A dance for Mahatma Gandhi at 150 as Indian community, Nigeria pay homage
Truth, openness, dialogue and non-violence espoused by Mahatma Gandhi were the message of Rotaractors of Lagos Island in a dance-drama to commemorate Gandhi’s 150th birthday anniversary in Nigeria.
The audience, comprising the Indian community and Nigerians from all walks of life, which gathered at the Remembrance Arcade Park, Lagos Island, was enthralled with the heart touching moments of Gandhi’s life spent on earth, in the struggle of peace and equality for all men regardless of the race and gender.
Tears rolled down in the crowd as the artists gave a picture of the last moments of Gandhi, before he was assassinated on January 30, 1948.
Fondly called Bapu, Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869 as an ordinary man, yet his extraordinary deeds and non-violence philosophy changed the world we see today.
His fight for freedom and peace gave voice to many landmark movements in India and South Africa.
Part of the activities that left the audience spellbound at the event organised by the Office of the High Commission of India, Lagos to pay homage to the great icon of peace, include videos on the initiatives and lessons of his life that inspired many across the world and the favourite Bhajan “Vaishnav Jan To Tene Kahiye”, which was contributed musically by artists from over 124 countries, including Nigeria, using local instruments, as well as the unveiling of round postage signs.
On June 15, 2007 the United Nations General Assembly voted to establish October 2 as the International Day of Non-Violence. The resolution by the General Assembly directed all members of the UN system to commemorate the special day “an appropriate manner and disseminate the message of non-violence, including through education and public awareness.”
Speaking at the event, the Second Secretary, Head of Consular, Office of the High Commission of India in Lagos, Mr Subbu Ramesh said Gandhi’s fight for freedom and peace gave voice to many landmark movements the world had never seen before, which only not resulted in the independence of India but also heralded the end of colonialism world wide.
Further reminiscing the memorable achievements of Gandhi, Ramesh added that the messenger of non-violence was not only a great leader but was a deeply humane person and a strong proponent of peace.
Ramesh said Gandhi left three guiding principles, which are, Ahimsa meaning non-violence, Satyagraha, the force born of truth and Sarvodaya, up-liftment of all, adding that the people have to rediscover the values of these principles if they want to deal effectively with today’s challenges.
“His values are more relevant today than any time before, for a world desperately searching for permanent solutions to conflicts and tensions,” he added.
Also speaking, the General Secretary, Indian Culture Association, Nigeria, Mr Sanjeev Tandon, said Nigeria and the rest of the world could achieve peace without using violent, while he applauded the government’s way of resolving conflict in the country.
“Gandhi taught us that without fighting with guns or being violent, you could win the war on the basis of truth and nonviolence. Peace is most important in the world because every country is looking at how to retrieve peace, so his message is very important,” he added.
The Immediate Past District Governor, Rotary International, District 9110, Rtn Adewale Ogunbadejo said, just like Gandhi was able to achieve independence for India and also liberated the blacks from the whites in South Africa without using weapons or war, Nigerian Government could also resolve the crisis in the country through the same way.
“We must see the gravity of Mahatma Gandhi’s influence, it means that we can do it also in Nigeria, everything can’t start and end with violence. Of course we are going through tough period right now, we just need to keep persevering that one day we would get there,” he stressed.
Recognising the role of women in building the nation, the President, India Women’s Association, Geetika Tandon said it was heart touching to see how Nigerian youths commemorated the 150th anniversary, noting the dance drama performance will teach youths to stop violence, while urging the women to help spread the message of peace, adding that with non-violent method the country can achieve greatness.