Gandhi Day 2015
‘The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.’
‘Live as if you were to die tomorrow; learn as if you were to live forever.’
‘Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.’
‘My life is my message.’
‘An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.’
‘It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.’
‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world.’
‘In a gentle way, you can shake the world.’
On 15 June 2007 the United Nations General Assembly voted to establish 2 October, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, referred to in India as Gandhi Jayanti, as the International Day of Non-Violence.
The first Gandhi Day celebrated at St. John’s College coincided with the first time the International Day of Non-Violence was commemorated globally. Much before the resolution by the General Assembly asked all members of the UN system to commemorate 2 October in "an appropriate manner and disseminate the message of non-violence through education and public awareness,’ the far-sighted Principal of St. John’s College, the Rev. N.J.Gnanaponrajah had decided to celebrate Gandhi Day annually and thereby take the message of ‘Ahimsa’ to the student population.
This year, Gandhi Day was commemorated for the ninth consecutive year at St. John’s College. This year marks the 88th anniversary of Gandhi’s visit to St. John's College. The Social Science Forum organized the Gandhi Day on 2nd October 2015 at 11.45 a.m in the Peto Memorial Hall. The Chief Guest of the function was His Excellency A. Natarajan (Consul General of India - Jaffna).
After the Gandhi Geetham by Mas. Y. Partheepan & Mas. A. Sujeevan came to an end, Mr.A.M. Raviendran went on stage for the Vice Patron's Address. The Vice Patron in his speech, noted the following:
- Not many schools and colleges commemorate Gandhi Day in India. But in Sri Lanka, at St. John’s College, we have set aside a day to remember him because of his policy of non-violence.
- There is violence in the house, school and society impeding the growth and development of the people and robbing them of their happiness and feeling of security.
- In the future, will the people of the North be able to experience peace and freedom if violence is rife as it is now?
- We need to end aggression. The people should one day live in a violence-free culture; the only way is by following Gandhi’s example of Ahimsa.
- Parents and teachers shove the responsibility of teaching their children the path to non-violence, on each other. Children learn from neither and grow up to be a menace to the society.
- Everyone in the society must join hands to guide the younger generation in the correct path.
- At St. John’s we commemorate Gandhi Day and conduct many competitions to create an awareness amongst students.
1800 students from grade 4 to A/L have taken part. Of this number, if at least fifty students have understood and embraced Gandhism, there will be 50 less trouble making rowdies in the society this year alone.
- If all get together, in the future, we can recreate the Old Jaffna that it once was – the ‘Punniya Boomi.’
"It was on the 28th of November 1927 that our College precincts were hallowed by the footsteps of the Mahatma to whose visit we have all been looking forward so eagerly; for ever since he has been described as the world's greatest man by Rev. Holmes of New York city, everyone was feeling it a life's opportunity to see such a man in the flesh. All eyes were directed to the car which took him to the College door, and in walked a slender figure with an eternal smile playing about his face - as that of a child - which sometimes broadened into a hearty laugh of m infinite good humour and kindness.’
- 1927 College Magazine
Next was a debate titled, ‘Who plays a bigger role in instilling the sense of non-violence in children – parents or teachers?’ Though the debate between students from Chundikuli Girls' College and St. John's College ended in a draw, it was an eye-opener for many. The adjudicator said that competitors gave names of Indians and people of other nations as examples of those who walked the path of Ahimsa. No one gave a Sri Lankan as an example. He concluded by saying that if parents and teachers worked hand in hand, we can produce many Gandhis in Sri Lanka as well. His conclusion gave much food for thought.
Next, the Principal called the Chief Guest on stage and honoured him by awarding him a memento. The Chief Guest's Address followed. In his speech, he noted the following:
Gandhi had an aesthetic sense. He admired natural beauty. Similarly, the Chief Guest himself had to admire the beauty of St. John’s College.
The fact that St. John’s commemorates Gandhi’s visit is commendable.
Appreciated the Welcome Dance.
The Debate was very good. Some arguments were quite emotional.
In 1927, when Mahatma was in Sri Lanka, he spent most of his time in Jaffna. He visited, St. John’s and Puttur during his visit.
Mahatma Gandhi was a man who was always concerned about the welfare of the others.
He narrated the story of how Mahatma Gandhi lost a shoe while travelling on a train. The very moment, without a second thought, he removed the other shoe on his leg and threw it outside saying that the person who finds it will benefit from it.
Mahatma Gandhi didn’t believe in any one particular religion.
St. John’s was punctual like Gandhi.
Speech delivered by Mas. J. Omshiyam Sankar
Good morning learned judges,
I am going to deliver a speech on Mahatma Gandhi, one of the greatest among the greats the world has ever seen. He is the light of Asia, the symbol of Ahimsa, a good man above caste, creed, race, region or religion. He was a reincarnation and the father of the Indian Nation. The world to date has not seen one like him. He was indeed Mahatma. The name was given by Rabindranath Tagore.
Gandhi was born on October the2nd, 1869. His mother’s name is Putlibai Gandhi. At the age of seven, he started his schooling. Gandhi got married to Kasthuribai at the age of thirteen and had four sons. He had the habit of reading Gita, the Quran, the Holy Bible and all the other scriptures. After his secondary education, he went to England and qualified himself as a Barrister. Returning to India he went to South Africa to serve in a Muslim firm. While in South Africa he worked for few years to serve the Indians there.
On his return to India he began his real labor of love through the Indian national congress. He faced many trials, went to prison and carried on his labor of love through peace and prayer.The might of the British stood powerless before the man of God; Britain in the end granted freedom for India.
Gandhi was shot dead by an Indian, Nathuran Godse on his way to attend a prayer on 30th of January 1948. Jawaharlal Nehru said “The light has gone out of our lives and everywhere it is dark.” His death was mourned all over the world. His body was cremated at Raj Ghat in New Delhi. Gandhiji was really a noble soul.
Today the Mahatma is worshiped by all, East and West. His life is a new testament. His thoughts are taught in universities and colleges all over the world. The time is over for the beating of breasts and tearing of hair. This is the time to take up the challenge for the betterment of the world. We are his living symbols. We are his soldiers. We are the carriers of his banner before an embattled world. Our banner is truth. Our shield is non violence. Our sword is a sword of the spirit that conquers without blood. Let the people of India rise up and wipe their tears, rise up and be full of hope and full of cheer. He has handed over us the radiance of his own personality, the glory of his own courage, the magnificent epic of his character. It is our duty to follow his footsteps.
We should influence mankind by his thoughts, words and deeds. We should take to the world the complete message of Mahatma Gandhi. Because the world is full of violence.To us at St. John’s, the visit of this great man to our college on 29th of November 1928 was a significant event in our history.
I would like to conclude my speech with the following verse.
‘If there is a righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character.
If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home.
If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation.
When there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.’
Thank you very much.
Speech delivered by T.Sukirthan
A very good morning to you all. May I have the attention of the house for split seconds to think about Gandhism. It is very important to be discussed in this modern brutal world.
At first and foremost, what is Gandhism? It is a body of ideas and principles that describes the inspiration, vision and words of a great ahimsa fighter Mohandaas.K.Gandhi. It is Gandhism, which made Gandhi an eminent character. It is Gandhism, which paved way for the independence of the great Indian nation, because none others ideas were able to achieve independence. And it is Gandhism, which once united the Indian nation free of caste, creed, religion and ethnics. So in simple manner, we can say “If Gandhi is a seed, Gandhism is a Tree.”Now the fact is,“Even though great Gandhi had met his demise, his ideas, teachings, principles- The Gandhism had not yet met demise.”Gandhism is still alive, but in a situation that none cares for it.
So, now the question is “Will Gandhism, be effective in modern days?” The question is debatable. “Nowadays the earth is not revolving around sun, but around sin”, so said a famous philosopher. So we all are contaminated people. In order to counsel and cleanse us, we need a good weapon. Not a weapon that causes destruction, but a weapon that destroys the destruction and creates the construction. So what I believe is, Gandhism will definitely be a good sort of weapon.
Now let’s see, what have we achieved using violence over the centuries? Nothing…. We had loss of lives, loss of properties, and loss of money. All losses not even a single profit that could be measured in term of truth and non-violence. Violence doesn’t bring an end to a crisis, but certainly aggravates the problem
So what I believe is, Gandhi’s ideologies, The patience, the persuasion, the perseverance will definitely help to solve problems pertaining to terrorism, communalism, regionalism and issues regarding to languages, ethnics, cast and creed. I’ll sum up with Gandhiji’s words “Truth and non-violence are the two sides of the same coin, both have the same value.” At last what I wish to tell you is, in order to get the pearl from the seashell, we should dive, same is Gandhism, in order to solve problems in a pleasant way we need Gandhism. And I know my Friends, diving is somewhat difficult, but Gandhism is not even that much difficult. Hope the world may soon understand the significance of Gandhism…