INDIA is preparing to mark the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth with its Gandhi Jayanti celebrations.
The national festival is taking place on October 2, 2018, with a string of celebrations taking place across India. Here’s what we know…
What is Gandhi Jayanti?
The festival is celebrated every year in India on October 2 and is one of the country’s three national holidays.
It marks the birth of Indian activist Mahatma Gandhi, who was born October 2, 1869.
The day is marked with prayers and services and across India – including Gandhi’s memorial in New Delhi where he was cremated.
In June 2007, the UN announced October 2 will be celebrated as the International Day of Non-Violence.
Public buildings, banks and post offices are closed on the day.
When did Mahatma Gandhi die?
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was shot dead on January 30, 1948, aged 78.
The gunman was Nathuram Vinayak Godse, a right-wing advocate of Hindu nationalism and a member of political party the Hindu Mahasabha.
Gandhi was blasted in the chest three times at point blank range as he walked behind Birla House in New Delhi where he conducted multi-faith prayer meetings every night.
He collapsed and was carried away to his room where he died 30 minutes later.
Godse and accomplice Narayan Apte were sentenced to death following a trial where a statement Godse gave on his motives was banned by the Indian government.
Gandhi, who led the Indian independence movement against British rule promoting ahimsa – non-violence and peace – was cremated with his ashes sent across India for memorial services.
How is the day celebrated in India?
October 2, 2018, marks the 150th anniversary of Gandhi’s birth so celebrations have been ramped up.
The national museum dedicated to him in New Delhi features the blood-stained robes he wore when he died and visitors can listen to his beating heart.
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The installation is modelled on Gandhi’s real heart rate measured by ECG in 1937.
Other celebrations include children dressing up in his trademark white dhoti and wire-rim glasses as they learn about the “Father of the Nation”.
The prime minister, Narendra Modi, is expected to give a speech and will order the early release of lags jailed on lesser charges, in what the government brands a “homage to the humanitarian values Gandhi stood for”.
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