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Nation pays tribute to Gandhi
NEW DELHI/Durban, JAN 30 (IANS):
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Published on 31 Jan. 2010 12:36 AM IST
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India paid tribute to the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, on his 62nd death anniversary observed as Martyrs’ Day with floral tributes, devotional songs and an all-religion prayer service Saturday. At his memorial in Rajghat, flower offerings were made and a multi-faith prayer service was organized by the Rajghat Samadhi Committee. For more than half an hour, prayers were offered by religious leaders of Buddhism, Bahai, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Jewish, Parsi and Sikhism faiths. Rajneesh Kumar, a member of the Rajghat Samadhi Committee, said: “Every year we have an all-religion prayer to pay tribute to Bapu on Martyr’s Day, and this year has been no exception. The ministry of defence also has special tribute ceremony on this day at the memorial.” “While Rajghat is always thronged by people, on this day there is a bigger crowd. In the ceremony there were a number of dignitaries who had come to pay their respects,” he added. Apart from the prayer service, devotional songs were sung as tribute. Special programmes have also been organized at the Gandhi Smriti to pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi. Sixty two years after Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination, ashes of the apostle of peace, preserved by a family friend, were finally immersed in the Indian Ocean off the South African coast today. “It was a beautiful ceremony attended by more than 200 people,” Ela Gandhi, granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, who led the sacred ritual, said. The Indian Ocean was chosen for the solemn event as it links the two countries on which he had such a profound influence, she said. And the day chosen for today’s historic ceremony happened to be January 30, the granddaughter said which marks Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary. After Gandhi was assassinated in 1948, his ashes were distributed among family, friends and followers and handed over to his granddaughter by a family friend in whose custody they had been since they were brought to South Africa after cremation. Local businessman and an ardent Gandhian, Chagan “Chotoo” Thakur Bhoola, 85, recalled how he had transported Gandhi’s ashes in an urn from Bombay to South Africa.

 
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