Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, the father of India, at an event commemorating the 150th anniversary of Gandhi. The event was titled 'Leadership Matters - Relevance of Mahatma Gandhi in the Contemporary World' and was held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Modi remarked that Gandhi's ideas made him a powerful and influential figure, but he never used his qualities to influence anyone, but used them to inspire people, for all the right reasons. He said, "Gandhiji never tried to create influence through his life but it became a source of inspiration across the world. We are living in the era of 'how to impress' but Gandhiji's vision was how to inspire." PM Modi added, "Mahatma Gandhi's contribution went well beyond being a freedom fighter for India. Gandhi was Indian but didn't only belong only to India. He understood the power of democracy. He showed the direction in which people should not depend on governance and become self-reliant."
Modi said that a few years ago, the Queen of England had shown him a handkerchief made out of khadi, which Gandhi had given to her during the time of her marriage. Modi said that this only showed that Gandhi was cordial and respectful to those who were against him, and those against who he was fighting a big cause. He went on to say that this incident only highlighted Gandhi's greatness.
Modi added that even those who had not met him were influenced by him and his ideals and principles. Modi added, "Gandhiji inspired the lives of those who never ever met him. Martin Luther King Junior and Nelson Mandela's policies and ideologies were based on Mahatma Gandhi's vision." Modi also spoke about how if Gandhi was born in independent India he would have still helped make the society a better place. "Had Gandhiji not taken the baton of leading our freedom struggle, he would have gone ahead with the basic elements of Swaraj and self-reliance. His vision is becoming a great medium to solve big challenges India is facing today."
PM Modi also listed seven characteristics of Gandhi, which reflected in his work. He stated that Gandhi was against will without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, business without ethics, science without humanity, religion without sacrifice and politics without principle.