Gandhi commemorative events: June 6 and 7
THE High Commission of India, South Africa, with the support of the Indian Ministries of External Affairs and Culture, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and the Pietermaritzburg Gandhi Memorial Committee, will be hosting a series of events on June 6 and 7 in Pietermaritzburg to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the birth of Satyagraha.
India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will inaugurate a special twosided bust of Mahatma Gandhi at the Pietermaritzburg Railway Station on Thursday. She will inaugurate a Digital Museum on Mahatma Gandhi as well.
She will also jointly release commemorative stamps on Indian and ANC stalwarts, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya and OR Tambo, as well as release commemorative coins on Gandhi.
A coffee table book on Gandhi, which encapsulates quotes by world leaders and eminent personalities on the relevance of Gandhiji’s message of peace in the 21st century, will also be released.
An event highlight will include a re-enactment of the historic train journey undertaken by Gandhiji 125 years ago. The train will be draped in Khadi, especially imported from the Khadi and Village Industries Commission India, as a mark of respect to Gandhi, who in the early 20th century started a nationalist movement for homespun cotton cloth in reaction to foreign imposed fabric sold at exorbitant rates.
The two-day commemoration activities will also include a Youth Summit on June 6, where 20 diaspora youth from Africa and five from India will be specially flown to Pietermaritzburg to speak on the relevance of Gandhiji’s message of peace to the youth of today.
The Gandhi-Mandela Youth Summit is expected to conclude with the adoption of a resolution.
There will also be a mini film festival on Gandhiji, featuring, among others, the Oscar-winning film Gandhi by Richard Attenborough, all of which will be screened free for the public. The commemoration will also include an address by Minister Swaraj at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall, on the evening of June 6, made historic also by Gandhi, who addressed the venue more than 100 years ago in 1912.
The Pietermaritzburg City Hall and station, as well as the Gandhi statue at Church Street, will be lit up in national colours on June 6 as a mark of respect to the father of the Indian nation.
Next year will be the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhi, which will be commemorated in India over a two-year period, spotlighting the relevance of Gandhiji’s message in modern times.
A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people. Mahatma Gandhi
India’s Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj.