India celebrated the 109th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, the man called the Father of the Indian Nation, on Monday (2 October).
India celebrated the 109th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, the man called the Father of the Indian Nation, on Monday (2 October). The leading figure in India's struggle for independence more than a quarter of a century ago, Mahatma Gandhi is still revered by millions.
SYNOPSIS: A ceremony of remembrance at Raj Ghat, Gandhi's memorial was attended by the Indian Prime Minister Mr. Morarji Desai. He stood in silence after placing flowers on the memorial.
The President of India, Mr. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy was also there to pay respects to the man who was famous for his teachings of tolerance and non-violence. Gandhi led India to independence in 1947 through a series of peaceful protests, and campaigns of civil disobedience against the British.
Prayers in Hindi and English were offered with readings from the Bible and the Hindu Holy book, the Gita. Though he was politician, Gandhi said that his deepest strivings were spiritual. His popular name "Mahatma", was given to him by his followers. It means "the Great Soul". He was on his way to evening prayers when his assassin, a fanatical Hindu who opposed Gandhi's policy of communal tolerance, shot him six months after independence.
The Charkha, a simple spinning wheel was the symbol of Gandhi's freedom struggle against the British. It symbolised self-reliance and the campaign to boycott foreign goods in favour of Indian goods.
The end of the memorial ceremony was marked by government officials and devotees singing Ram Dhun, devotional Hindu songs that Gandhi loved.