SRINAGAR, OCTOBER 02: Paying rich tributes to Mahatma Gandhi on his birth anniversary, the Chief Minister, Ms Mehbooba Mufti Sunday said Gandhi’s ideals of non-violence, equality and religious tolerance have eternal value.
Asking people to take cue from Gandhi Ji’s teachings, the Chief Minister said his philosophy of non-violence, harmonious co-existence and mutual respect will always remain relevant, more so in today’s world which is marred by varied political and ethnic conflicts.
“If any place can give Gandhi Ji the best tribute, it is Kashmir through a message of peace, brotherhood and religious tolerance to the entire world by following his philosophy”, the Chief Minister said while addressing a function organized here in connection with the launch of special ‘Sanitation Week’ from 2nd to 8th October, by Srinagar Municipal Corporation.
Also present on the occasion were Advisor to the Chief Minister Prof Amitabh Mattoo, Minister of State for Housing & Urban Development Social Welfare, Health & Medical Education, Asiea Naqash, Member Parliament, Mir Mohammad Fayaz, MLAs Mohammad Ashraf Mir, Noor Mohammad Sheikh, Aijaz Ahmad Mir, Anjum Fazili and MLCs Khursheed Alam and Sofi Yousuf.
The Chief Minister said the public policy must go beyond symbolism on standing for Gandhian philosophy and it must be equally focused on the religious harmony, equality of all religious communities and acceptance of diversity as the basis of our nationhood which were integral to Gandhi’s way of approaching collective identity. “A hundred years ago, Gandhi began to move Indian society in the direction of a nationhood that was non-competitive, non-combative and non-exclusionary. Nowhere in the world was there a precedent for such nationhood,” she said and added it is time to rediscover India as a symbol of that inclusive nationhood which forms the central pillar of the country’s present.
Ms Mehbooba said the biggest challenge that the world faces today is of violence and chaos. “Be it a large country like America or a smaller nation like Bangladesh no one considers itself at absolute peace,” she said adding; “We have forgotten the values of peace and brotherhood, which we need to revive and if there is any time when Gandhi Ji’s ideals and philosophy is most needed, it is now.”
Contrary to the fact that maximum resources should be utilized in addressing issues like alleviation of poverty and unemployment, the same are getting diverted towards defence and security, the Chief Minister said and added peace and harmony is therefore need of the hour, especially in the South Asian Region where the people are still plagued by poverty and impoverishment.
The Chief Minister said that under the prevailing situation, on this day we need to resolve to give peace a chance. She said violence has not achieved anything but only brought miseries to the people in terms of development, economy, business, trade, tourism and education, adding that it is the poor who suffer the most. She said over the years Jammu and Kashmir has suffered colossal losses in terms of precious human lives, economic dispossession, cultural disintegration and educational disempowerment because of the turmoil.
Ms Mehbooba said the true picture of Kashmir depicts communal harmony and religious tolerance. Recalling the turbulent period of the Partition when Mahatma Gandhi saw a ray of hope in Kashmir alone, she said Kashmir’s age-old traditions of amity and brotherhood have survived several threats in the past and it would continue to uphold the virtues of a civilized and emancipated society in the future as well.
Reiterating that her government be allowed time and space to mitigate the sufferings of the people, the Chief Minister said that we can give greatest tribute to Gandhi Ji by adopting his philosophy of non-violence and mutual respect. “Help me bring back peace and I will find a way for dialogue to resolve the issues”, the Chief Minister said and sought the people’s support in creating an environment of peace and harmony in Jammu and Kashmir.
With regard to the special sanitation drive the Chief Minister lauded the work of SMC, especially the Safai Karamcharis under the prevailing situation in the Valley. She said Gandhi Ji believed that cleanliness was next to Godliness and this drive should help imbibe in us the habit of keeping our surroundings and city clean.
The Chief Minister said that specific instructions have been given to the LAWDA authorities with respect to maintaining cleanliness of the Dal Lake. She said if we need to conserve the beauty of Srinagar city we need to conserve Dal Lake. She stressed that no encroachments at any cost shall be allowed within the area and any such construction will be strictly dealt with.
On the occasion, the Chief Minister also flagged off vehicles viz hoopers as part of the sanitation week and also inspected the cleanliness drive being carried out within the lake.