On the 150th birth anniversary of Mohan Das Karamchand Gandhi on Wednesday, October 2, Prime Minister Narendra Modi penned an op-ed for The New York Times. The piece, headlined "Why India and the World Need Gandhi," outlined the ideas incorporated by Mahatma Gandhi and how he "combined ordinary objects with mass politics".
The article, which ran as an op-ed in the Opinion section, discusses at length the Gandhian struggle and how Bapu, continues to give courage to millions globally. The opinion piece starts with a reference to the American minister and social activist, Martin Luther King Jr., who played a key role in the American civil rights movement from the mid-1950s until his assassination in 1968.
PM Narendra Modi recollects Martin Luther King Jr.'s trip to India in 1959: "To other countries I may go as a tourist, but to India I come as a pilgrim." "The guiding light whose inspiration got Dr. King to India was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the Mahatma, the Great Soul," writes PM Modi.
The piece also talks about South Africa's famous statesman and reconciliatory hero, Nelson Mandela who referred to Gandhi as "the Sacred Warrior". In the op-ed, the Prime Minister notes Mandela 's remark: "His strategy of noncooperation, his assertion that we can be dominated only if we cooperate with our dominators, and his nonviolent resistance inspired anticolonial and antiracist movements internationally in our century."
"Gandhi had the unique ability to become a bridge between some of the greatest contradictions in human society," PM Modi writes in the op-ed.
In 1925, Gandhi wrote in "Young India": "It is impossible for one to be internationalist without being a nationalist. Internationalism is possible only when nationalism becomes a fact, i.e., when peoples belonging to different countries have organized themselves and are able to act as one man."
The PM also says how Mahatma Gandhi epitomised trust among all sections of society.
The op-ed also talks about how Gandhi combined ordinary objects with mass politics. "Who else could have used a charkha, a spinning wheel, and khadi, Indian homespun cloth, as symbols of economic self-reliance and empowerment for a nation?" asked PM Modi.
"In Gandhi, we have the best teacher to guide us," says PM Modi. From uniting those who believe in humanity to furthering sustainable development and ensuring economic self-reliance, Gandhi offers solutions to every problem, added the PM.
PM Modi also spoke about how the BJP government is trying to fulfil Gandhi's dreams. "We in India are doing our bit. India is among the fastest when it comes to eliminating poverty. Our sanitation efforts have drawn global attention. India is also taking the lead in harnessing renewable resources through efforts like the International Solar Alliance, which has brought together several nations to leverage solar energy for a sustainable future. We want to do even more, with the world and for the world," PM Modi writes.