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India pays homage to Gandhi

Thousands including schoolchildren, politicians and diplomats pay respects to the Mahatma on his 137th birthday.

india Updated: Oct 02, 2006 17:31 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

Several schoolchildren were among the thousands, including politicians and diplomats, who paid homage to the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi on his 137th birth anniversary on Monday.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Information and Broadcasting Minister S Jaipal Reddy and veteran Gandhian Nirmala Deshpande were among those who paid floral tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat, his memorial in the national capital.

Representatives of nine religions - Buddhism, Baha'i, Christian, Hindu, Islam, Jain, Judaism, Zoroastrianism and Sikhism - took part in an all-religion prayer meeting at Rajghat.

With devotional songs playing in the background, several Gandhians and others joined school children in paying tributes to Gandhi.

Hundreds of people queued up in front of Rajghat to offer their homage, braving the stringent three rounds of security checks and the hot sun.

"Even 58 years after his death, the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi have acquired greater importance. From educational institutes to the film industry, everyone is drawing inspiration from him," said Rajiv Rajasekharan, who has come all the way from Jaipur to pay homage.

"A simple glimpse of the memorial in black marble with 'Hey Ram' inscribed on it is enough to recharge you to take on untruthful practices," Rajasekharan said.

"Gandhi Jayanti reminds the nation that non-violence can yield desirable results. While India takes economic strides, people must not forget Gandhiji and his teachings that gave the country sovereignty," said Hariprasad Arora, a bank employee. Many school-going children also took time out to visit the memorial.

"My mother told us to visit Rajghat. Along with my five friends, I am waiting till we are allowed by police to enter the place," said Monalisa, a 12-year-old girl.

Several organisations in the national capital like Gandhi Smriti and Gandhi Museum have organised special exhibitions on Gandhi to create awareness among youngsters about his teachings and his role in helping India gain Independence.

First Published: Oct 02, 2006 13:02 IST