Gaborone — The late former Indian political activist Mahatma Gandhi has been described as an icon of world peace.
Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Ms Botlogile Tshireletso told attendants of Gandhi's 150th birthday commemoration on Tuesday that humanity was able to find a way forward to peace through his principles and beliefs.
Gandhi, she said, always spoke about the value of human dignity, justice and independence adding that his actions were a new dimension to the Indian independence movement of the 1940s.
"The world knew him as Mahatma Gandhi ji because of his approach to non-violence and passive resistance movement. He extensively travelled in India to familiarise himself with social problems of his homeland and to connect with the people of India," said the assistant minister.
Ms Tshireletso attributed Gandhi's beliefs to the fact that he was a spiritual man.
"I believe every nation and individuals can learn from the principles that Gandhi ji portrayed. In Botswana we are happy to celebrate such greatness and be able to learn and apply values he held dear to his heart. That is the principles of purity, spirituality, humility and of course religious tolerance, human rights and world peace," she said.
Gandhi was born in Gujarat, India on 2 October 1869 and obtained a law degree before relocating to South Africa in 1893.
After being exposed to racial discrimination in South Africa, Ghandi decided to fight against social injustice in a non-violent way. He later returned to India and in the 1940s led a non-violent movement against the
British empire. Owing largely to his struggle, India attained independence in 1947.
In 2007, the United Nations declared his birthday international non-violence day. He passed away aged 78 on 30 January 1948.
Speaking at the same event, Speaker of the National Assembly Gladys Kokorwe hailed Gandhi as a champion of non-violence and peace.
"He embarked on a struggle for people's rights. Gandhi's ideals contributed to a new era of liberty and freedom and his principles are still persuasive today. His ethics are universal and belong to all of us," she said.
Indian High Commissioner to Botswana Dr Rajesh Ranjan said the commemoration provided an opportunity to consider the impact of Gandhi's life and thought on India and the rest of the world.
"Gandhi believed in the tremendous urge in human nature for peace and freedom. The society which he aimed at is already universally present in the hearts of everyone though it may lie submerged. We have to bring it to the surface by fighting the evil forces, political, social and psychological," said Dr Ranjan.
The high commissioner said Gandhi believed in brotherhood and tolerance and opposed concentration of wealth and power.
"He wanted a social order which would secure the greatest good of all. He wanted a society in which every man would have equal status, opportunity and freedom to develop."
The Indian High Commission, which organised the event, unveiled commemorative stamps marking the 150th anniversary of Ghandi's birth.
Source : BOPA