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Remarks by EAM at the unveiling of the Bust of Mahatma Gandhi at Northern Lawns of the United Nations, New York

Secretary General, President of the General Assembly, Excellencies, friends.

    I am deeply honoured to be here today on this solemn occasion of the unveiling of the bust of Mahatma Gandhi in the beautiful north lawns of the United Nations. I thank the Secretary General and the President, General Assembly for their august presence. I am grateful to all other dignitaries who have spared their valuable time to join us this morning.

    2. This month, when India has assumed the Presidency of the Security Council for the second time in its current tenure, we dedicate this sculpture of the “Father of our Nation”, a gift from 1.3 billion people of India to the United Nations.

    3. Its installation here as India celebrates the 75th year of India’s independence of what we call “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav” is a tribute to the relevance and universal appeal of the values of the Mahatma. It is also our collective homage to him - the great soul, whose, life, ideals, thoughts and actions have been and shall continue to be a source of inspiration for the entire humanity.


    4. There are five core concepts that the Mahatma espoused for a peaceful and just world: Ahimsa (non-violence); Satyagraha (truth force that guides non-violent resistance); Sarvodaya (welfare of all); Swaraj (self-rule) and Trusteeship (custodianship of the earth and sustainable use of natural resources). These very principles are also enshrined in UN Charter.

    5. Today, when the world grapples with violence, armed conflicts and humanitarian emergencies, these Gandhian ideals must continue to guide our actions in ensuring peace and stability around the world.

    6. Conflict and inequality seem an inevitable part of human condition. Mahatma Gandhi’s greatest lesson to the world was that this need not be so. Conflicts can be resolved and inequalities can be addressed. Without the right means, right ends can never be attained.

    7. It is only befitting that United Nations had proclaimed October 2, the birth anniversary of the Mahatma, as the International Day of Non-Violence. The annual commemoration of which helps us in reflecting on the life of Gandhiji and his continued message.

    8. The unveiling of the Mahatma’s bust today at the UN will stand as a timely reminder for all of us to follow his ideals better; in letter and spirit to create a peaceful world; which is the fundamental objective of the United Nations.

    9. Gandhiji is a symbol of non-violence, truth and compassion. He is a symbol of peace and tolerance. He is a symbol who reminds us of our duty to make the world a better place for future generations. I sincerely hope that the sculptural presence of Mahatma Gandhi in these hallowed premises will inspire the UN to live up to its founding ideals.

I Thank You.