‘Swach Bharat drives draws inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi’

Jakarta, Oct 3 (IANS) Mahatma gave high priority to cleanliness, sanitation and hygiene and the Indian government had thus launched its Swachch Bharat nationwide cleanliness drive on his 145th birth anniversary last year, Indian ambassador to Indonesia Gurjit Singh has said.

He was addressing the 800-odd guests who attended the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Lecture at the Gandhi Memorial International School here on Friday, Gandhi’s 146th birth anniversary.

Gurjit Singh said that apart from Gandhi’s birth anniversary, “we are also celebrating Batik Day…There is no better example of Gandhian model of production than batik manufacturing as it gives employment to millions of people, uses local resources and skills and preserves the local culture, thus creating harmony between man and nature”.

A photo exhibition encapsulating Gandhi’s life was also mounted. A film, “Gandhi Lives” which foregrounds the relevance of Gandhi’s ideas “that continue to have relevance for growth in various sectors and services of the modern Indian economy”, was also screened on the occasion an Indian embassy statement said.

Gurjit Singh, Irman Gusman, the chairman of the upper house of the Indonesian parliament, and other dignitaries paid floral tributes at the bust of Mahatma Gandhi. “The program began with rendition of popular hymns of Mahatma Gandhi by students of the Gandhi school to an appreciative audience,” the statement said.

Irman Gusman described Mahatma Gandhi as an extraordinary statesman. Quoting Gandhi extensively, he said that Gandhian principles are necessary for harmony in society and body politic.

Gusman said that had the world followed Gandhian ideals, it would have been much better place to live in with far less social and economic problems. He also reminded the audience of what Gandhi called ‘Seven Social Sins’ which included wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice and politics without principles.

About eight hundred persons attended the event from all walks of life, including the ambassadors of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Bangladesh, members of the Indonesian diplomatic corps, the Indian community, think tanks, academia, charitable organizations and the like.

As part of Gandhi Jayanthi celebrations over the week, several organizations in Indonesia volunteered to hold charitable activities.

The Gandhi Seva Loka and Gandhi Memorial International School handed over cheques amounting to Rp.165 million to five charitable organizations in Indonesia. The Swami Teoram Satsang arranged 10 free cataract operations in Klinik Kashih Sayang. Sadhu Vaswani Trust will distribute prosthetic aids. The Jain Social Group will make a donation to Jain Vishwa Bharati Institute at Ladnun in Rajasthan.

The DPS International School, Karawang, organized programs and workshops for students on Gandhi’s life and ideals of Mahatma Gandhi. Members of Indian Cultural Forum vowed to participate in a ‘Cleanup Jak’rta Day’ on October 18.

These activities were organized in response to the’embassy’s initiative to mark Gandhi Jayanthi and the International Day of Non-Violence in a significant manner,” the statement said.

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