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Mahatma Gandhi, also known as “Father of the Nation”, was instrumental in India’s struggle for independence from Britain and a devoted follower of non-violent protest and religious tolerance.
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh paid homage to Gandhi on Wednesday.
Notable Indian officials also paid floral tributes at Rajghat – the memorial of Gandhi on the banks of the Yamuna river in New Delhi.
A minute’s silence was observed at the black stone memorial by all those in attendance.
The birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi is also marked as the International Day of Non-Violence.
Gandhi began his civil rights work and philosophy of non-violent resistance during his 20-year sojourn in South Africa.
Many see a great convergence of the Indian and South African freedom struggles with the anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela drawing inspiration from Gandhi, hailing him as “a hero of millions of people world wide”.
“The Mahatma is an integral part of our history because it is here that he first experimented with truth; here that he demonstrated his characteristic firmness in pursuit of justice; here that he developed Satyagraha as a philosophy and a method of struggle,” said Mandela during the unveiling of a Gandhi Memorial on June 6 1993 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
Gandhian philosophy had greatly inspired the African National Congress which Mandela said “achieved the mobilisation of millions of South Africans during the 1952 defiance campaign”.
Gandhi was assassinated on January 30, 1948 in New Delhi by a Hindu radical.
The BRICS Post