The birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, popularly known as the ‘Father of the Nation’, is celebrated as Gandhi Jayanti with reverence all over the country. He was the man who played a significant role for achieving independence for India from the British Empire, with his simplicity and strong willpower! Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, better known as ‘Bapu’, or Gandhiji, was born on the October 2nd 1869, in Porbander, Gujarat. Gandhiji was a preacher of truth (Satyagraha) and ‘ahimsa’ (non-violence). He started the ‘Satyagraha’ movement for the Indian freedom struggle. He believed in living a simple life and in ‘Swadeshi’. He proved to the world that freedom can be achieved through the path of non-violence – a true symbol of peace and truth!
Until 1914, Gandhi led the Indians in South Africa against the apartheid of the British. His stint in India took a turn when national leader Gopal Krishna Gokhale initiated him into the Indian freedom movement. Gandhi, with his ideals of ahimsa, non-cooperation and satyagraha, soon established himself as the frontrunner in the struggle for freedom. From then onwards, till India gained independence, Gandhi gathered an entire nation behind him in his relentless quest. However, partition came as a big blow to his dreams and ideals. Five months after independence, Gandhiji was assassinated by Nathuram Godse while on his way to his daily prayer meeting. The 78-year-old ‘Father of the Nation’ had left a country that was just discovering its feet, orphaned.
On this day of Gandhi Jayanti, the President and Prime Minister, along with other eminent political leaders, pay homage at Raj Ghat, the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi where he was cremated. Gandhi Jayanti is a national holiday and hence, all offices and schools, throughout the country, remain closed. Verses and prayers are read out from the holy books of all the religions. Gandhi’s favorite song, ‘Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram’, is invariably sung at all the meetings associated with him. Prayer meetings are held in various state capitals as well. Gandhi Jayanti is observed all over the country, both in government and non-government forums.