Why 2nd October is celebrated as a National Festival of India?


Why 2nd October is celebrated as a National Festival of India?

by Rajeev Pathak

Our NRI (Non-Resident Indian) friends and their children may wonder Why 2nd October is celebrated as a National Festival of India? India celebrates 2nd October every year as one of its 3 National Festivals. Other national festivals are 15th August and 26th January.

Image Courtesy: yourstory.com

15th August is celebrated as India’s Independence Day. India was declared as an independent country by the British on 15th August 1947. Since then 15th August is celebrated as Independence Day by all Indians wherever they are.

26th January is celebrated as Republic Day of India. On 26th January 1950, a new constitution framed by the Constituent Assembly was implemented in the country. In simple words, it indicates that the Head of the Government is elected by the people of India.

The significance of 2nd October

2nd October is celebrated as the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. On this day, people mainly school children take out Prabhat Ferries (morning rallies) to promote patriotism. The seminars are arranged to highlight the contribution of Mahatma Gandhi in various fields.

Mahatma Gandhi (Image courtesy: pngwing.com)

Who was Mahatma Gandhi?

The Full name of Mahatma Gandhi was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. He was born on 2nd October 1869 at Porbandar, a  coastal town in the Kathiawad region of Gujarat State in India.

After his basic schooling at Rajkot, a major city in Saurashtra in Gujarat, Mahatma Gandhi went to England. He obtained his law degree Bar At Law from there. He came back to India to practice law. 

The making of Mahatma:

But after some time, he left for South Africa. There he fought for the black people who were not treated with respect by the white. A very famous incident is quoted when Mahatma Gandhi was thrown out of the 1st class railway compartment despite having a valid ticket. The reason cited by the English was that the blacks were not entitled to travel first class. As a matter of fact, this incident was a turning point in the life of Mohandas Karam Chand Gandhi that transformed him into Mahatma. He fought for the neglected people in South Africa. 

Gokhale, his political Guru:

Gandhi Ji came back to India on 9th January 1915 from South Africa. The day of 9th January is celebrated as Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas (PVD) in India to recognize the contribution of NRIs (Non-Resident Indians) in the development of the country.  He joined the freedom movement. He recognized Gopal Krishna Gokhale as his political mentor and asked for his guidance. Gokhale Ji asked him to tour every nook and corner of the country to understand the problems of the people.

Sabarmati Ashram:

Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad 
(Image courtesy: Sabarmati Ashram website)

Mahatma Gandhi stayed at various places like Sevagram Ashram at Wardha in Maharashtra where he was a guest of a renowned industrialist Ram Krishna Bajaj. Sabarmati Ashram and Kocharab Ashram in Ahmedabad are other well-known places where he stayed for several years and give a direction to the freedom movement.

During his freedom movement, Gandhi Ji led many agitations named 'Satyagraha'. The meaning thereby to stand for the truth. To name a few such agitations,  Namak Satyagraha, Swadesh Aandolan, and Quit India Movement were the prominent ones.

He also fought for Hindu-Muslim unity. But he could not convince Mohammad Ali Jinnah and other leaders who pleaded for the division of the country on communal lines.

30th January, the ill-fated day:

He was killed while going for evening prayer at Birla Mandir, New Delhi by one, Nathuram Godse of Hindu Maha Sabha. That was the ill-fated day of 30th January 1948. Godse believed that Gandhi Ji was responsible for the division of the country. Those were the days when people were not happy with Mahatma for his agreeing to the division of the country into two nations namely, India and Pakistan on the basis of religion.

Gandhi, as Father of the Nation:

Post Independence, Mahatma Gandhi was given the highest recognition by the successive governments in power. He was called as Father of the Nation. This was to honor his commitment to truth and non-violence. 

Photo: by Rajeev Pathak

You must have noticed that Indian currency depicts the image of Mahatma Gandhi.

While Indian National Congress a political party that ruled the country post-independence for a long time believed that India got independence through the non-violence method of fighting. But this theory is not accepted by many Indians. The reason being India fought for its independence first in 1857. Since then, there were many warriors like Mangal Pande, Maharani Laxmi Bai, Sardar Bhagat Singh, Chandra Shekhar Azad, Ashfaqulla Khan, Ram Prasad Bismil, Veer Sawarkar, Subhash Chandra Bose, and thousands of others who sacrificed their lives during the freedom movement.

 2nd October is celebrated as Gandhi Jayanti to mark his birthday. The present BJP lead Government headed by Narendra Modi as prime minister celebrates Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday to promote Swachh Bharat (Clean India) mission.

Village Economy:

Mahatma Gandhi had his independent views on the economy also. He believed in an independent village economy. According to him, our industries should be based on a simple process. He encouraged the people to weave yarn and spin cloth for their own consumption. His 'charkha' became an icon to bring simplicity to the manufacturing of textiles. 


Hope this piece of information on Mahatma Gandhi will be useful to our NRI friends and their children. Our attempt is to make readers understand Why 2nd October is celebrated as a National Festival of India? 

Please feel free to give your feedback and suggestions in the Comment Box. We will endeavor to bring more such informative posts for the benefit of our brothers and sisters staying abroad.