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Gandhi@150 marked in the Netherlands with grand celebrations

Posted on: October 07, 2019 | Back | Print

Embassy of India

The Hague

Press Release

October 5, 2019

Gandhi@150 marked in the Netherlands with grand celebrations

The 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi was marked in the Netherlands with grand celebrations which included a Gandhi March for Non-Violence, a Cycling Rally, an Exhibition on the life of Mahatma Gandhi, a Commemoration Meeting, events surrounding the four Gandhi statues in the country and a School Outreach Program. These were organized by the Indian Embassy in The Hague, the Netherlands in cooperation with the Gandhi Non-Violence Foundation and other organizations.

The celebrations began with a Cycling Rally on September 29. Despite the inclement weather, a large number of cycling enthusiasts of the Netherlands including children joined Ambassador of India to the Netherlands Mr. Venu Rajamony and leaders of the Gandhi Non-Violence Foundation in a Bicycle Rally through the streets of The Hague to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi to spread awareness regarding the Gandhian philosophy of simplicity and sustainability. The rally was held in the city of The Hague and began at the Embassy of India and passed through the iconic Peace Palace - home to International Court of Justice, the Parliament (Binnenhof), and the most popular seaside resort Scheveningen and returned to the Embassy of India.

An exhibition on the “Life and Message of Gandhi” was inaugurated by Ambassador Rajamony at the Atrium of the City Hall of The Hague on October 1. This exhibition will be on display from October 1-4 and will walk the viewers through important phases of Mahatma’Gandhi’s life until his ultimate sacrifice, when he was assassinated for standing by his ideals of inter-religious harmony and universal brotherhood.

From September 24 to October 3, volunteers reached out to 28 schools and over 2400 students in the Netherlands in a “Follow the Mahatma” campaign and talked about Mahatma Gandhi’s message of non-violence and its relevance in today’s world.

Gandhi Jayanti on October 2 was marked by a “Gandhi March for Non-Violence” through the city of The Hague to highlight the importance of the message of non-violence. This is the third successive year that the Gandhi March has been held in the City of The Hague which prides itself as the city of peace and justice. Around 300 school children and 150 adults took part in the march. The march began from the Gandhi statue at Hobbemaplein and concluded at the iconic Peace Palace. The rally was addressed by Ambassador Venu Rajamony and Director Carnegie Foundation Erik de Baedts in the courtyard of the Peace Palace. This was followed by planting of a tree donated by Carnegie Foundation in a prominent place in the Peace Palace. A plaque with a message of Mahatma Gandhi “The day the power of love overrules the love of power, the world will know peace”” was placed by the tree.

Ambassador Rajamony planted a symbolic red beech tree on October 2 in the Haagse Bos, which is the green gateway to The Hague and is the oldest remaining forest of the Netherlands. This is the first of 150 trees which will form a Gandhi Peace Forest and a joint initiative of the Embassy of India and the National Forest Administration of the Netherlands.

Other celebrations on October 2 included garlanding of Gandhi statues in the four cities of The Hague, Amsterdam, Utrecht and Zoetermeer, with the public paying tributes by placing flowers at the feet of the statues as a mark of respect amidst speeches, singing of favourite songs of Mahatma Gandhi, cultural programmes and a memorial meeting organized by Stichting Standbeeld Mahatma Gandhi in the Peace Palace.

A social media campaign was also conducted inviting people to post messages reiterating their commitment to the principle of non-violence.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) who is the Father of the Nation. He led India to independence from the British rule through peaceful and non-violent resistance.In 2007, the United Nations declared his birthday, October 2, as the International Day of Non-Violence and called upon countries and people across the world to celebrate and observe this day by disseminating the message of non-violence, including through education and publi awareness.

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