Thu | Apr 2, 2020

Tributes paid to Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary

Published:Sunday | October 7, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Students from Alvernia Prep School pose for a photo at a bust of Mahatma Gandhi, father of the nation of India, at the Jamaica Library Service on the occasion of his 150th birth anniversary, celebrated on October 2. The day is also commemorated as International Day of Non-Violence.
(From left): Sunitha Naik, M. Sevala Naik, high commissioner of India to Jamaica, Kamina Johnson Smith, minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, and Senator Aubyn Hill, CEO of the Economic Growth Council with a replica of special commemorative stamps in honour of Mahatma Gandhi. The occasion was the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhi celebrated on October 2 at Kingston and St Andrew Parish Library.
Gandhi fasted for as long as 21 days. He fasted repeatedly during his struggle against colonial rule.

"Be the change that you wish to see in the world" was the underlying message that resonated on October 2 at the statue of Mahatma Gandhi, at Jamaica Library Service.

In traditional Indian style, Gandhi's bust was garlanded, and there were petals placed on a tray for the guests to shower on the statue, a symbolic homage to the father of the nation of India.

Leading the celebrations was the High Commissioner of India to Jamaica, M. Sevala Naik, who, along with his wife representatives of the Indian High Commission, were joined by Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, Kamina Johnson Smith, minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade; and Senator Aubyn Hill, CEO of Economic Growth Council.

Students from the Alvernia Prep School lined up to witness the proceedings, taking notes on the life of Mahatma Gandhi and posing queries to their teacher as Gandhi's favourite hymns were sung by members of the Indian Cultural Society in Jamaica.

The ceremony on the grounds was followed by the screening of a short animation film on Gandhi's life as the dignitaries present recognised the apostle of peace.

"Gandhi was one of the greatest proponents and practitioners of non-violent protest for civil liberties," said Grange.

"There is perhaps not one person in the world who has not been touched by Gandhi and his messages," said Johnson Smith.

High Commissioner Naik, in his speech, said that Gandhi's teachings and philosophy are still relevant. "The world could take a leaf out of his (Gandhi's) teachings and create a better place, live in peace and harmony, help in growth and empowerment of the most vulnerable."

A replica of the special commemorative stamp, which has been launched by the Indian Postal Service in India, was unveiled, followed by a donation of books by the High Commission of India to the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Library.

October 2 is also observed as The International Day of Non-Violence in honour of this leader of the Indian independence movement and pioneer of the philosophy and strategies of non-violence.

According to General Assembly resolution, which established the commemoration, the International Day is an occasion to "disseminate the message of non-violence, including through education and public awareness".

"Gandhi proved that non-violence can change history. Let us be inspired by his courage and conviction as we continue our work to advance peace, sustainable development, and human rights for all of the peoples of the world," Secretary-General said. Antonio Guterres in a message in the United Nations website.

His legacy lives on.