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Message on the occasion of International Day of Non-Violence

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Sheik Abdul Wahad Al Balushi, Keynote Speaker Ms. Jayanti, Excellencies, colleagues from the Diplomatic Corps, Ladies and Gentlemen, Namaste.

Today we mark the 147th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the Indian nation. This day is also observed as the International Day of Non-violence the world over. On behalf of the Embassy of India Muscat, I would like to thank you all for joining us this evening to take part in the celebration on the International Day of Non- Violence, co-organized with RajYoga Center for self-development.

On 15th June 2007, India introduced a resolution at the United Nations General Assembly calling for the Declaration and commemoration of 2 October as the International Day of non-violence. The resolution was co-sponsored by 140 countries and adopted by consensus, which was reflective of the universal respect that Mahatma Gandhi commands and the enduring relevance of his humane philosophy. According to the resolution, the International Day is an occasion to "disseminate the message of non-violence, including through education and public awareness". The resolution reaffirms "the universal relevance of the principle of non-violence" and the desire "to secure a culture of peace, tolerance, understanding and non-violence".

I had the privilege of representing 1.2 billion human voices at the United Nations Human Rights Council for over three years, when I was posted as Counsellor to the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations in Geneva. In fact, I landed early this morning after attending the last session of the Council that ended this Friday. In my interaction with human voices from different cultures and perspectives across the world, it was evident that the deep desire for peace and better tomorrow for our future generations is universal. The celebration of ‘International Day of Non-Violence’ infuses new enthusiasm and fresh resolve to achieve the values propagated by Mahatma Gandhi.

Sadly, in recent times, this message seems to be drowned amidst the news of violence, killings, terrorist attacks that are beamed in our homes by 24*7 news channels and social media. Rising intolerance, cross-cultural tensions and scourge of terrorism pose a threat to our peaceful co-existence and understanding among nations. On this day, we must strengthen our resolve to use the tool of Non-violence, which in Gandhiji’s own words, “is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man”.

In Oman, as we just saw in the video, we are fortunate to have a leader like His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said who has made Oman an oasis of peace in the midst of region mired by unrest and conflicts. His majesty’s government through its policy of moderation and mediation has played a major role in bringing together even forces that are inimical to each other.

Shortly, after my speech, a brief video of the inauguration of the Pravasi Bhartiya Kendra by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in New Delhi will be screened. The video is in Hindi and so for the benefit of those who do not understand Hindi I would like to explain here a bit about the video. (Explains video). On the occasion, the Prime Minister said that India has never attacked any country for territorial gains throughout it’s history and reiterated our country’s desire for peaceful co-existence. He mentioned that Mahatma Gandhi’s journey started in South Africa and like the Mahatma, several generations of Indians have followed his footsteps and assimilated themselves as peaceful citizens or long-term residents of countries throughout the world.

The Indian diaspora in Oman has also lived upto the words of Prime Minister Modi in its conduct and are today a jewel among Indian diaspora worldwide. They are a shining example of Gandhiji’s mantra of peaceful co-existence and over the years, have worked hard for the development of their host nation, in step with their Omani brethren.

Albert Einstein had called Gandhi “a role model for the generations to come” . Gandhiji’s message of peace is as relevant today as was in his lifetime. On his birth anniversary, let us give new birth to our resolve to propagate his message of peace, love and non-violence that eventually led to India’s freedom.

Thank you very much

   

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