India celebrates Mahatma Gandhi's 137th Birthday anniversary

Monday, October 2, 2006

Mahatma Gandhi (October 2, 1869 – January 30, 1948)

Indians paid tribute today to the father of the nation, Mohandas Karamchand Mahatma Gandhi on the 137th anniversary of his birth. Several dignitaries, including President A.P.J Abdul Kalam, Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi and the Leader of the Opposition L.K Advani paid homage to the Mahatma (great soul) at his memorial in Rajghat in New Delhi. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh was unable to attend the event as he is currently in South Africa on an official visit.

The leaders paid floral tributes to Gandhiji at the mausoleum and attended an inter-religious prayer meeting. A 24-hour marathon spinning of the charka (used during the swadeshi movement) is also in progress. The cast of the Bollywood film Lage Raho Munnabhai also participated in a peace-march in Mumbai. The event was organised by MP Priya Dutt, and was also attended by eminent actors such as Shabana Azmi.

The centenary of the satyagraha movement launched by Gandhiji was also marked this year. Mahatma Gandhi played an important part in the freedom struggle, such as launching the Non-Cooperation, Boycott and Quit India movements against the oppressive British Raj in India. Gandhiji, or Bapu as he is affectionately referred to, was a follower of ahimsa (non-violence) and used it in the freedom-struggle.