Today marks the 143rd birth anniversary of an individual who was born Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and later was given the loving title of Father of the (Indian) Nation. He is more popularly known as the Mahatma, or enlightened soul.
October 2nd, Gandhi Jayanti or Gandhi’s birthday, is celebrated as a national holiday in India. And very well it should be for all that this petite (Gandhiji was five feet three inches in height) and unassuming man with a toothless grin has done for India.
He spearheaded India’s struggle for independence from the British, and all without raising one armament either in defense or offense. His weapons of choice? Truth, fearlessness, non-cooperation and non-violence.
I leave you all with a few quotes by world leaders who were inspired, directly or indirectly, by the life of the Mahatma.
- In a world driven by violence and strife, Gandhi’s message of peace and non-violence holds the key to human survival in the 21st century.
— Nelson Mandela
- Gandhi did not descend from the top; he seemed to emerge from the millions of India, speaking their language and incessantly drawing attention to them and their appalling condition.
— Jawaharlal Nehru
- The Gandhian philosophy of nonviolent resistance is the only logical and moral approach to the solution of the race problem in the United States.
— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
- Gandhi showed how powerful change can start with one individual and spread to others.
— The Dalai Lama
- It’s time to heed the words of Gandhi: ‘Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.’
— Barack Obama
- Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.
— Albert Einstein