A Gandhian Peace March started on 2 October 2019 from Raj Ghat, Delhi, commemorating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The peace march will cover 10,000 km., in 10 countries before concluding at Geneva on 25 September 2020, on International Peace Day. The participating countries include India,Iran, Armenia, Georgia, Bulgaria, Rumania, Italy , Switzerland and others. Apart from the main march of 50 persons from various countries (the largest number are from India), there will be supporting initiatives and marches in several other countries.
The inaugural events in Delhi from October 2 – 4 turned out to be a colorful gathering of people from many parts of India, joined by representatives of around 30 countries covering all continents. There was a lot of song and dance, music and cheer, but the most heartwarming aspect of the celebration was the coming together of representatives from so many countries for peace and justice. A big welcome was accorded to representatives of several land struggle movements in various developing countries, including countries as far away as Ecuador. It was a learning experience to know how the poorest people in so many countries face similar problems.
This peace march called ‘Jai Jagat’ is part of a wider movement for world peace by the same name, based on Gandhiji’s ideas for bringing peace to a deeply troubled world. The concept of Jai Jagat is also linked with the name of Vinoba Bhave.
Jai Jagat is a greeting regularly used by Gandhians and members of the Sarvodaya Movement. Literally it translates into Victory of all in the world, or more appropriately, as Well-being of all in the world. The message it seeks to convey is—Peace to all in the world. This greeting, and the movement built on it looks at the universe as one family, as opposed to narrow nationalism. As the need for world cooperation is increasing felt to resolve the many crucial problems affecting the people of this universe, the importance of Jai Jagat `s objective is felt more than ever before. This movement also commemorates the 150th birth anniversary Kasturba Gandhi.
Although people from several parts of the world are involved in this effort, its base is in India. P.V.Rajagopal, who has led various organisations of Ekta Parishad in India for several years, is the co-ordinator of the Jai Jagat March and the wider movement. Ekta Parishad has been deeply involved in struggles of landless people and small farmers, with a special focus on tribal communities and environmental issues. It has organised several long marches in India and is known for its organisational skills needed for such campaigns.
Several organisations and eminent persons in India, Europe, Canada and other countries have extended support to this effort.
As a part of the preparatory work several ahimsa or non-violence training sessions were also organised in several countries. Keeping in view that the situation on several fronts has deteriorated globally in recent years, such peace initiatives are seen as the need of the hour.
The Jai Jagat marchers have a big responsibility – of taking forward the essential message of Gandhiji to the world, while at the same time challenging the hypocrisy of those who celebrate Gandhi events while negating his essential principles like non-violence and inter-faith harmony.