Abottabadis considered Mahatma Gandhi greatest man on earth
Al-Qaid chief Osama bin Laden was killed by US Seals in Abbottabad.
AHMEDABAD: Abbottabad, which hit the headlines as the safe haven for dreaded terrorist Osama bin Laden, was earlier known more for its love of principles of non-violence preached byMahatma Gandhi. People from Abottabad used to heap praises on Gandhi who is reported to have told that he does not deserve such adulation.
On November 8, 1938 in a public meeting at Abbottabad, Gandhi said, "I thank you for the address that you have presented to me. You have in your address expressed your gratification at having in your midst 'the greatest man on earth'. I wondered as I listened to your address as to who that gentleman could be. Certainly it could not be I."
Gandhi disliked it when people in public meeting heaped praises on him by equating him with sun, moon and the stars. He had said: "Not only the inhabitants of Abbottabad but even the sun, the moon and the stars here were eager to have a glimpse of me! Am I to understand, my good friends, that your city has all to itself a set of sun, moon and stars which do not shine upon Wardha or Segaon?"
Further, Gandhi reasoned his dislike for such words, saying, "I want you to realise the mistake of indulging in hyperbolic praises of your leaders. It neither helps them nor their work. I would like you once for all to forget this practice of presenting laudatory addresses."
Thereafter, Gandhi talked about non-violence and the movement of 'Khudai Khidmatgars' (servants of God), representing a non-violent freedom struggle against the British Empire by the Pathans of the North-West Frontier Province.
The movement was led by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan also known as the Frontier Gandhi. "I do not claim to have understood the meaning of non-violence in its entirety. What I have realized is only a small and an insignificant fraction of the great whole. But, I have constantly and ceaselessly striven for over half a century to understand it and to translate it in my own life. The Khudai Khidmatgars have no doubt set a most brilliant example in the practice of non-violence, to the extent to which they have understood it. It has earned them universal admiration," said Gandhi. Gandhi also praised Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan for his efforts.
"It is stated that today there are one lakh Khudai Khidmatgars who have adopted non-violence as their creed. But, before them, as early as 1920, Khan Saheb came to recognize in non-violence a weapon, the mightiest in the world, and his choice was made. Eighteen years of practice of non-violence has only strengthened.
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From:Times of India 05/10/2011