We wish you Happy Birthday, Mahatma Gandhi

Today, Oct 2nd, is Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, a day that is celebrated as a national holiday in India.

In the 20th century—so marked by violence, war, fascism, totalitarianism and oppression—Mahatma Gandhi proved that the spirit of peace could prevail against the forces of violence. The small, thin, unassuming man in the homespun loincloth developed the principle of satyagraha (literally “the force from which truth and love are born”). In practice this took the form of non-violent civil resistance that would force the end of British colonialism. It also laid the philosophical groundwork for the American Civil Rights Movement. Leaders from Martin Luther King Jr. to Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi have adopted Gandhi’s ingenious methods, whereby one’s opponents are not vanquished but rather converted—to truth and love.

TIME magazine, in naming Gandhi runner-up to Albert Einstein as the most important person of the 20th century said, “The Mahatma, the Great Soul, endures in the best part of our minds, where our ideals are kept: the embodiment of human rights and the creed of nonviolence.”

We wish you Happy Birthday, Mahatma.