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Modi unveils Gandhi's statue in Australia; says he's still relevant

PTI 16 Nov 2014, 18:46:15 PM IST
PTI

Brisbane: Exhorting the world to heed Mahatma Gandhi's advice to tackle terrorism and global warming, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said Mahatma's teachings of non-violence and love are as relevant in our times as it was during his lifetime.

“I firmly believe that Mahatma Gandhi is as relevant today as he was during his time,” Modi said while unveiling a bronze 2.5-metre statue of Gandhi at Roma Street Parkland here in Queensland, the first bilateral engagement of his Australia visit.

“On October 2 (1869), a person was not born in Porbandar but an era was born,” said Modi, amid applause from the Indian diaspora gathered, Governor of Queensland Paul de Jersey and Brisbane mayor Graham Quirk.

“The world is grappling with two major challenges— terrorism and global warming—and these problems were causing anxiety,” he said, noting that at the G20 Summit leaders spent a considerable time discussing these issues.  “If we look at Gandhi's life and his teachings, then we will be able to find solutions to the problems that the world faces today,” he said.

“Gandhi believed not only in one's acts but in words also one should be non-violent. He believed that we should not hurt anyone verbally, leave aside using arms,” Modi said.  

“Had the world internalised Gandhi's teachings of Ahimsa, the holier-than-thou using more and more force then I think, we could have solved many of the problems,” Modi said, pointing out that “respect for everyone, equality for all” is the only way forward for the world.

“Today, there are entities using more and more weapons and innocent lives are being lost, this could have been avoided and we could have saved the world from its fallout,” Modi said.

Ahimsa or non-violence was not merely a tool to fight against the British, but was “an article of faith”, he said.  The Prime Minister said Gandhi always preached love for the nature and his own lifestyle reflected this concern.  Gandhi himself had said the nature has enough to satisfy everyone's need but has not enough to satisfy man's greed.  

“At the heart of global warming is man's insatiable desire to exploit mother nature for centuries. That is what which has led to the problem,” Modi said.  “Had we judiciously used the nature, world would have been spared the horror of exploitation of nature,” he said, adding that “slowly but positively the world is realising the larger message of Gandhi.”