Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary is set to be a global affair this year with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to helm an executive committee that will look into the planning part of the event to make it a big event. The decision to set up an executive committee was taken at the first meeting of the national committee for the commemoration of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary. The meeting was chaired by President Ram Nath Kovind.
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said that the event should be organised in a manner that it increases awareness about Gandhiji globally and sends a message that Gandhiji continues to be an inspiration for future generations.
The national committee has 125 members. The members include President, Vice President, Prime Minister, Chief Ministers of all states and UTs, Union Ministers, former Prime Ministers, senior MPs and political leaders from across the party lines, besides eminent Gandhian, social thinkers and activists. Moreover, there are nine international members in the committee including two former Secretaries General of the United Nations – Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon. Nobel laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and US former Vice President Al Gore are also among others who are part of the committee.
Mahatma Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869, in Gujarat’s coastal city of Porbandar. He had played a key role in India’s independence and inspired many through his teachings of non-violence. The world observes October 2 as the International Day of Non-Violence.
During the meeting, several national committee members made suggestions how the commemoration could be planned. The events to mark his 150th birth anniversary will begin on October 2 this year and will culminate on October 2, 2020. Suggestions from the members ranged from organising welfare programmes to providing specific measures to help to farmers, creating infrastructure and linkages in specific locations, and organising travelling exhibitions.
Yesterday’s meeting saw a healthy participation from the members of the committee. CMs from non-BJP ruled states including Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik were present in the meeting. All NDA CMs, former PM Manmohan Singh, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad also attended the meet. However, Congress present Rahul Gandhi, former president Sonia Gandhi and party CMs from Mizoram, Punjab and Karnataka skipped the meet.
On the occasion, Kovind said that Mahatma Gandhi is “India’s greatest gift to humankind and his name finds resonance across the continents”. Calling Mahatma Gandhi the most influential Indian of the 20th century, he said that the Father of the Nation was the inspiration for our largely non-violent, inclusive and democratic freedom struggle.