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© Neena Bhandari, Indo Asian News Service

ImageSydney, Oct 3 (IANS) A melodious rendition of 'Raghupati Raghav Rajaram' set the mood for the International Day of non-violence celebrations in Canberra's Glebe Park, where Mahatma Gandhi's statue stands tall.

The 1.68 metre high bronze statue of the Father of the Nation, made by renowned Delhi-based sculptor Ram Sutar, in the heart of Canberra is symbolic of the many core values of tolerance and respect for diversity that the two nations share.

Rich floral tributes were paid Thursday to the Mahatma by over a hundred Australians and members of the Indian community gathered at the Park, where workers come to eat their lunches during the week and families gather at weekends for picnics and play. Curious onlookers stopped to hear messages of peace and non-violence.

The concept of non-violence and satyagraha have relevance today in our common efforts to address the problems of growing violence across the world, said Vinod Kumar, Deputy High Commissioner of India in Canberra.

The statue, in a walking pose depicting Gandhiji's famous Salt March in 1930, was given as a gift from the government and people of India to the people of Australia in 2002.

Placed on a 1.06 metre-high pedestal, the inscription on it reads 'Hey Ram' in Hindi followed by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Apostle of non-violence (Ahimsa) and Truth (Satyagrah), October 2, 1869 - January 30, 1948 and a quote from Albert Einstein "Generations to come, it may be, will scarcely believe that such a one as this, ever in flesh and blood, walked upon this earth".

On the other side of the pedestal are listed Gandhi's guidelines: "No politics without principle, no wealth without work, no commerce without morality, no education without character, no pleasure without conscience, no science without humanity and no worship without sacrifice".

In Sydney, the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Australia and Soka Gakkai International Australia, a Nichiren Buddhist organisation from Japan, celebrated the day at Sydney Olympic Park with the screening of a documentary 'Does Gandhi Matter' produced by the Ministry of External Affairs and a photographic exhibition on the peace campaigns of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and the Buddhist leader of Soka Gakkai International, Daisaku Ikeda.

Reflecting on Bapu's teachings and importance in our world today, Bhavan Australia president Gambhir Watts said: "Gandhiji taught us that non-violence was inseparable from all other aspects of living. His argument about the unity of all things emphasised that opportunities to explore principles of non-violence existed even in the smallest details of life, from the practice of one's own religion to the tolerance of religious differences, from due courtesy to one's opponents to careful attention to hygiene and sanitation".

Consul General of India in Sydney, Sujan Chinoy, also emphasised the relevance of Gandhiji's teachings and way of life in a world, torn with strife and war and facing deep crisis of environment and resources. He said Mahatma Gandhi was a product of his age and time but his thoughts and values are timeless and relevant for all times.

© Copyright Neena Bhandari. All rights reserved. Republication, copying or using information from any content is expressly prohibited without  the permission of the writer and the news agency through which the article is syndicated.


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