Gandhi Jayanti is celebrated on 2 October annually to mark the birth anniversary of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, popularly called Mahatma Gandhi and regarded as the Father of the Nation.
This year marks the 152nd birth anniversary of Gandhi, who was born in Porbandar, Gujarat on 2 October 1869. His contribution to the Indian freedom struggle is unparalleled, with Gandhi being the architect of several mass movements such as the Non-Cooperation Movement and the Civil Disobedience Movement.
Every year, his birth anniversary is celebrated across the globe. In India, the President and Prime Minister of India pay tribute to Gandhi by visiting his memorial at New Delhi’s Raj Ghat.
This year, Gandhi Jayanti coincides with the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, an initiative by the Indian government to celebrate 75 years of the country’s independence from British rule. The Mahotsav, which was launched on 12 March on the 91st anniversary of the Dandi March, will go on till 15 August 2023, the 77th Independence Day.
To mark the occasion, a cycle rally organised by the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) was flagged off by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in Lucknow recently. The cycle rally originated in Tezpur, Assam, and is expected to culminate at the Raj Ghat on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti after covering a distance of about 2,384 km.
Gandhi Jayanti is seen as a national holiday in the country. Every year, people garland statues and busts of Gandhi. To honour his contribution to the nation, cultural events, prayer services, and commemorative ceremonies are held across India on this day, with Gandhi’s favourite song, Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram being sung at many events.
Many schools, colleges, socio-political, and government institutions observe Gandhi Jayanti by organising debates and quizzes. Many people also visit Gandhi’s Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad on this day to take inspiration from his life and teachings. However, this year, amid the ongoing pandemic, the occasion will not be celebrated on a grand level.
Globally, Gandhi Jayanti is marked as the International Day of Non-Violence, after the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a resolution on 15 June 2007. Gandhi’s contribution to the propagation of non-violence or ahimsa is recognised by the global body on the occasion.