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Ambassador's Speech on Celebration of Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and United Nations International Day of Non-violence - 5 October 2020

Posted on: October 07, 2020 | Back | Print

Speech on the celebration of Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and United Nations International Day of Non-violence

[5 October 2020]

Excellencies and Dignitaries from Government of Oman

Colleagues from the Diplomatic Corps

Dear Friends,

Good evening!

I welcome you all to this final event to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and to observe the UN International Day of Non-Violence.

Each year, the Embassy of India in association with Raja Yoga Center for Self-development, organizes a big event in Oman to celebrate Gandhiji’s birth anniversary, which is also celebrated as the International Day of Non-Violence. This year, we have to meet virtually due to COVID. However, technology has allowed us to connect with people residing not only in Muscat but also in different parts of Oman and beyond.

We had to reschedule this event by a few days as we were mourning the passing away of Emir of Kuwait His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. As our President and our Prime Minister said, he was a great statesman and a friend of India. He also played a key role in promoting peace in the region. May his blessed soul rest in peace!

Earlier this year, in January a great statesman and peacemaker, Late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said passed away. I would like to pay my tributes to him as we celebrate the ideas of peace and non-violence today. His Majesty Sultan Qaboos’s role and contribution in promoting international peace and understanding will always be remembered. The Sultanate of Oman under the leadership of HM Sultan Haitham Bin Tarik continues to move forward on the path of peace and harmony.

Friends, Gandhiji was a great apostle of peace and non-violence. He was not only the father of the Indian nation, but his thoughts and teachings have inspired millions of people and leaders all over the world – Nelson Mandela, HH Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King Jr., Albert Einstein, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, Barack Obama and so on. And these teachings remain relevant even today, in fact more than ever before. The Sultanate of Oman itself is a living example of continued relevance of Gandhiji’s ideals.

Friends, in 2018, Government of India decided to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhiji by organizing a series of events all over the world over a period of two years. The objective was to create awareness about Gandhji’s teaching and highlight their continued relevance. In Oman, we started the celebrations with a mega event which was attended by over 1500 people. The event was graced by H.E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Said al Kalbani, then Minister of Social Development of Oman, as Chief Guest and Sister Shivani as keynote speaker.

Since then, the Embassy has organized a series of events to create greater awareness about the life and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. We have made special efforts to reach out to the youth of Indian, Omani as well as other nationalities. We will be showing you some glimpses of these events shortly.

I would like to thank the Government of Oman for its wholehearted support to our efforts. I would also like to thank our Omani friends, members of Indian diaspora and other expatriates in enthusiastically participating in the celebrations. Finally, I would like to thank the Rajyoga Centre for Self-development for partnering with us in organizing these celebrations.

For today’s event, we have received messages from Omani dignitaries, Ambassadors and prominent members of the Indian community. I thank them all for their contributions.

Today, we are honored to have the opportunity of listening to Sister B.K. Jayanti Kirpalani. She is an internationally acclaimed motivational speaker and many of you would remember her keynote address in the last year’s celebration on the theme of ‘One Heart One Mind One World’. Today she will be addressing us on the theme of “Sailing through Turbulent Times”. I would like to thank Sister Jayani for her participation in today’s event.

Friends, as we come to the culmination of two year long celebration of 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, I feel that this is not the end; Mahatma Gandhi’s message has eternal relevance. As the world confronts one of biggest challenges that the mankind has ever faced, we can draw inspiration from Gandhiji, who had said “strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will”. I am sure that with our determination and collective efforts, we will be able to overcome this challenge soon.

I thank you all for joining us today. I hope all of you will find today’s program meaningful and enriching.

Thank you!