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High Commissioner Mr. Ranjan Mathai's Remarks during Gandhi Jayanti, Tavistock Square

High Commissioner's remarks at Gandhi Jayanti
Tavistock Square : 2 October 2015

I am honoured to be here once again remembering the Father of our Nation on his birthday.

This day is marked by functions all across India, because we believe in the message of Gandhiji and because we are still indebted to him.  It is not ritual.  We may fail Gandhiji's test – but his goals are and will be our ideals. 

The President of India – our Rashtrapatiji spoke for all Indians today when he conveyed the message of the Mahatma – non-violence, peace and tolerance.

It is his message that we remember today, as much as the great man himself.  And once again we pledge allegiance to ideals – of truth, compassion and non-violence.   And we remind ourelves of his call for all of us to avoid ‘Himsa' or ‘Violence'.   We know there is too much Himsa in the world.   Our nation is not an exception.   Gandhiji stopped mass violence at Noakhali and we can learn from that. 

For us at India House, this function here at Tavistock Square is one of the most important dates in our calendar.   It isn wonderful to be with all of you once again.   Since we last met here – a great statue of Gandhiji has been installed in Parliament Square in London.  As you heard – there will be a march to that statue, starting out here after our function.     

The statue at Parliament is already an international beacon, with thousands of tourists being photographed there everyday.  We hope they also imbibe the message of the great soul.  For India's Pradhan Mantri reminded us today about abother great issue that  was very close to Mahatma Gandhiji's heart – cleanliness.   “Let us reaffirm our commitment for a Swachch Bharat to fulfil beloved Bapu's dream", he said.  And for the wider world what message?   As the world heads into important negotiations on climate change – please remember Gandhiji's message that the world has enough mans need, but not enough for mans greed!."   No wonder, Pandit Nehru described Gandhiji as the “the light that shone in our country".  We must rededicate ourselves to be part of that light - cleanliness, peace and non-violence rising above all divisions of.   We now need to build on that work.

India is a young nation, and not many remain who have personal memories of Gandhiji.  The young resurgent India needs to be reminded every day of Mahatma's message – that our work on earth can be achieved, only if we wipe the tears of the poorest, most underprivileged in our society.  Remember Bapu when he said we should judge ourselves, by asking whether our actions make the lives of these poorest any better. 

The wider world – which is full of hatred and violence needs to understand his clear understanding that violence takes us nowhere.  An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

So as we gather together let us pray today that the world will pay heed and join us in remembrance of not just the life of a great soul, but the lasting message of his life and his mission - truth, non-violence, the love for all humanity and fearlessness in action.

Long live the memory of Gandhiji!

Jai Hind!

Oct 7, 2015
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