- Full Speech: Prime Minister Modi at Unveiling Ceremony of Gandhi's Bust
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On February 21, 2019, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a visit to Yonsei University to take part in the ceremonial unveiling of a bust of Mahatma Gandhi which has been donated to the university to mark the 150th anniversary of Gandhi’s birth.
FULL SPEECH: NARENDRA MODI AT UNVEILING CEREMONY OF GANDHI'S BUST
Your Excellency President Moon,
Your Excellency First Lady Kim,
Your Excellency, my old friend and the Former Secretary General of the UN, Mr. Ban Ki-moon,
Young-Hak Kim, President of Yonsei University,
the young people, the youth of Korea,
To all of you, my Namaska, my warmest greetings!
It is a matter of great honour and happiness and my good fortune to unveil the bust of Mahatma Gandhi in Korea's premier university today.
This occasion assumes greater significance since we are celebrating this year the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi.
In fact, Mahatma Gandhi is the foremost Messiah for the world which is celebrating the 150th anniversary looking towards Gandhi’s principles for a bright future for mankind, mankind's interest, a new energy and new light.
In the 20th century, Mahatma Gandhi was perhaps mankind's biggest gift. In the last century through his personality and through his life, Mahatma Gandhi embodied and showed through his values what the future would be, as well as through his lifestyle.
He, in fact, used to say that “my life is the message.”
Today humanity across the world is facing two serious problems, first that of terrorism, secondly of climate change.
If we look at the life of Mahatma Gandhi, we can find solutions to both of these problems.
If we look at his life, his ideals and the advice that he gave, then we can find the path forward.
Mahatma Gandhi used to say that the almighty and our bountiful nature has given whatever we require, but it is not enough for man's greed.
It is enough for man's need.
All the natural resource in fact would be less if we go for greed.
Gandhi used to say that we should lead our lives according to our needs. It should be need-based and not greed-based.
During Mahatma Gandhi's lifetime, there was no discussions about the environment, about climate change, or about global warming.
But if we look at the life of this great man, the statesman, we see the life that he led.
He has left no carbon footprint, and he has talked about leaving a better world for the generations to come.
He used to say that we have no right to take away the right of the future generations, we should leave a better world so they should be able to breathe clean air, get clean water, and all the natural resources that they need.
But he warned that if we misuse all this, then we are taking away the right of the future generations.
Moreover, he said that we didn't have this right.
And he led his life in such a way, he left no carbon footprint.
Secondly, mankind today is fighting the scourge of terrorism.
In fact, today this is the reality.
This very scary reality is the challenge before mankind.
To solve that challenge, we must look at the message that Gandhi had given: the message of unity of mankind, of human values, of achieving our goals through non-violence, and the philosophy of winning back hearts by not resorting to violence.
If we look at those values and those philosophy, we find that he gave stress on the values of mankind.
And this is the message that can inspire us today to fight against the scourge of terrorism.
We, all the children of this earth and one of them the former Secretary General of the United Nations Mr. Ban ki-moon, it was during his tenure that Mahatma Gandhi's birthday, the 2nd of October, was declared by the United Nations as the International Day of Non-Violence, and in this declaration and in this decision, in fact, it gives us a very good opportunity even today to get the strength to fight against terrorism.
Mahatma Gandhi was a man of this entire world.
He was someone who united entire mankind.
He was not limited to any particular era and he will continue to inspire the generations to come.
I note that this year when we are celebrating the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the entire world is receptive to his ideas and they are receiving his message with great enthusiasm.
He had a favorite version, a devotional song, “Vaishnava Jana To” and I'm happy to note that singers and musicians, prominent musicians from 155 countries have sang this devotional song.
They have recorded it, and in a way, it has now become world heritage on the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
In this way, musicians across the world have paid their respects to this great statesman.
And for this, let me express my gratitude.
When you have the bust of Mahatma Gandhi in the university, it inspires not only the students today but also students of the future generations.
They will be inquisitive about his life and his ideals. But there is one message that I feel that youth of all era would be inspired by.
Mahatma Gandhi used to say that when you are taking any decision, any policy, or something which is a momentous decision, and there is a dilemma in your heart, then all you need to do is to stop for a minute and think about the person who is at the end of the line: the poorest, the deprived.
They exploited the person who has tears in his eyes, who has pain in his heart, and who only thinks of how to progress in life. He has expectations and aspirations, remember his face, and then take your decision.
If that decision is for the welfare of that last person in the line, if that is so, if this is what your mind and your soul says, then yes, take that decision.
Do not hesitate.
Your decision will be the right one.
There is no confusion.
My friends, my young friends, this is the most decisive message of Mahatma Gandhi that will always be of use to you in your lives.
For all the decisions that young people will be making, those decisions should be for the welfare of humankind.
And to the citizens of South Korea, you are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 3.1. Movement, the fight for freedom.
My very best wishes to all the citizens of Korea!
We are celebrating 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and knew the centenary anniversary of the 3.1 Movement.
For both our countries, this is a year of inspiration.
Once again, I would like to express my gratitude to the university authorities, to President Moon, First Lady Kim, the Former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that you have taken out your time, your precious time to come to this program.
I am also grateful that at this very auspicious occasion you have invited me.
Once again thank you, and my gratitude.