150 years of celebrating Mahatma Gandhi in UK

150 years of celebrating Mahatma Gandhi in UK

Mahatma Gandhi and his universal message of non-violent resistance for India’s independence from Britain’s colonial rule continues to resonate the world over.

And to mark the great thinker and leader’s 150th birth anniversary year celebrations, which concluded on Gandhi Jayanti on October 2, the Nehru Centre in London hosted a special live virtual event to explore the modern-day relevance of the message of the man referred to as the Father of the Indian Nation.

Amish Tripathi, the Director of the Nehru Centre, explained: “This was a very significant Gandhi Jayanti for various reasons. It marks 150 years of celebrating the Mahatma. It was also being organised online due to the restrictions imposed by the Wuhan Corona pandemic.

“It was, therefore, felt that through this year's Gandhi Jayanti programme, we should project insights into the life of the Mahatma, particularly his time in the UK, while also bringing in focus on what the modern world can learn from Gandhiji, in terms of the environment, global cooperation, caring for the underprivileged, and promoting social understanding.”

The event brought together leading members of the Indian diaspora in the UK, including Lord Rami Ranger and C.B. Patel of India League and Lord Meghnad Desai, Chair of the Gandhi Memorial Trust.

Gaitri Issar Kumar, the High Commissioner of India to the UK, spoke fondly of Gandhi’s philosophy on sustainability and its relevance in the 21st century, highlighting his book ‘Hind Swaraj’ as a manifesto on sustainable living. Gandhi believed in sarvodaya (awakening of all) and centred his approach towards sustainability, emphasising on the betterment of human life in a way that ensures the fulfilment of the basic needs of all humans, the diplomat reflected in her message.

Lord Ranger and Patel both focussed on Gandhi’s message of non-violence, peace and standing up to oppression as universal and omnipresent goals.

As part of the special event, Tripathi also showcased unseen photographs of Mahatma Gandhi from his time in the UK.

He said: “A speech by distinguished Prof Satish Kumar and his interaction with students of different racial and cultural backgrounds helped distil the message of Gandhiji.

“The programme ended with a bang with a musical and dance performance by many artists, celebrating the life and essence of Mahatma Gandhi. The fact that this entire programme was hosted and moderated by noted actress, singer and motivational speaker Raageshwari made it even more special.”

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