Ever since he took over as the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi has been on a mission to ensure that Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals, principles and teachings are held aloft, both in India and abroad, through his speeches and actions.
The latest in the series, was the unveiling of the bust of Mahatma Gandhi at the Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, on 21 February 2019. The vision of Narendra Modi has ensured that the Yonsei University, a great citadel of learning, will now have our Bapuji inspiring thousands of young learners. This unveiling of bust at South Korea is just one of the many initiatives taken by the Prime Minister to carry forward the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi.
Over the past four years, from Brisbane to Hannover, from Ashgabat in Turkmenistan to Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan, the Prime Minister has unveiled busts or statues of Bapu all around the world, creating a lasting awareness about the Mahatma, overseas.
Modi also brought the Sabarmati Ashram, set up by Mahatma Gandhi in Ahmedabad, to the forefront of Indian diplomacy. In his presence, key global leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Chinese President Mr. Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, have visited Sabarmati Ashram to pay homage to the Mahatma. In fact, the Chinese President described his visit to Sabarmati Ashram as one of the most memorable and enlightening moments of his life. The pictures of the Prime Minister and various world leaders using the spinning wheel, brought back memories of Gandhi’s use of the spinning wheel as a symbol of self-reliance.
In India, the light of Gandhi’s teachings were kept alive, through memorials dedicated to the Father of Nation and well thought out schemes encapsulating his teachings.
The National Salt Satyagraha Memorial, representing the spirit and energy of one of the defining moments of India’s freedom struggle was dedicated by the Prime Minister on January 30, 2019.
Modi’s pet project, Swacchh Bharat Abhiyan, inspired by the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, was launched on Gandhi Jayanti, October 2, 2014 in New Delhi. While launching this scheme, PM had said “A clean India would be the best tribute India could pay to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary in 2019”.
Thanks to Narendra Modi, Swachhta has become a mass movement, reminiscent indeed of the days of Mahatma Gandhi, when the quest for freedom had become a mass movement. For the past four and half years, the scheme has been transforming the length and breadth of India. It has resulted in heightened awareness among the general public. States have competed vigorously in the race to become Open Defecation Free, and India is now close to achieving 100 percent rural sanitation coverage.
Khadi was a subject that Mahatma Gandhi brought to the core of India’s consciousness during the freedom struggle. The interest in Khadi had waned since those heady days. But it has been revived by the Prime Minister, especially through his speeches. Modi used his monthly ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme, to encourage people to buy Khadi products and thereby emphasizing on the revival of Khadi and cottage industries. Modi’s call had such an impact that the sale of Khadi products showed a quantum jump.
Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th anniversary is being celebrated as a two year event, with many programmes outlined to celebrate the occasion. To commemorate Mahatma Gandhi’s vision, the Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention (MGISC) was held in New Delhi from 29 September to 2 October, 2018. The 4-day event saw ministers and sanitation sector leaders from all around the world participating and share their experiments and experiences.
Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite hymn ‘Vaishnav Jan To’, went global, with artists from over 124 countries contributing musically to it. The project created a global appeal to a beautiful Indian bhajan.
A Mahatma Gandhi Museum was inaugurated at Alfred High School, Rajkot in 2018. This was the school from where Mahatma Gandhi passed his matriculation in 1887.
The Prime Minister has put into practice the ideas of Mahatma Gandhi and showcased how his ideas remain relevant even in 21st century. He has used Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings to mobilize people and to further the mission of creating a New India. His actions have actualized Mahatma Gandhi’s principles and values.
Modi’s own words written in his blog on October 2, 2018 shows his vision in promoting the legacy of Bapuji. He wrote “India is a land of diversity. If there was one person who brought everyone together, made people rise above differences, to fight colonialism and enhanced India's stature at the world stage, it was Mahatma Gandhi. Today, we, the 1.3 billion Indians are committed to working together to fulfil the dreams Bapu saw for a country for which he gave his life."