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Speech by Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj to mark the Release...
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Speech by Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj to mark the  Release of Commemorative Postage stamps on Mahatma Gandhi by Bhutan Post on 25 May, 2019 at the Nehru Wangchuck Cultural Centre, Thimphu

It’s interesting to see what the world is today. Without much doubt we witness a planet of chaos. We sit and watch our delicate atmosphere fracture. We observe intolerance. We see avarice. We watch fear. And pain. But, of course I don’t need to stand here and tell all of you this. Switch on the news, turn a page of the recent paper, check your phones. I think it is quite logical to conclude that the obvious nature of our difficult world can be understood by most. Now, the only question which remains is: what next?

Well, it requires no genius nor character to notice that there is so much wrong within the world. It takes character to do something beautiful in this world, despite the fact that there is devastation.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is with great delight that I welcome you to today’s event. A Stamp Release that marks Gandhi@150,  our salute to the Father of the Indian nation and to his philosophy of Satyagraha. An ideology which stresses fearlessness in strength and depth in character. An ideology more so than just “non-violence” or “peace”, but of resilience like no other. It is indeed my honour to speak here today at an event where so many have put their hearts into. My deep gratitude to the gracious presence of Minister Karma Wangdi, Lyonpo Sonam Tobgye, Lyonpo Dorji, Ambassador Jishnu Choudhry and to this wonderful audience. 

       “Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.” This quote by Jalal ad-Din Rumi carries a great deal of beauty. It echoes Mahatma Gandhi’s ideology with rare perfection, as it stresses upon strength without violence. Fearlessness without ferocity. Bravery without bloodshed.

As even William Shakespeare himself advocated, it is silent strength which requires the most strength. It is the peaceful revolution which takes character. Not the facile act of a pulling a trigger. Anger is effortlessly cheap. It is the act of leading a nation which had been crippled into poverty and repression by those who considered themselves ‘superior’ which is strength. It is the act of standing up in a freezing railway station after being throw to the ground that is Satyagraha.

In 1893, when Mahatma Gandhi was evicted from his first class cabin at Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, two choices remained with him: to solely criticize a system of brutality and oppression, or to rise. And of course, he chose the latter and of course, it is his commitment to Satyagraha which brought India its liberation in 1947. 71 years of independence have accelerated our country with rare ambition and success. Today we are not only one of the fastest growing economies in the world, we have eradicated critical epidemics, dramatically increased life expectancy, launched some of the most powerful and daring rockets and satellites into space, competing with leading aeronautics companies around the globe, were the first country in the world to give every adult voting rights since our independence, have had women being our Presidents and Prime Ministers leading our country, stand as a nation of secularism and diversity, with 29 languages spoken and over 700 dialects.

We owe who we are to the man who fought for us during a time where none had succeeded.

But even beyond India’s own liberation, Gandhiji stood for more than a symbol for his own country. His name travels around the world everyday, so much so that the name ‘Gandhi’ is now a cliché. He has been responsible for inspiring some of the most powerful leaders within the world including the Dalai Lama, Aung San Suu Kyi, John Lennon citing Gandhi as a heavy influence on his lyrics and activism, Albert Einstein stating that Gandhi was the most enlightened political man of our time, Will Durant, breathtaking author and historian stating that Gandhi was marked by gentleness, disinterestedness, simplicity of soul and forgiveness of enemies. We have the astonishing phenomenon of a revolution led by a saint”.

Of course, few can articulate with the eloquence of Durant, but the notion of a revolution to change a country and its people being led by the simplicity of a saint, is why Gandhiji will always ignite that spark of rising above. Of passion. Of control. Of change.

It is an honour to address you all today, but it is my even bigger honour  to hand over to Minister Karma Wangdi . It is my conviction that all the hours of hard work and constant planning that have culminated in today’s event will lead to a beautiful conclusion today.

Congratulations Bhutan Post!

Thank you Minister Wangdi,

Thank you Anuja Chakaravarty.

Tashi Delek!

 

 
 
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