The 2nd October marks the Birthday of Mahatma Gandhi and is celebrated worldwide as the Nonviolence Day since 2007. This little narration gives you an insight of how the activities went on in "Jalgaon" the city that the Indian "Father of the Nation" has visited four times in his live, and in the midst of which lies his most fantastic dedicated memorial throughout India, "Gandhi Teerth" at the Gandhi Research Foundation.
Gandhi Jayanti (Birthday) is a National Holiday celebrated in India to mark the occasion of the Birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, the " Father of the Nation". The United Nations General Assembly announced on 15 June 2007 that it adopted a resolution which declared that October 2nd will be celebrated as the International Day of Nonviolence. Gandhi Jayanti is celebrated yearly on 2nd of October. It is one of the three official declared National Holidays of India, and is observed in all of its states and union territories.
At GRF, the day was marked by prayer services and tributes in the city of Jalgaon, especially at the park where the statute of Gandhi is represented. The celebration included series of Lecture on the 1st and 2nd by prayer held by Prof Michael N. Nagler, University of Berkeley, President of METTA Center for Nonviolence (Petaluma-California) and collaborators , Shri Mel Duncan , Founding Director of the Nonviolent Peaceforce, Peace Activist (Minneapolis-USA).
On the first day Lecture held by the two eminent Guests, the discussion focused on the realities and challenges of today, and "what shall we do?". A large presence of students from different schools in Jalgaon (more than 150) showed the relevance of practicing Nonviolence and keeping Peace in our world today. The METTA Center for Nonviolence promotes Nonviolence worldwide, and aim to Educating, Consulting, Building Resource and strategies for people and organization in the midst of conflict. Prof Nagler has developed a Nonviolent program Course at Berkeley University and was concerned about how can we re-humanize our lives which has been held up by the Globalization and extreme competition. He's been deeply influenced and committed for Nonviolence and Peace by his teacher, the so called "foremost teacher of Meditation" of our time, Eknath Easwaran who was fortunate enough to meet Gandhi in the past and who later on established the Blue Mountain Center for presenting his eight-point program of passage meditation in Tomales, California Ashram. His work and publications on teaching a unique method of meditation on memorized inspirational passages from the world's great religions, has helped so far many thousands of people with full range of different cultural and religious background to overcome their difficult situations. Prof Michael Nagler, said Gandhi never spoke of India Independence but of India Freedom. In your opinion what makes the Difference?
Mr. Mel Duncan respectfully called "Shri", has achieved several peace and nonviolent actions on the ground through the Nonviolent Peacekeepers working in conflicts zones to address the most complicated and dangerous issues rising there sometimes. He mentioned referring to the World Development Report statistics that there is about 1.5 Bn people live in countries with repeated violence, not one of these countries has achieved a single Millennium Development Goal and the vast majority of the people killed today in these conflicts are civilians which are conscious military strategies on the field to weaken any other party. Unarmed civilians peacekeepers are non-partisans and are providing direct protection to civilians under threat of physical violence, supporting local civil society to help them protect themselves and prevent further outbreaks of violence, strengthening the capacity of existing protection mechanisms.
The second day was marked by a Rally Gathering, Prayer meeting, and commemorative ceremonies held by the Chairman of JAIN Irrigation and board of trustee, authorities, and Guests at morning in the city. Later in the day the third annual series of Lecture was made by the International Guests at the GRF Auditorium. In the Meantime, drawings/paintings and essay competitions were conducted in the city and awards granted for projects in schools and the community on themes glorifying peace, non-violence and Gandhi's effort in Indian Freedom Struggle . Gandhi's favorite devotional song "Raja ram ram", was repeatedly played in his memory. The most exiting fact is how we easily observe that Mahatma Gandhi the "Father of the Nation" has impacted all the areas of Indian Culture. During the 2nd October celebrations you can feel Gandhiji alive in the heart of each person you meet and that his message of Peace to the world was effectively "his Life" as he said once in an Interview. It is very compelling to see how people all around the world based on his inspirational thoughts, values, messages and life have successfully implemented remarkable programs to promote Peace and Nonviolence.
Enjoy this little photographs of the activities !