My Message for Ukraine
31st January 2014
Dear friends in Ukraine,
I send this earnest message as someone who’s been captured by the beauty and variety of Ukraine, someone captured by the brave and creative spirit of its people, and especially its youth. I also send this message as a grandson of Mahatma Gandhi who taught me to fight for both peace and justice, for justice and peace, both. It is painful for me to hear that lives have perished in recent violence in Ukraine, painful to hear talk of possible civil war. There are times when protests and struggles are necessary, yet a struggle must never descend into violence or into attacks on human beings or their property. Independence from foreign rule was a powerful passion in India, as it is all over the world.
Independence means rule by ourselves rather than rule by outsiders. But my grandfather taught me that rule by ourselves also means rule over ourselves. I must learn to control myself, each of us must learn to control his or her anger if we wish to be fit to lead. Some people profit from polarization, but ordinary people need to come together. Without peace there is no economic activity, no movement of people, no movement of goods. I pray that no one in Ukraine will regard another citizen or resident of Ukraine as an enemy. Even if some politicians benefit from division, I pray that the youth, and other citizens and residents of Ukraine will sit down together and listen to one another instead of attacking one another. No one can be my enemy nearly because he or she speaks another language, or belongs to a region different from mine, or to a religious group different from mine, or holds opinions different from mine.
Ukrainians belong to one another, as human beings we are members of the same human family. Allow me to say, that those in power have to respect the voices of the people. And allow me to say, that those who take part in a non-violent struggle should never be afraid of sitting down with opponents for honorable negotiations. I send my love to my numerous friends in Ukraine and my prayers for the good people of Ukraine that they may find both peace and justice.