Universal appeal of Gandhian philosophy

Prakash Acharya

Kathmandu, October 6

The world observed the International Non-violence Day on October 2 this year, on the occasion of the 140th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi -- the apostle of peace, non-violence, ethics and morality.

The United Nations General Assembly, on 15 June, 2007, decided to mark Gandhi’s birth anniversary as the International Day of Non-violence every year. A couple of organisations celebrated the Day in Nepal by hosting talk programmes, where key political leaders remembered Gandhi, citing the relevance of his principles in the present context of Nepal. The celebration is significant in the Nepalese context, considering continued violence even after the end of the decade-long Maoist insurgency and the landmark peace deal of 2006. Nepali people have not been able to see their aspiration for peace materialise due largely to the failure of the political parties to work unitedly. The parties seem to have forgotten the commitments they made to the people.

Ironically, all the key players of Nepali politics were present at these functions, to hold up the contribution of Mahatma Gandhi. The occasion might have reminded them of the need for a selfless, honest and dedicated service to the people and the nation, which, sadly, is lacking in the present state of politics in the country.

Merely the rules and regulations set-up by the state are not sufficient to govern the country. The legal system cannot formalise all the social and cultural values required by a society. Political parties also need to adhere to the principles of morality, humanity and non-violence in order to govern a society. However, these elements are disappearing not only from the political arena but also from other walks of life in the country.



• 1869: Gandhi is born in Gujarat

• September, 1906: Gandhi, 37, launches a campaign of non-violent resistance (satyagraha) in Johannesburg to protest discrimination against Indians

• 1913: Gandhi defies the law in Transvaal, South Africa, leading a group of 2,500 Indians. He is jailed. Natal police fire into a crowd protesting his detention, killing two

• 1914: Gandhi returns to India. He introduces fasting as a means of protest

• March, 1930: Begins a civil disobedience campaign against the British. Gandhi leads a 165-mile March to a Gujarat coastal town protesting British monopoly in salt production

• 1932: Gandhi begins the famous “fast unto death” to protest the British government’s treatment of India’s Harijans, the “untouchables”

• 1947: India gains independence from 200 years of British Rule

• 1948: Nathruam Godse, a Hindu fanatic,

assassinates Gandhi

leaders across the party lines lavish praise on the apostle of peace

Madhav Kumar Nepal, Prime Minister

Gandhi made truth and non-violence the principles of his life. The UN, three years ago, decided to celebrate International Non-violence Day on Gandhi’s birthday. This reveals the power of Gandhi’s thought.

He was a statesman. His thought and way of life became exemplary for the entire world. He is the greatest man of the century.

There are three views about running a state in the world. The first is the state where violence, selfishness and barbaric laws are rampant. The second is the one where the rule of law is enforced through policing and coercion. Gandhi believed in the third kind, where love and law come together, supported by non-violence and selflessness. He believed that a human being should be bound by morality, not law. He believed that non-violence should be made the focal point of a civilised society. Making people moral and self-controlled were Gandhi’s basic


Gandhi imparted to us a high-level of moral education and consciousness. Gandhi’s principles are useful for us at present, when the country is making a transition to a peaceful and consensual politics by giving up politics of violence and negation.

Janardan Dwiwedi, General Secretary, Indian National Congress

Gandhi is the name for a complete viewpoint of life. There was no other man as complete as Gandhi during his era. Gandhi established that the voice of the heart is stronger than the voice of the gun.Gandhi is synonymous to democratic ethics and human dignity. We need to be able to view Gandhi

and his principles in a new light.

Ishwor Pokharel, General Secretary, CPN-UML

We, the communists, could not

readily understand Gandhi in the

true spirit. When we got the essence

of his principles, we came to believe that a peaceful struggle is stronger than the violent one.We realised that political changes achieved through violence are not lasting compared to those brought about by peaceful means. As a communist leader, I have no hesitation to state this truth.