Emulate ideals of Mahatma, Sonia urges world body

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United Nations, Oct 2 (UNI) The Congress party leader and Chairperson of the ruling alliance at the Centre, Sonia Gandhi, today paid glowing tributes to Mahatma Gandhi and stressed that his principles are relevant even in the present-day world.

She was addressing the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly's informal plenary meeting. This was also the occasion of the first observance of the International Day Non-violence.

It is not the relevance of Mahatma Gandhi that is in question today, she told the august gathering. What is in question today is whether we have the courage to emulate, what he preached and practiced, what he lived and died for.

Ms Gandhi described the UN declaration of the day as paying a collective homage to one of the greatest men of all time a homage that speaks to all the humankind.

When Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi embarked upon his political and spiritual journey in South Africa on September 11, 1906, known as satyagraha, many thought his journey would take him nowhere. But there were also some who believed in his truth force which ultimately made him a powerful personage in the entire world.

Fallacies about non-violence abound, Ms Gandhi observed. Some think that it is a sign of weakness or cowardice. Nothing could be farther from truth.

Mahatma strongly believed that strength would come from righteousness not force; power from truth not might; and victory from moral courage not imposed submission. He also believed unworthy means could never produce worthy ends.

Ms Gandhi during her speech stated that violence begets violence.

Violence seeks to impose and overwhelm, which is why its victories are transitory, she said. Nonviolence seeks to engage and persuade, which is why its results are enduring.

Acknowledging that the 20th century was the bloodiest in human history, Ms Gandhi pointed out that the century also witnessed greatest triumphs in which non-violence played a major role. She particularly praised among the myriad civil disobedience movements the one led by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, known as the Frontier Gandhi.

Urging the gathering and the world at large to practice before preaching, Ms Gandhi said quoting Mahatma: We must ourselves become the change we seek.

Violence against each other leads to the spread of terrorism, a major burning issue in the present world, she said, citing the global body's collective failure in moving towards a comprehensive, universal nuclear disarmament.

Among those in attendance during the speech were UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and President of the General Assembly Srgjan Kerim RPT Srgjan Kerim.

Violence against the poor and the vulnerable, against women and children, caused by social strife and inequities spawned by economic globalization, Ms Gandhi said. And violence against Planet Earth reflected in man-made, climate-changing activities and unsustainable lifestyles.

Ms Gandhi urged the world to follow sincerely Mahatma's principles in a speech almost completely dominated by the Apostle of Non-violence.

Let us ensure that this day does not get reduced to an annual ritual. Let's strive to adopt his methods to our present-day challenges, with earnestness and perseverance, she said.


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