15 August 2008
Celebrating the life of Mahatma M.K. Gandhi: 16th August 2008
There is no doubt that Mahatma Gandhi was a champion of freedom and democracy. History will always remember him as an Icon who was in the forefront of the fight against oppression, colonialism and imperialism. Together with Jawaharlal Nehru, Mohammed Ali Jinnah and others, they fought the might of Western Imperialism in the form of Great Britain, to secure the independence of India. They successfully shrugged off the yolk of British domination and declared what was to become the greatest democracy of modern times. We salute and congratulate this historical achievement.
Those of us who are celebrating this occasion will do well to remember that this independence can never be fully appreciated, commemorated and enjoyed while the disputed territory of Kashmir is on fire. It is an insult to the man in whose honour the festivities are being held. If you are really sincere about these celebrations, then you should ensure that the promise which Gandhi made to the world on the 26th October1947 when he said: “If the people of Kashmir are in favour of opting for Pakistan, no power on Earth can stop them from doing so. They should be left free to decide for themselves.” The operative phrase is “free to decide for themselves.” Successive Governments of India have reneged on this undertaking, thereby tarnishing and tainting the august name of this giant of a freedom fighter.
The Media Review Network calls upon the organisers of the Celebration to use the opportunity to conscientise the public of the plight of the Kashmiris. You have an ideal opportunity, to remind the Indian High Commissioner, Mr. R.K.Bhathia, as well as the Minister of Tourism and Culture from the Government of India, of their moral obligation not only to the people of Kashmir, but in honour of the personality they wish to remember. If and until this obligation remains unfulfilled, all you celebrations will be empty, soulless and meaningless. In the meantime the representative of the South African Government is faced with a challenge to raise this issue with the Government of India as soon as possible. He is ideally suited to the task considering his political background.
012 374 6987
Media Review Network is an advocacy group based in Tshwane (Pretoria), South Africa
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