Mahatma Gandhi was an exemplary leader whose ideas remained alive and relevant, said Governor Made Mangku Pastika while hosting a memorial lecture for Gandhi on Thursday at the Wiswa Sabba building in Denpasar. “I give my utmost respect to Mahatma Gandhi, whose ideas have become the basis of management, community, politics and other aspects of our lives,” Pastika said. The lecture was organized by the Consulate General of India in Bali, in collaboration with the Indian Embassy and the Jawaharlal Nehru Indian Cultural Center (JNICC) in Jakarta.
The memorial lectures were held to commemorate the anniversary of the birth of Gandhi, whose birthday on Oct. 2 is now celebrated as the International Day of Non-Violence, as decided by the United Nations General Assembly during 2006-2007. The event helps people reflect on the life and teachings of Gandhi, which some view as still relevant given continuing cases of intolerance and violence. The lecture was the second of its kind in Indonesia, with Vice President Boediono hosting the first lecture in 2012 in Jakarta.
“In Bali, where the majority of people embrace Hindu beliefs, Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy has always been relevant to their daily lives and has been in line with the management of Bali’s development,” the governor insisted. In addition to holding a lecture, Gandhi’s commemoration was also highlighted by a photo exhibition and the launching of an Indonesian translation of the book Gandhi’s Outstanding Leadership (Keagungan Kepemimpinan Gandhi). The book was originally written by former diplomat Alan Pascal Nazareth.
It has been translated into eight languages including Indian, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean and now Indonesian. I Gede Suwantana from Bali translated the book into Indonesian. Suwantana received his PhD in philosophy at the University of Burdwan in India under an Indian government scholarship During his 25-minute speech, Pastika acknowledged that the Indian government and its people had supported Bali’s development. “The memorial lecture is one medium for strengthening brotherhood through understanding and the implementation of the great values of Mahatma Gandhi,” Pastika said.
“Gandhi’s philosophy has taught us about humanity in social life. Generally, some of his main values have brought India to being an advanced country, such as ‘ahimsa’, which means not killing other living creatures or non-violence; ‘satyagraha’, which means fighting for the truth; and ‘swadesi’, which means love of our motherland, or fulfilling the needs of our own land,” he explained. Pastika added Gandhi was like a candle that enlightened the world and sacrificed his own life. He mentioned he studied several books on Gandhi during his childhood in the small library of his father, who was a teacher.
He also watched the movie on Gandhi and had always been impressed by his life. He said the teachings of Gandhi on maintaining peace, harmony and non-violence were extremely relevant and important in the modern-day. According to the governor, Gandhi rightly said Mother Nature provided enough food for all human beings. However, greed in the form of desiring more food and wealth was a cause of conflict, which also led to rampant poverty and starvation. “It’s important that all of us, including young children and students, follow the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and become both good citizens and good human beings,” he said.
Speaking at the occasion, Indian Ambassador to Indonesia Gurjit Singh detailed the transformation of the former barrister Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi into Mahatma Gandhi, an advocate of non-violence who stood for aspirations of change and justice for the people. “These challenges remain with us today,” the ambassador said. Gandhi went to South Africa as a lawyer, but his experiences there transformed his outlook and he returned to India to fight for the public good.
source : bali daily