Hymns, floral tributes mark Mahatma Gandhi’s martyrdom day (Lead)

January 30th, 2009 - 5:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Pratibha PatilNew Delhi, Jan 30 (IANS) Amid the chanting of devotional songs, hundreds of people in the capital paid floral tributes to the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi on his 61st death anniversary Friday. A large number of people, including school children, made a beeline to his memorial Rajghat from early morning to pay their tributes with flowers.

President Pratibha Patil, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K Advani participated in the interfaith prayers at the memorial.

“I come here every year with my grandfather. I really like the peaceful environment,” said 16-year-old Aruna Rai.

Several other functions, including a memorial service, were held in the afternoon at Gandhi Smriti. They were attended by a number of school children and Gandhians.

At the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), an NGO organised a special campaign “Let Gandhi talk” to spread his message on Martyrs’ Day. The campaign saw students and others stepping into a pair of two feet tall shoes in a symbolic gesture and reciting one of Gandhi’s quotes.

“The idea behind this campaign is to make people absorb what Gandhi’s teachings and his words mean. After this, we are planning to circulate a petition to the government which we are asking people to sign,” said Shailendra Uniyal, the campaign coordinator.

“The petition simply says that beside the face of Gandhiji on the currency notes, there should be one of his sayings inscribed. That way every time we look at a note, we will be reminded of his teaching,” he said.

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