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International Day of Non-Violence

2 October 2021


Remarks by Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti

Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations



Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,


It is my privilege to welcome you for a commemoration of the International Day of Non-Violence in New York. At the outset, allow me to thank the President of the General Assembly H.E. Abdulla Shahid for his video message on this important occasion. I am also grateful to H.E. Secretary General for his message.


2. A couple of years ago, I had the honour of accompanying the Hon’ble President of India during his visit to Zambia. During this visit, we had the honour of calling on His Excellency the former President of Zambia, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda. At that time, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda was well in his 90s. He received us with great warmth in his drawing room and in one side of the drawing room, was a huge portrait of Mahatma Gandhi. It was a photo of a painting done in the 1940s. On the side table, was a model of the Charkha or spinning wheel which Mahatma Gandhi used to galvanize India by making the Charkha a symbol of self-reliance, of non-violence, and finally of freedom itself.


3. Just as Mahatma Gandhi himself was influenced by great thinkers from abroad like Henry David Thoreau, Gandhi, in turn, inspired many others like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr. etc. Gandhi’s 21 years in South Africa shaped his thinking to inspire an entire nation and helped India to over-throw colonialism. In turn, Gandhiji’s non-violent struggle in India against colonialism inspired a whole continent called Africa to fight against colonialism.


4. Today, we have tried to bring together a few of these voices from around the world – voices of leaders sharing their thoughts on Mahatma Gandhi. At a time when hate, discrimination, terrorism and conflicts are on the rise, the message of Mahatma Gandhi has never been more relevant - the message of truth and non-violence, Satyagraha and Ahimsha.