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UN Leaders Recall Gandhi's Power to Bring Transformational Change Through Non-Violence

'The whole question of producing probably five times the food we need, and then dumping 80% of it while 815 million people are hungry,' UN chief said, adding that the inequalities in production and distribution is leading to conflicts and challenges.

PTI

Updated:October 2, 2019, 10:52 PM IST
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UN Leaders Recall Gandhi's Power to Bring Transformational Change Through Non-Violence
Representative image.

United Nations: As the world grapples with violence in forms of environment destruction to devastation caused by armed conflict, Mahatma Gandhi's vision of peace and sustainable development continues to resonate across the world, UN chief Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday, as leaders of the world body recalled the "transformational change" brought by a "frail" man that inspired millions around the world.

"This International Day of Non Violence marks the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the renowned global icon of peace. His vision continues to resonate across the world, including through the work of the UN for mutual understanding, equality, sustainable development, empowerment of young people and peaceful resolution of disputes," Guterres said in his message for the International Day of Non Violence, observed on October 2.

Delivering the keynote address at a special commemorative event 'Climate Action: Gandhian Ways' organised by India's Permanent Mission to the UN, President of the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly Tijjani Muhammad-Bande said for the UN, almost everything that is fundamental, that the international organisation stands for, has prefigured in the work, life and thoughts of Gandhi.

"It is difficult to say anything new about Gandhi. I do not know any school child anywhere in the world, who has not been inspired by the resoluteness of Gandhi, the idea that the greatest courage is really to be non-violent. This is the utter opposite of a machismo culture," that is being seen as the way forward, he said.

Muhammad-Bande said the connection between Gandhi and today's climate activism is very clear. On climate action, he said the whole crisis the world is facing is because it produces in ways that are permanently destructive.

"The whole question of producing probably five times the food we need, and then dumping 80% of it while 815 million people are hungry," he said, adding that the inequalities in production and distribution is leading to conflicts and challenges.

"The way we produce, what we produce, how we distribute are connected to conflict, whether we like it or not," Muhammad-Bande said. He expressed hope that the world can come together to find solutions to challenges of inequality and conflict.

"Just imagine the frail figure of Gandhi and look at the mighty battles he led. I didn't say he fought because he always was connected to people. Gandhi didn't lead alone. Gandhi lead with others. Connections are critical in bringing about social justice.

"And Gandhi led despite his frail frame. He was a very strong figure and a forgiving one...we have a lot to learn from this figure. And the world must continue to deal with non-violence, including the battle to get out of our penchant for thinking that the sharper, we make our weapons, the healthier, or safer we have. This is a fallacy," he said.

UN Secretary General Guterres in the event said in today's turbulent times, "violence takes many forms: from the destructive impact of the climate emergency to the devastation caused by armed conflict; from the indignities of poverty to the injustice of human rights violations to the brutalising effects of hate speech".

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