At a time when India and Pakistan are locked in a state of tension, with the threat of all-out war looming over both countries, President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday took the opportunity to remind the world of the virtues of non-violence and freedom preached by Mahatma Gandhi on the eve of his birth anniversary on Sunday, October 2, which is also known as Gandhi Jayanti.
Mukherjee also took the opportunity to urge people to make "concerted efforts to realise the dream of a 'Swachh' and 'Samarth' Bharat." This is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's efforts for a cleaner India through the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan -- a mission he had launched on Gandhi Jayanti a couple of years ago. Cleanliness had been a vision of the Father of the Nation.
Speaking on the eve of Gandhi Jayanti, Mukherjee said: "Gandhiji's ideals of non-violence, freedom, equality and religious tolerance have eternal value. Gandhiji taught us the value of harmonious co-existence and mutual respect. He displayed a rare constellation of abilities and showed how individuals can advance social and political change."
This could be construed as an effort on Mukherjee's part to urge India and Pakistan for better bilateral ties, and are especially significant because Mukherjee was visited by Modi on Saturday, and briefed by him on the surgical strike the Indian Army had carried out along the Line of Control between India and Pakistan on terror camps operating from there.
Mukherjee also said in his statement: "On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, let us imbibe wisdom from Gandhiji's thoughts and actions to address the challenges that confront our nation. Let us ensure that Gandhiji's views on truth, morality and ethics remain integral to India's national consciousness. Let us make concerted efforts to realise the dream of a 'Swachh' and 'Samarth' Bharat."