as “the original sustainable development guru,” Jaishankar said the leader believed that the world had enough for human need but not greed.

“Appropriately India chose to announce its INDC (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions)on Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday. This was to underline our moral commitment to sustainable development,” he said.

Jaishankar stressed that Gandhi’s teachings can be applied across a very wide spectrum of human activities and his legacy “serves very much as a guiding light” for India, whose diplomacy was focused on a broad range of global issues that serve the broader interests of humanity. New Delhi’s support for Sustainable Development Goals was also an expression of an outlook that emphasizes uplift of all, he said.

“Today, as we meet to observe Mahatma Gandhi’s 146th birthday, let us remember his exhortation that we must ourselves become the change we seek,” Jaishankar said.

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