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Today on the 148th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, India pays tribute to the Father of the Nation and organises cleanliness drives to promote 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan', a flagship mission of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), to make people aware about the advantages of cleanliness.
The abhiyan completes its three years today.
"Cleanliness is Godliness" had been the mantra of Mahatma Gandhi's life.
Mahatma Gandhi, in his lifetime, demonstrated, propagated and insisted for individual and community cleanliness. Following his footsteps, the Government of India, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, launched 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan' on October 2, 2014 with a vision of achieving 'Clean India' by 2019.
Prime Minister Modi then appointed several ambassadors from various walks of public life and assigned them the job of inspiring and motivating their fellow countrymen to keep India clean.
The drive to make India Open Defecation Free (ODF) is one of the key parameters in the Swachhta drive, for which the Union Government, along with various state governments, has been constructing toilets and urinals in the remotest areas of the country.
Today, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani will launch 'Swachchata-ni 60-Minute', meaning '60 Minutes of Cleanliness' mass campaign, as part of 'Swachch Bharat Mission', alongside the Social Equanimity Week.
Rupani will also lay the foundation stone or inaugurate various capital works for Porbandar totalling Rs. 46.78 crore.
On the other hand, the school students countrywide will also participate in the cleanliness drives to pay homage to the Father of the Nation.
Mahatma Gandhi, also known as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, was born on October 2, 1869, and died on January 30, 1948.
He was a political and spiritual leader in India and played a key role in the Indian independence movement. Gandhi developed the novel technique of non-violent agitation, which he called "Satyagraha".
He is known for his non-violent civil disobedience in India and South Africa. These included the start of the non-cooperation movement in 1922 and the Salt Satyagraha or Dandi March starting on March 12, 1930.
Through Mahatma Gandhi's efforts, India finally gained its freedom on August 15, 1947. The nation mourned for him after he was assassinated on January 30, 1948.
The United Nations' (UN) International Day of Non-Violence is also held on October 2 each year to coincide with Mahatma Gandhi's birthday.
India also celebrates the birth anniversary of its second prime minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri. Shastri joined the Indian independence movement in the 1920s. He died on January 11, 1966.
Shastri died in Tashkent, at 2 a.m. a day after signing the Tashkent Declaration, reportedly due to a heart attack. People, till date, allege conspiracy behind the death.
He was the first prime minister of India to die overseas.