GANDHI, NONVIOLENCE AND THE UNITED STATES
Speech at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, New York, on the fiftieth anniversary of the assassinationof Mahatma Gandhi, January 30, 1948E. S. Reddy
Dr. JayaramanLadies and Gentlemen,I was very happy to hear that Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan - and its Centres all over India and abroad -will observe the year from today as the "Year of Non-violence".The Bhavan was founded with the blessings of Gandhiji - incidentally it is the 60th anniversary of the Bhavan this year, and this New York Centre was opened on the birthday of Gandhiji - and it hasdone much to make the writings and teachings of Gandhiji known as widely as possible.It is amazing how widely he is remembered, studied, and admired fifty years after his death, andhow many people and movements around the world continue to be inspired by him. There is noparallel except with Prophets like Jesus and Buddha and Mohammed. That is in part because he isso relevant today.Gandhiji now belongs not merely to India, nor to South Africa which also lays claim, but to theUnited States and the world.I can do no better than quote Nelson Mandela who said:"The Gandhian philosophy of peace, tolerance and non-violence began in South Africa as apowerful instrument for social change... This weapon was effectively used in India toliberate her people. The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., used it to combat racism in theUnited States of America..."And he continued:"We must never lose sight of the fact that the Gandhian philosophy may be a key to humansurvival in the twenty-first century."This fiftieth anniversary is being observed in many countries.An international seminar is now being held in Delhi and Wardha.A multi-faith service was held in London today; it was organised by Richard Attenborough and theGandhi Foundation, in cooperation with the High Commissioners of India and South Africa and theCommonwealth Secretary-General.