Gandhiji’s 74 th death anniversary is observed on 30 January 2022, with usual Bhajans & prayers at Rajghat & other places in India as well as abroad. Due to Corona people had to put on mask. At 11 A M we observed two minutes silence to pay Tributes to Gandhiji & other patriots who laid down their lives for Mother India.
Along with Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsava celebration, we are also observing Mahatmaji’s 75th Punyatithi (Death Anniversary) year. On this occasion we have to do some self-introspection. Do we really love this Father of our Nation or are we just hypocrite who pay him lip service on his birth & death anniversaries and forget him for rest of the year conveniently ?
This year one of Gandhiji’s favourite hymns,Abide With Me, was dropped from the Beating Retreat Ceremony . The 1847 composition by the Scottish Anglican Henry Francis Lyte draws its opening words from the Bible. The work has emerged from the depths of human loss, of deprivation , of grief. Lyte is said to have written it after visiting a dying friend who, as Lyte sat by his side, said:Abide with me. The tuning of the hymn by William Henry Monk is as inspired as the text. The words of hymn are: Lord,with me abide/When other helpers fail and comforts flee/ Help of the helpless,oh, abide with me.
For five decades this tune has been Beating Retreat’s heartbeat. It is deeply soothing & healing in its quiet impact.Without the song, the ceremony has lost something at its heart. Of course an equally soothing song: Ai Mere Vatan Ke Logon, has replaced, Abide with me. Well another favourite Bhajan of Bapu, Vaishnav Jana TO Tene Kahiye,Jo Peed Parai Jane Re, still continues to fill us with pious feelings. His autobiography,My Experiments With Truth, translated in several languages inspires us even today.Charkha and Khadi, popularised by him,are symbols of our freedom struggle.
The main roads in many of our cities & towns are named after him.His statues stand tall in many places in our country & abroad.Gandhism is a subject of study in many universities.We follow his Satyagraha method of protest to address our grievances.
Even after 152 years of his birth and 74 years of his death people from all over the country & abroad visit Rajghat,Sabarmati ,Sevagram & Porbandar-places associated with him. Thus Gandhiji has become a part & parcel of our public psyche.
He is very much relevant today.The greatness of this man is in his simplicity. Let us try and discover the Gandhi in ourselves so that we face the Covid pandemic with courage and compassion!