PM thanks world for support on Gandhi Jayanti, releases stamp

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New Delhi, Oct 2 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today thanked the world for helping India realise its dream of declaring October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, as 'International Day of Non-Violence' and released a commemorative postage stamp on the occasion here.

''We in India have observed this day for decades as a day of prayer and thanksgiving. Every Indian has, year after year, thanked the Almighty on this day for bringing into this world such a noble soul as Mahatma Gandhi. But, today the heart of every Indian, of every citizen of the world who has been touched by the message of Mahatma Gandhi, is filled with joy and gratitude. We are grateful to the world community for declaring this auspicious day as International Day of Non-Violence,'' the Prime Minister said on the 138th birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation.

Mahatma Gandhi's message was not just for India, nor was it just for the times he lived in. His message of love and peace, of non-violence and Satyagraha, of equality for all, of harmony between all religions, is a universal message. It is a message for all times, for all societies and for all people, Dr Singh noted.

''This unanimous decision of the United Nation General Assembly of declaring Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary as International Day of Non-Violence originated in a declaration of the International Conference on Peace, Non-violence and Empowerment: The Gandhian Philosophy in the 21st Century, a conference which was convened by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi that met some months ago in New Delhi.'' ''This conference, commemorating the centenary of the Satyagraha Movement launched by Gandhiji, underscored the universal relevance of his message of non-violence and the fight for truth. The decision was truly historic and universally welcomed. We are truly grateful to all those who supported this magnificent idea at the United Nations,'' Dr Singh added.

The universal relevance of Mahatma Gandhi's message of non-violence has been underscored time and again by the life and teaching of great men professing peace such as Martin Luther King Jr and Dr Nelson Mandela. Wherever and whenever injustice is redressed and freedom won through peaceful means, Gandhiji will always be remembered.

''The key words we associate with Gandhiji are tolerance, truth, transparency, non-violence and self-respect. There is a permanence in these principles and values that transcends and unites humankind,'' the Prime Minister added.

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