Looking at the short, thin, unassuming man in a loincloth, no one would imagine that this man with an iron will and a gentle approach towards humanity had the power to overthrow the tyrannical rule of the colonial empire in India. And not only in India, as he has also been the face of the civil rights movement in the early 20th century in the entire world, so much so that Martin Luther King Jr. argued that the Gandhian philosophy was “the only morally and practically sound method open to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom”. That iron-willed man was born 151 years ago, and even today, his philosophy and approach to nearly everything in life apply to the modern world and society at large.
The government of India decided to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth in a befitting manner by having events of various kind to spread the message of his values and principles. The message of Mahatma Gandhi has appealed to a large portion of the Hungarian population. The influence of Gandhi and his teachings is way beyond the statues and mentions in the curriculum of schools and can be seen in the Gandhi School and its core philosophy, as well as several thinkers who have promoted Gandhi’s teachings and values at different levels.
’My Life Is My Message’ is what Mahatma Gandhi believed,
and it is reflected in the book called My Experiments With Truth, which has aptly been translated by Judit Tekulics and Eszter Somogyi to Hungarian.
To spread the message of Mahatma Gandhi, the Embassy of India in Hungary organised several events from 2018, which would culminate on Oct 2, 2020, in a special programme on one of the leading TV channels in Hungary, HírTV, in the programme Paletta at 13:30. In the programme, the Ambassador of India in Hungary, Mr Kumar Tuhin, spoke extensively on the philosophy of Gandhi and the significance of commemorating this day worldwide.
Dr Gábor Sonkoly from ELTE University shared his own experiences on Gandhi, and artist Panni Somi focused on how she has been influenced by Mahatma Gandhi in her life and the idea behind creating the dance drama. For this special programme made by the Amrita Sher-Gil Cultural Centre, 11 artists collaborated to create a melodious dance drama depicting Gandhi’s philosophy of truth, non-violence, and ‘Satyagrah’, which helped India gain freedom from colonial rule.
In this dance drama, classical dances from India like Bharatnatyam, Odissi, and Kathak were presented with live music on sitar, violin, and tabla by veteran artists from Hungary.
Along with this, a live painting was also done by artist Pallavi Majumder, who created a collage of Mahatma Gandhi, which was
shown live on-screen during the dance drama.
The Gandhi Jayanti (anniversary celebrations of Gandhi’s birth) kicked off this year in Hungary by a daily ‘Know Gandhi Quiz’, which received an immense amount of responses from the Indian & Hungarian audience. This initiative brings Gandhi closer to people. This was followed by dedicated Webinars conducted by the Amrita Sher-Gil Cultural Centre where notable Gandhian experts from India Dr Jacob Pulickan and Mr Sopan Joshi delivered lectures on the relevance of Gandhi for modern times.
The webinar was held for students of Széchenyi István University, Pécs University, Dharma Gate University, and Bhakti Vedanta College. Hungarians attended the webinars in large numbers and participated in the enlightening talks by the experts. The embassy has received several video messages by eminent people from Hungary and Bosnia & Herzegovina (message from the mayor, Vice-Rector Eszter Lukacs, film directors, actors from Sarajevo, etc.)
In continuation of the events in the past two years, some novel activities were organised by the Embassy of India.
The Buda Castle was lit up with a LED projection of Mahatma Gandhi’s image and handloom (Charkha);
a special session was held at the Parliament where the Speaker paid tribute to Gandhi’s statue; a cycle rally was held in Budapest; a Khadi fabric exhibition was held to promote the handloom & the thought of sustainability behind it; a Gandhi stamp was released by the Hungarian Post; vegetarian food festivals were organised in collaboration with ISCKON Hungary; special programmes were held at the Gandhi School & Pécs University; the Ferenc Hopp Museum and several symposiums, talks, and film festivals were held to mark this occasion. Well-known singer Jennifer Zoltán sang the famous “Vaishnav Jan To Tene Kahiye” song in Hungarian, promoting love & tolerance for all.
On this occasion, Ambassador Mr Kumar Tuhin said that
“India proudly celebrated the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, one of the country’s most illustrious sons, on 2 October 2019.
The Embassy of India in Budapest organised a series of events and activities to mark this important milestone over a two-year period from October 2018 to October 2020. We organised these activities in a way so as to bring closer the message of Mahatma Gandhi on a diverse range of topics, such as sustainability, education, non-violence, vegetarianism, gender equality, etc.
What Mahatma Gandhi preached and implemented in his life is as relevant and salient today
as it was during his lifetime. His revolutionary ideas ought to be considered again by the world to solve social and personal conflicts confronting us today, including by adapting these to contemporary realities if required.”
Source: Press Release