On the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi's 154th birth anniversary, on October 2, 2023, the Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Dharampur (SRMD) UK charity organised an Interfaith Service at the historic Manchester Cathedral, bringing together people from diverse faiths and backgrounds to celebrate the universal values of love, peace, and unity.
The event, as well as paying tribute to Mahatma Gandhi’s enduring legacy, also marked the International Day of Non-Violence, a day designated by the United Nations to commemorate the Gandhian principle of ahimsa (non-violence). The 9-foot-tall bronze statue of the leader of the Indian freedom struggle formed the backdrop for the city’s annual Gandhi Jayanti celebrations.
SRMD UK’s Interfaith Service saw a gathering that transcended boundaries of faith, belief, and culture, bringing participants from various walks of life to commemorate Gandhi's life and teachings, fostering an atmosphere of goodwill and understanding. Over 600 representatives from Afro-Caribbean, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh communities gathered to offer prayers and reflections, highlighting the common threads of love and peace that unite humanity.
The event started with dignitaries, Members of Parliament and Mayors from several boroughs across Manchester paying their respects and offering flowers to the Mahatma Gandhi statue at the heart of Manchester city centre, just outside the historic cathedral.
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Faith representatives read out passages of peace and harmony from respective faiths, showcasing the shared and universal values of non-violence present within all world cultures. The speakers also shared ways in which the principles of peace, unity, non-violence, compassion, and hope continue to be relevant in the contemporary global context, emphasising the importance of these principles in resolving conflicts, promoting social justice, and fostering greater understanding among communities.
The event featured beautifully choreographed cultural performances, including a melodic performance by ShowCaseUs, harmonious rendition by the Greenbank Preparatory School Choir, a powerful dedication from Lucy Veighey and mesmerising violin and viola performance by Saanvi Reddy and Imani Soren-Fahy. An expressive dance dedication by Year 13 Girls from Cheadle Hulme School and a devotional Kathak dance performance by Krishna Panchmatia further displayed the richness of diverse cultures while reinforcing the message of love and unity.
SRMD UK, a registered UK charity, is a Jain faith-based global movement that endeavours to enhance the spiritual growth of seekers and benefit society. Headquartered in India, the Mission actively promotes the values of love, peace and harmony across 202 centres in Asia, Europe, North America, Africa and Australia.
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