Over 800 people of different ages and nationalities participated in a 'Gandhi March' in the Hague to remind the world community of Mahatma Gandhi's principles of non-violence and peace.
India's Ambassador to the Netherlands, Venu Rajamony along with Deputy Mayors of The Hague, Rabin Baldew Singh and Karsten Klein made brief speeches flagging off the march, a day ahead of Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary.
A spark taken from the eternal 'World Peace flame' that burns outside the Peace Palace (created using a flame from the Mahatma Gandhi memorial at Raj Ghat in Delhi) was handed over to the ambassador and the deputy mayors who led the march along with other leaders of the Indian community, an official release issued today said.
The marchers, who wore T-shirts specially designed for the occasion with the 'Follow the Mahatma' campaign logo of Gandhiji walking with a stick in one hand and a cycle in the other, also carried posters and shouted slogans advocating non-violence and peace as well as the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi.
On reaching the Grote Kerk, the marchers paid respects to a bicycle personally used by Mahatma Gandhi and sent to the Netherlands by the Gandhi Memorial Trust of India as a special gesture, in view of the popularity of cycling in the Netherlands.
An excerpt of Philp Glass's masterpiece opera titled 'Satyagraha' inspired by Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy of non-violent resistance was performed by artists from the Korzo Theatre and Kwekers in de Kunst.
A new book in Dutch titled Gandhi -An illustrated biography by Indian author Pramod Kapoor and published by Lannoo of Belgium was released during the event.
The celebrations ended with a performance of Mahatma Gandhi's favourite songs Lead, kindly light, and Abide with me as well as the famous civil rights song We shall overcome by a choir group from the American Protestant Church of The Hague.
The 'Follow the Mahatma' campaign has been launched by organisations and individuals advocating non-violence in the Netherlands, the Indian community and the Embassy of India with the aim of reiterating to the world community the importance of non-violence and peace.
Other dignitaries who took part in the activities included the Ambassadors of South Africa, United Kingdom, Austria, Spain, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, Suriname's Indian-origin Leader of the Opposition, Chandrikapersad Santokhi and celebrity fitness advocate Milind Soman.