Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him. -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
International Day of non-violence is celebrated on 2nd October each year. It is the day when globally everyone celebrates the birthday of a man who helped bring forward the notion of “non-violence,” and the tremendous impact this form of social response has had all over the world in the last century.
The UN has good reason to use Gandhi’s birthday to celebrate International Day of Non-Violence. Gandhi’s commitment to India’s independence and his methods have been the cornerstone of civil and human rights initiatives all over the world. Put simply, Gandhi saw it as completely irrational to use violence to achieve peace, but rather, “just means lead to just ends.” This is a lesson we can all take to heart.
Background of International Non- Violence Days
The UN General Assembly passed a resolution in 2007 to establish the International Day of Non-Violence. The day aimed to spread the message of non-violence, including through education and public awareness, around the world. The resolution reflected universal respect for Gandhi and his philosophy. October 2, which is Gandhi’s birthday, was allocated as the day’s date. The first International Day of Non-Violence was on October 2, 2007.
The principle of non-violence, also known as non-violent resistance, rejects the use of physical violence to achieve social or political change. Many groups throughout the world use this method in social justice campaigns. There are three main categories of non-violence action:
The UN recognizes a philosophical connection between the human rights principles in its universal declaration and those that Mahatma Gandhi used. Gandhi was born in India on October 2, 1869. He is remembered today for his contributions towards India’s freedom and for sharing with the world a doctrine for dealing with injustice and disharmony. He taught people the philosophy of Ahimsa, which encourages the use of non-violence as a tool for the peaceful resolution of differences. India gained its freedom on August 15, 1947, through Gandhi’s efforts. He was assassinated on January 30, 1948.