EDITORIAL | Lighting the Mahatma Gandhi's torch on “Martyrs’ Day”



Every year, India observes January 30 as “Martyrs’ Day” to mark the death anniversary of our “Father of the Nation” Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

Gandhi was assassinated by Nathuram Godse on this day (Jan 30) in 1948.

To mark this day and to recall the ‘greatness’ of Gandhi, social media platforms were bombarded with messages of peace and non-violence since morning. Ironically, the idea and principle of non-violence, that Gandhi firmly believed in, was mocked and shoved to the corner on an auspicious day when the entire country was celebrating Republic Day – the day our Constitution came into existence.

The farmers’ tractor parade which turned violent on Republic Day in Delhi is an insult to what Gandhi stood for – Peace and Non-Violence. Let us not forget that the life and death of Gandhi played a major role in changing the fate of India’s independence movement and political landscape of the country.

The R-Day violence is not a one-off incident; it is a part of a series of incidents that shook the nation and fractured the pillars of peace and unity.

If we look at Northeast India, several instances of violence over the past few years have left a dint in the social fabric and it would take years to mend the broken pieces unless we move beyond our petty differences and ideological tiffs.

Ethnic and community differences and clash of ideologies often breathe trouble and insecurity. And it is during times like these that we really need to remember that violence begets violence and no amount of money can compensate for the loss of lives.

It is of course a challenge to maintain and to be in tuned with the principle of non-violence in a democratic set up. One way or the other, a protest or an agitation where protestors’ angst is at its highest, will end up taking an ugly turn.

It becomes even more important for leaders to uphold this principle in the genuine sense of the term, as it is them who are hugely responsible for influencing the way their followers perceive a certain idea or thought.

Mere shouting and making motivational, inspirational speeches from the pulpit is not the answer; the phrase – practice what you preach is the perfect adage which, if followed in true spirit, would make the sailing smooth. But then again, with a political storm brewing at every turn, this would be difficult to adhere to, if not impossible.

Gandhi’s footprints and principles on non-violence are not just mere phrases which should be used as forwarded messages during important days like today, but let they be a source of inspiration that can guide us as we tread this journey where democratic principles are being taken for granted and rights being misused.

The path to attain and achieve the vision of free India has already been laid – all we need to do is to tread carefully and wisely.