Prime minister said Gandhi dedicated his life to humankind and was a beacon of hope
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has expressed that humanitarian ideals and principles of Mahatma Gandhi, the pre-eminent leader of Indian movement for independence, would triumph over all divisiveness and establish an equitable world.
Sheikh Hasina said this while addressing an event on Mahatma Gandhi, titled ‘Leadership Matters- Relevance of Mahatma Gandhi in the Contemporary World’, on Tuesday afternoon.
The Indian Permanent Mission to the UN organized the event at the Ecosoc Chamber in the UN Headquarters in New York, as part of the celebration program of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
She said: “We are living in a world, where hatred and bigotry are leading to terrorism and violent extremism, and dividing the humankind more than ever before.
"Gandhiji’s philosophy of life and his unwavering support for all people can unite us today to meaningfully and effectively address formidable challenges of global concerns like hunger, poverty and impacts of climate change.”
The prime minister said Mahatma Gandhi, a true patriot, a statesman and a saint, dedicated his life to humankind and he was a beacon of hope, a light in darkness and a savior in despair.
“His brilliant and mesmerizing leadership showed the world that an individual could bring earth-shaking social and political change in a non-violent way,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina mentioned that his selfless love and affection for people- regardless of social standing, caste, colour, creed or religion- earned him the title "Mahatma."
“His principles of tolerance, non-violence and harmonious coexistence will continue to guide us as we seek to build our nations,” she said.
She went on saying: “In fact, his ideals of diversity are cherished and celebrated all over the globe, wherever democracy is practiced.”
The prime minister said Bangladesh is proud to have Gandhi Ashram Trust on its land since 1946. It follows the Gandhian philosophy of rural development, peace and social harmony, and works for the rural poor with particular focus on women, she said.
“As I pay my tribute to Gandhiji, I fondly recall my father and Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who took inspiration from him during his formative stage of leadership,” she added.
She said Gandhiji’s love for the general masses and ideals of non-violence contributed to shaping Bangabandhu’s vision of struggle against oppression and tyranny by the then Pakistani rulers against the peace-loving Bangalees.
In the face of provocations, she added, Bangabandhu remained unmoved and committed to the principles of non-violence.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangabandhu declared the independence of Bangladesh in the early hours of March 26, 1971 and called for armed struggle against the Pakistan occupation military when they unleashed an unprecedented genocide against the unarmed civilians in Bangladesh.
“Whenever I look at Bangabandhu’s charismatic leadership, his sacrifice and struggle for people, I find a great degree of similarity with Mahatma Gandhi,” she said.
The premier said Bangladesh is currently hosting almost 1.1 million Rohingyas, who fled violence and atrocities in Myanmar.
“Despite resource constraints and other serious challenges, our decision to shelter such a huge number of Rohingyas emanated from our conscience driven by love for humanity – a virtue we see in Bangabandhu and Mahatma Gandhi.”
Presidents and prime ministers of seven countries including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, South Korean President Moon-Jae-in, and Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern also spoke at the event.