President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday honoured freedom fighters from across the country to mark the ongoing year-long centenary celebrations of the Champaran Satyagraha.
Mukherjee, who arrived here by a special Indian Air Force plane, inaugurated the felicitation ceremony. Later, he honoured 15 selected freedom fighters on the stage.
"It is a matter of pride to honour freedom fighters, who have played important roles in the freedom movement of our country and fight against the colonial rule," Mukherjee said in his address.
He said: "I pay respect to all freedom fighters who are alive and pay homage to those who are dead."
Mukherjee said the nation cannot forget the important contributions made by freedom fighters in the country's freedom movement.
He said Mahatma Gandhi transformed the Satyagraha into a powerful tool. Gandhi's first Satyagraha began in Champaran, Bihar. In fact, with it Gandhi began a new chapter for the country.
"Champaraan is the laboratory of freedom movement of Satyagraha by Gandhi," he added.
Hundreds of freedom fighters from across the country arrived here and were honoured by the state government.
"Freedom fighters from different states were honoured by President Pranab Mukherjee... as part of the centenary celebrations...," said Vinodanand Jha, an official of the state Education Department.
According to Jha, freedom fighters from 19 states -- including Telangana, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi -- were honoured by the President.
In all, 2,972 freedom fighters from across the country, including Bihar, were honoured.
"As per the plan, the President honoured 264 freedom fighters from 19 states and 554 of the 2,708 freedom fighters of Bihar," Jha said.
The year-long celebrations to mark the 100th year of Mahatma Gandhi's first major resistance against British rule, popularly known as the Champaran Satyagraha, began last week in Bihar.
Mahatma Gandhi launched his Satyagraha -- a non-violent agitation -- against the forced cultivation of indigo by the British rulers in Champaran district on April 10, 1917.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)