International Day of Non-Violence

On 2 October 2009, the United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA) will issue a New York definitive stamp in the denomination of US$ 1.00. The stamp image depicts an artistic rendition of Mahatma Gandhi.

The International Day of Non-Violence is marked on 2 October each year, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Indian independence movement and pioneer of the philo-sophy and strategy of non-violence. According to General Assembly resolution 61/271 of 15 June 2007 (A/RES/61/271), which established the commemoration, the International Day is an occasion to "disseminate the message of non-violence, including through education and public awareness". The resolution reaffirms "the universal relevance of the principle of non-violence" and the desire "to secure a culture of peace, tolerance, understanding and non-violence".

The life and leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, who helped lead India to independence, have been the inspiration for non-violent movements for civil rights and social change across the world. Throughout his life, Gandhi remained committed to his belief in non-violence even under oppressive conditions and in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges.

The theory behind Gandhi's actions, which included encouraging massive civil disobedience to British law as with the historic Salt March of 1930, was that "just means lead to just ends"; that is, it is irrational to try to use violence to achieve a peaceful society. He believed that Indians must not use violence or hatred in their fight for freedom from colonialism.

The principle of non-violence - also known as non-violent resistance - rejects the use of physical violence in order to achieve social or political change. Often described as "the politics of ordinary people", this form of social struggle has been adopted by mass populations all over the world in campaigns for social justice.