Gandhi Jayanti – A tribute to ‘Father of the Nation’ Gandhi Jayanti or Mahatma Gandhi Jayanti is observed every year as a national holiday to commemorate the birth of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (October 2, 1869 – January 30, 1948). His non-violence or satyagraha continues to influence political leaders and movements till date. The celebration and essence of Gandhi Jayanti is not restricted within India and also observed by the United Nations as the International Day of non-violence that aims to disseminate his philosophy, principle and believe in non-violence through proper education and public awareness.
Today, the Republic Day is celebrated with much enthusiasm all over the country and especially in the capital, New Delhi where the celebrations start with the Presidential to the nation. The beginning of the occasion is always a solemn reminder of the sacrifice of the martyrs who died for the country in the freedom movement and the succeeding wars for the defense of sovereignty of their country. Then, the President comes forward to award the medals of bravery to the people from the armed forces for their exceptional courage in the field and also the civilians, who have distinguished themselves by their different acts of valour in different situations.
Celebration of Gandhi Jayanti is also a moment to relive Mohandas Gandhi’s life and contribution in India’s Independence. Born in a small coastal town Porbandar in Gujarat, Gandhi married Kasturbai Makhanji at the age of 13. His childhood memories and experiences are vividly depicted by him in his autobiography My experiments with truth. Gandhi at the age of 18 went to England to study law and returned to India in 1915. After his homecoming, he led nationwide stir for achieving Sawaraj, abolition of social evils, empowering women rights and improving economic conditions of peasants and farmers. He further strengthened his movement against the British Raj and led Indians in protesting Dandi March Salt in 1930 that was later followed by the popular Quit India in 1942 calling British to leave India.
The parade is followed by a pageant of spectacular displays from the different states of the country. These moving exhibits depict scenes of activities of people in those states and the music and songs of that particular state accompany each display. Each display brings out the diversity and richness of the culture of India and the whole show lends a festive air to the occasion. The parade and the ensuing pageantry is telecast by the National Television and is watched by millions of viewers in every corner of the country.
At Raj Ghat, New Delhi, and across India, people gather to observe Gandhi Jayanti in innovative ways that includes offering flowers on Gandhi’s pictures, statues and singing his favourite devotional song Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram. The government offices, banks, schools and post offices remain closed on Gandhi Jayanti to pay homage to ‘Father of the Nation’. Additionally, as a tribute to this great soul, the Indian government mint rupee notes and also issue postage stamp depicting Mahatma Gandhi’s photo. In May 19, 2011 at Geneva, a 1948 10 Rupee Mahatma Gandhi stamp was auctioned for a whopping price of US $205,000 making it a world record as the most pricey modern postal stamp from any country.