Happy Birthday, Gandhi! Last week was a holiday in India for the 144th birthday anniversary of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Oct 2, 1869- Jan 30, 1948).
More commonly referred to as Mahatma Gandhi (“mahatma” is an honorific that roughly translates to “venerable”) — known here as “Gandhi-ji”, another way of showing respect & honor, which strikes me as more colloquial — is considered the Father of the Nation for his successful advocacy of independence from Britian.
Of course, Gandhi’s influence has spread greatly. The local holiday has also been designated by the United Nations as International Day of Non-Violence /”Ahimsa” (although I’m not if that is a holiday anywhere else…).
There are no specific festivities, it is just a day to regroup and reflect on Gandhiji’s message. It’s a dry day nationwide – no alcohol is sold- and I’m told most people eat vegetarian food only to honour Gandhi’s message of non-violence. (Presumably alcohol and meat will stir violent passions…). People told me even non-veg restaurants will go veg for the day. I must say, I was tempted to go to the famous steakhouse within walking distance of my apartment to see what they were offering if booze & critters were off the menu. But I felt that snarky behaviour probably didn’t honour Gandhi.