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Remarks by Ambassador Sibi George at the ‘Remembering Mahatma Gandhi’ event at Berne on January 28, 2019

Posted on: January 28, 2019 | Back | Print

Remarks by Ambassador Sibi George at the ‘Remembering Mahatma Gandhi’ event at Berne on January 28, 2019

Good Evening Everybody,

Let me begin by welcoming you all to this evening. On October 2, last year we launched a two year programme to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of Nation of India and one of the greatest sons of India.

I would like to start with the words of Hon’ble President of Switzerland last year HE Dr. Alain Berset who wrote an Anthology. He wrote: “The name Mahatma Gandhi conjures up two things in our minds: firstly, the historical figure, who was a political celebrity in India, and secondly – symbolically – the universal qualities of selflessness, peacefulness and tolerance. The greatest tribute that we can pay to Mahatma Gandhi on the 150th anniversary of his birth is to try to uphold these values in our 21st century lives.”

Gandhiji said; ‘My Life is My Message’. He was one of those who spoke as he thought, and acted as he spoke, one of those few, on whom no shadow fell between word and deed. His words were deeds, and they built a movement and a nation and changed the lives of countless individuals.

The Apostle of non-violence, Mahatma Gandhi had profound faith in humanism and openness of mind. He said "I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any. I refuse to live in other people’s houses as an interloper, a beggar or a slave”.

Mahatma Gandhi had visited Switzerland in 1931. This makes the celebrations of his birth anniversary more significant here. As part of our celebrations, we are coming up with 150 messages of Mahatma Gandhi as tweets in German, French and Italian languages of Switzerland. We are also organizing regular quiz programmes and a series of other public events. On January 30, on the anniversary of martyrdom of Mahatma Gandhi we are organizing a major philately exhibition at the Universal Postal Union in Berne. I invite you to participate in all these events. Today we have lined up an interesting programme to remember and pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi. We will have more such programmes in coming weeks and months.

Let me now conclude by quoting President of India, who said, “Mahatma Gandhi belongs not just to India, but to the entire world. His universal teachings have a special resonance in all corners. In these times of strife, his powerful message of non-violence and peaceful co-existence stands all the more relevant.”

Thank you.