A “Follow the Mahatma” campaign to disseminate Mahatma Gandhi’s message of non-violence to school children is among a series of events planned to mark Gandhi Jayanthi on October 2 in the Netherlands. “October 2 will witness a large online gathering organised by the Embassy of India, The Hague in cooperation with Stichting Standbeeld Mahatma Gandhi. Dutch Minister of Justice and Security Ferdinand Grapperhaus will be the chief guest, read an official statement issued on Monday.
Other dignitaries who will address the event include Mayor of the City of The Hague Jan van Zanen, Ambassador of India to the Netherlands Venu Rajamony, Ambassadors of Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the Netherlands, Deputy Mayor of The Hague Bert van Alphen and the former Dutch Ambassador to India Eric Niehe, the statement issued by the Indian Embassy here said. “A ‘Follow the Mahatma’ campaign to disseminate Mahatma Gandhi’s message of non-violence to school children is also being conducted by the Embassy and the Gandhi Non-Violence Foundation, it said.
Around 200 students from 13 schools will be visited by volunteers, the statement said. Through lectures and interactive sessions, volunteers will educate students about the life of Mahatma Gandhi and how India won freedom through a non-violence movement, it said.
“Gandhi enthusiasts in the Hague are all set to mark International Day of Non-Violence and Mahatma Gandhi’s 151st birth anniversary on October 2 with enthusiasm following strict COVID-19 guidelines,” the statement said. The events will mark the grand finale of the two-year celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth, it said.
Other celebrations on October 2 will include garlanding of Gandhi statues in the four cities of The Hague, Amsterdam, Utrecht and Zoetermeer, with members of the public paying tributes by placing flowers at the feet of the statues as a mark of respect amidst speeches and singing of favourite songs of Mahatma Gandhi, the statement said. The two-year celebrations in the Netherlands have included peace marches involving school children, cycling rallies to spread awareness regarding the Gandhian philosophy of simplicity and sustainability, tree plantation at important landmarks of The Hague, student outreach programs at schools, exhibitions on the life and message of Gandhi at the city hall and release of commemorative stamps marking the 150th birth anniversary issued by the Indian postal department, it said. Links to a day-long conference on “Relevance of Mahatma Gandhi today for India and the World” is to be inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 2 on Government of India’s website. It will also be shared on the Embassy’s social media, the statement said.
In 2007, the United Nations declared Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, October 2, as the International Day of Non-Violence and called upon countries and people across the world to spread his message of non-violence.