Messengers of Peace
In today’s strife-torn world, peace is the biggest casualty. In the century when the world witnessed two World Wars, many cold wars, abuse and slavery, fight for freedom and independence, there were also people who became the epitome of love and peace. Mahatma Gandhi in the first half of the century and Lal Bahadur Shastri are two such befitting examples. While Gandhi ji almost received the Nobel Prize of Peace in 1948, Shastriji was world-famous as a Man of Peace.
The second of October, this month observed Gandhi ji’s 150th birth anniversary and Shastriji’s 115th. India has for a long time on 2 October celebrated Gandhi Jayanti, forgetting Shastriji’s sacrifice for the country but this year is different. Not only India but the rest of the world celebrated the birthday of both these noble souls.
Their common birthdays is not the only common thing though. Both were the preachers of ahimsa, always stood for what was right and believed the strength in unity. The world knows that both were great leaders and had respect for the armed forces and the farmers as well. Sashtriji’s slogan of Jai ‘Jawaan Jai Kisaan’ penetrated deep inside the hearts of Indians. They both were members of Servants of India society and promoted the service of people.
There was certainly a reason that UN declared 2 October as International World Peace Day.
Unity of India is one subject that was common in both. In a public meeting just a few days before his death, Sashtri ji said, “While I am a Hindu, Mir Mushtaq who is presiding over this meeting is a Muslim. Mr Frank Anthony who has addressed you is a Christian. There are also Sikhs and Parsis here. The unique thing about our country is that we have Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis and people of all other religions. We have temples and mosques, gurdwaras and churches. But we do not bring all this into politics. This is the difference between India and Pakistan… we Indians have the freedom to follow whatever religion we may choose, and worship in anyway we please. So far as politics is concerned, each of us is as much an Indian as the other.”
Gandhiji, on the other hand, wanted all Hindus and Muslims and the people of other religions to live together in peace and harmony, so much so that he was against partition. They both always wore Swadeshi (Indian) clothes and asked all Indians to shun western dresses.
They came from different parts of the country and created a legacy with their thoughts, words and deeds.
There are many controversies surrounding the two to date. However, why it is a must to talk of these two leaders is because the world, needs to follow their ideologies of peace.