BELGRADE – The Indian Embassy in Belgrade celebrates the birth anniversary of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948) on Friday.


Gandhi, called the ‘Father of the Nation’ in the South Asian country because of his role as a pre-eminent leader of the Indian independence movement in British-ruled India, successfully promoted the philosophy of non-violent resistance in the 20th Century. He proved that profound social changes and lasting peace could be brought through non-violent movements. His ideas and strategies of non-violent civil disobedience are still relevant in today’s strife-torn world.

On the basis of the Indian government’s initiative, the UN General Assembly passed a unanimous Resolution in 2007 to declare October 2 – Gandhi’s birthday – as the International Day of Non-Violence. The Serbian government not only backed the resolution, but also installed a Gandhi bust at the Gandhi Street in New Belgrade. The street was named after the Indian political icon in 1970.

On Thursday, floral tributes were organised at the Gandhi bust at 12pm to mark the 146th birth anniversary of the great soul. The Embassy said in a statement that President of the Assembly Maja Gojkovic, Indian Ambassador to Belgrade Narinder Chauhan, UN Resident Co-ordinator in the country Irena Vojackova-Sollorano and senior Foreign Affairs Ministry officials attended the event and paid homage to the Father of the Indian Nation. The favourite hymns of Gandhi were also played on the occasion.

Lithuania, too, marked Gandhi’s birth anniversary by inaugurating a monument dedicated to the great Indian leader and Hermann Kallenbach – Gandhi’s Lithuania-born close associate.
The German-Jewish architect, Kallenbach worked closely with Gandhi in South Africa and donated 1,000 acres of land in Transvaal, where “Tolstoy Farm” was built later for Gandhi’s followers. Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius and Indian Minister of State for Agriculture Mohanbhai Kundariya jointly unveiled bronze statues of the gigantic personalities in the western Lithuanian town of Rusne – Kallenbach’s birth place.

In a statement, Lithuanian Ambassador to New Delhi Laimonas Talat-Kelp sa said: “The monument comes as a testimony to Indo-Lithuanian friendship. Above the many things that connect our two nations, the monument to Gandhi and Kallenbach will tower as a symbol epitomising a single individual’s impact on the larger history of mankind.

The envoy also said: “While Gandhi gave the world the concept of non-violent resistance, which Lithuania also successfully employed during its struggle with the Soviet oppression, Kallenbach was pivotal in shaping Gandhi’s ideas and testing them in practice. We believe this monument in Rusne will serve as a powerful reminder that one man also matters in history.”

Koushik Das, based in the Indian capital of New Delhi, is a senior news editor with more than 15 years of experience. He also runs a blog – Boundless Ocean of Politics. E-Mail: [email protected]