The picturesque Chao Yang Park in central Beijing was on Saturday resonating with Mahatma Gandhi's bhajans and famous sayings as Chinese and Indian children sang in unison to recall his life and times.
October 2 has acquired special significance for Beijing ever since the statue of Gandhi sculpted by China's acclaimed sculptor and artist Yuan Xikun was installed at the park in 2005, providing an opportunity for all his admirers to pay homage to him on Gandhi Jayanti.
This year it was special as a group of school children, initiated to Gandhian thoughts and ideals, delivered some of his famous sayings in unison, much to the surprise of large gathering of expat Indians.
While the Indian children sang "Raghupathi Raghav", their Chinese counterparts came up with a host of Gandhian slogans like "the weak never forgive: Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong", "Strength does not come from your physic but from indomitable will"; "Greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated".
"Gandhi stands tall among the tallest of the leaders. His multifaceted message combining spirituality with political movements of his time has inspired me to create this statue to pay my homage to him", Yuan who spoke at the meeting said explaining what prompted him to sculpt the bronze statue, which was placed on a meadow overlooking a serene lake.
Gandhi's ideologies such as devotion, self control and self motivation have many similarities between the philosophies of ancient Chinese thinkers like Confucius, Mengzi, Laozi and Zhuangzi, he said.
Yuan was not simply an artist but also an influential politician in his own right as he was the member of the Standing Committee of the 11th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and Curator of the Jin Tai Art Museum.
Besides Gandhi, he had also sculpted the bust of Rabindranath Tagore which is displayed in the museum attached to the park.
Deputy Ambassador, Rahul Chhabra told the gathering organised by the Indian Cultural Centre that in recognition to importance of Gandhi's message of non-violence, UN has declared October 2 as the International Day of Non-Violence.