President Kovind addresses students at University of Chile on Gandhi’s life




President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday (local time) addressed students and faculty of the University of Chile in Santiago on the topic of “Gandhi for the Young”.

From Chile to China, from Mexico to Malaysia on October 2, the International day of non-violence, this year, the world will commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of the Mahatma, Kovind said.

“The humanism of your thought leaders is so deeply reflected in Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings. For me, he was the ‘experimental Gandhi’, defying class and race boundaries. A ‘creative Gandhi’, who transformed salt into a powerful symbol of a mass movement. And the ‘determined Gandhi’, who with his frail body walked through the villages of India with a lamp of truth amid the all-pervading darkness of violence that marked our independence,” the President added.

“A close associate of Gandhi once told that the Mahatma was a combination of ‘Kranti’, that is revolution, and ‘Shanti’ that is peace. This made him an inspiring illustration of courage and struggle; the courage to retain the clarity of thoughts and conviction even amid the worst form of turmoil,” he added.

The President further added in his statement that Gandhi also inspired many other revolutionaries who were leading the freedom struggle such as Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela.

Gandhi’s guiding principle was truth, and his entire life was a continued exercise on the path of discovering and pursuing ‘Satya’, that is truth. He believed morality to be the foundation of life and conduct, Kovind said.

“Mahatma Gandhi belonged to all cultures and he drew from all religions. While deeply rooted in Hinduism, Gandhiji was also influenced by Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam as also by thinkers such as Tolstoy, Ruskin and Thoreau,” the President noted.

“Gandhiji was a unique persona who inspired both the East and the West, who forged new pathways for human endeavour, while at the same time maintaining the strength and sanctity of tradition and spiritual roots,” he added.

During his speech, President Kovind stated that Gandhi, also known as the ‘Father of the Nation’ in India, carried his concept of universal love to teach how to live in harmony with nature.

He also advocated both sustainability and ecological sensitivity at a time when the industrial revolution and increasing mechanisation were the mantras guiding the world. He promoted concepts which are enshrined in the sustainable development goals adopted by the United Nations, the President said.

“Our global initiative to set up the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and offer solutions for climate change is inspired by him,” Kovind stated.

“Many of Gandhi’s concepts which seemed out of sync with the world that he lived in are today becoming increasingly relevant and finding their own momentum,” he added.

Many of the policies of the Indian government are also inspired by Gandhi, including the Swachh Bharat programme with its emphasis on sanitation and public health and the fight against climate change, the President said, while adding, “We follow Gandhi’s footsteps in our fight for gender equality and the upliftment of all disadvantaged sections of the society.”

“To all those who are adrift today in a sea of doubt and scepticism, Gandhi’s life, thought and philosophy would inspire them to regain inner strength and confidence,” the President noted.

“Mahatma Gandhi was more than just a man, he was an ideology, an institution that still resonates more than a hundred years after it was developed,” Kovind added.

Following this, President Kovind, who is on a three-day visit to Chile that culminates on April 4, also addressed the India-Chile Business Forum, where he said that Chile is India’s window to Latin America and to the Pacific Alliance.

The President invited Chile’s sovereign funds to invest in the Indian infrastructure sector.

The President emplaned for India later in the day.

President Kovind was on the last leg of his three-nation tour. Prior to Chile, the President visited Croatia and Bolivia from March 25th to March 30th.

On Sunday, the President addressed the Indian community here and said it has integrated well into the Chilean society and established a good reputation for itself and for India.

During his presence, along with his Chilean counterpart Sebastian Pinera, India and Chile signed three Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) in the field of mining, culture and disability.

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