A generation that wants to ‘know the Mahatma’

October 2nd, 2011 - 4:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Anna Hazare New Delhi, Oct 2 (IANS) All that 19-year-old Azad Hussain knows about Mahatma Gandhi is what he has seen in Bollywood movies and read in school books. The Jammu University student came all the way from Doda district to the capital’s Rajghat to know more about the Mahatma on his 142nd birth anniversary here Sunday.

“I come from a region that is known to have rebellious youth. There is nobody in India who does not know about Gandhiji, but as a youth I am keen to know how he changed the country with his simple principle of non-violence,” Azad said.

“The leaders of this country, whether from Jammu and Kashmir or any other state for that matter, should know about his ideology,” Azad added.

People from far-flung parts of the country began coming to Rajghat since early morning to pay tribute to the Father of the Nation, unperturbed by the tight security at the memorial on the banks of the Yamuna river.

Students, senior citizens, tourists, everybody found a connect with the Mahatma, with many of them refusing to treat the day as just another public holiday.

“Honestly, the principles might not be that prevalent today. But deep within our hearts, we have immense respect for the man and his principles of non-violence,” feels Shering Tjokpa, 24, a student from Manipur who had come here as part of a college camp.

A common thread that strung the thoughts was the fight against corruption by social activist Anna Hazare back in August.

“The way entire country stood up to corruption through peaceful protest was a strong evidence of how Mahatma Gandhi’s principle of non-violence still stands prominent amongst us,” Kamlesh Bajpayee, who came to Rajghat with his 10-year old son, told IANS.

The east Delhi resident wanted his son to see what makes the day other than “politicians paying floral tributes”.

“The children don’t really come to know about the place, apart from who all paid floral tributes to Gandhiji. I thought why not step a little beyond the formal things that they see on TV,” Bajpayee said.

The birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi is celebrated as Gandhi Jayanti across the country. It is also marked as the International Day of Non-Violence.

Gandhi, born this day in 1869 at Porbandar in Gujarat, played a key role in India’s independence struggle. He was assassinated Jan 30, 1948.

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