August 20 is celebrated as ‘Sadbhavana Diwas’ or Harmony Day across India to mark the birth anniversary of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Saturday, August 20, 2022 is the 78th birth anniversary of the third member of the Nehru-Gandhi family to sit on the PM’s chair. 

Harmony Day is celebrated in India to promote peace, cultural and communal harmony among all religions, and national integration.

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Sadbhavana Diwas, or Harmony Day was celebrated across the country for the first time in 1992, a year after Rajiv Gandhi had been assassinated by an LTTE suicide bomber in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu. 

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This was initiated by the All India Congress Committee in order to mark Rajiv Gandhi’s contribution to the development of the country and reflect the ideals that he stood for. Rajiv Gandhi, in his prime ministership, had forcefully pushed for a unified, self-reliant, and prosperous India. He believed that the upliftment of the rural section of society would be a vital driver in raising India to become one of the economic superpowers in the world. Harmony day stands for exactly these values.

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Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award

The All India Congress committee also created the Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Puraskar in 1992 which is awarded annually to an individual/s who has demonstrated an outstanding contribution to promoting communal harmony, national integration, and peace. The award carries a citation as well as a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh. Former awardees include the great Sarod maestro Ustaad Amjad Ali Khan, Lata Mangeshkar, former cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin, and Missionary nun Mother Teresa, among many others.

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Harmony Day/Sadbhavana Diwas pledge 

One special way to observe this day is by taking the Sadbhavana Diwas pledge. The pledge is:

 “I take this solemn pledge that I will work for the emotional oneness and harmony of all the people of India, regardless of caste, region, religion, or language. I further pledge that I shall resolve all differences among us through dialogue and constitutional means without resorting to violence.”