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Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry

October 1st, 2008

The ennobling apostle My dear friends,

On the occasion of the Second International Day of Non-Violence which is celebrated on Mahatma Gandhi's birthday on October 2, our in-house publication, India Digest, is dedicated to the Father of our Nation.

In this special issue, the focus is on Gandhiji's visit to the UK to attend the Round Table Conference in 1930-31. We have put together some interesting and rare documents of the period, which have been made available to us by the British Library, as well as photographs from Gandhi Smriti, New Delhi, and Mani Bhavan, Mumbai. We are fortunate to be able to include the stamp collection of Mr. Ole Fredrik Olsen of Norway, which also marks the international status of the Mahatma as the Symbol of Peace and Non-violence. Our sincere thanks to all who let us source the material from them.

A million lines of homage later, what still stands out, for sheer eloquence and a reverence that remains somehow unsullied by mawkish sentiment, is the tribute paid by his best-known disciple, Jawaharlal Nehru:

"We live today in a world torn with hatred and violence and fear and passion, and the shadow of war hangs heavily on us all. Gandhi told us to cast away our fear and passion and to keep away from hatred and violence. His voice may not be heard by many in the tumult and shouting of today, but it will have to be heard and understood sometime or other, if this world is to survive in any civilised form. "People will write the life of Gandhi and they will discuss and criticise him and his theories and activities. But to some of us he will remain something apart from theory - a radiant and beloved figure who ennobled and gave some significance to our petty lives, and whose passing away has left us with a feeling of emptiness and loneliness. Many pictures rise in my mind of this man, whose eyes were often full of laughter and yet were pools of infinite sadness. But the picture that is dominant and most significant is as I saw him marching, staff in hand, to Dandi on the Salt March in 1930. Here was the pilgrim on his quest of Truth, quiet, peaceful, determined and fearless, who would continue that quest and pilgrimage, regardless of consequences."

I am sure that you will enjoy reading this issue of India Digest.

(Shiv Shankar Mukherjee) High Commissioner of India, London


High Commissioner Shiv Shankar Mukherjee paying floral tributes to the Mahatma's statue at Tavistock Square, London, on October 2, marking the birthday of the Father of the Nation, and the Second International Day of Non-Violence.







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