October 2, 2018
Gandhiji epitomised communal harmony: Mamata Banerjee
The 149th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi was observed with due honour in Bangla today. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee attended a function at Beleghata today where she launched the renovation work of Gandhi Bhavan. She also laid the foundation stone for Mahatma Gandhi University at Tamluk.
Highlights of Mamata Banerjee’s speech:
- Gandhiji often sat on dharnas and anshans. He led the country from here (Beleghata) once. He gave the message of ahimsa to the world. There were times when he fought alone against riots.
- Gandhiji used to say his life is an example in itself, for others to emulate.
- There is a difference in politics of that era and the present situation. The country was not free at that time. Now we are independent. However, in many spheres we are still not free.
- Many people laid down their lives to make the country free. Like rest of the country, Bengal also participated in the freedom struggle. There was a tide of freedom movements in Bengal. Kolkata was once the capital of India. Bengal played a significant role at that time.
- Bengal led the national struggle, cultural struggle, struggle for harmony, education. Bengal was the land of renaissance.
- Some people only post pictures on social media nowadays, and deliver speeches, to show that they are following Gandhiji’s ideals. But when Gandhiji was alive, they rejected his philosophies.
- Gandhi embodies struggle. He was rooted. He believed in harmony, amity, unity. He was against discrimination. He was against casteism. He worked for all.
- Gandhi led many movements – salt movement, Champaran protests, Dandi abhiyan, non-cooperation, civil disobedience and many more. But he always laid stress on ahimsa. He never approved of violence.
- Everyone is aware of Gandhiji’s association with this house in Beleghata. The day India achieved independence, he was present here. From 6 August 1947 till 15 September, he was here, trying to stop communal riots. People belonging to both Hindu and Muslim communities surrendered their weapons before him.
- Rabindranath had called Gandhiji ‘Mahatma’. Netaji had called Gandhiji the father of the nation. There is substitute for Gandhiji.
- We have acquired Gandhi Bhavan. Some places are testimony of our history for our younger generations. We are renovating this house at an expense of Rs 3.5 crore. A museum will be set up here. Calcutta University will set up a chair named after Gandhiji. The higher education department will start a scholarship programme named after Gandhiji.
- Before India attained freedom, the country was declared free at three places: Satara in Maharashtra, Baliya in UP and Tamluk (Mahishadal) in Bengal. We have laid the foundation stone for Mahatma Gandhi University today, which will come up at Tamluk.
- We are all one. We spread the message of peace in Bengal. This land cannot be bought with money power. Politics of religious extremism and polarisation will not work here. We cannot be intimidated. Bengal must be loved. This is not the land of cowards. We have move forward. We have to dream of a new dawn.
- We will celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhiji in 2019. Year long celebrations have been launched today.