The Netherlands is set to witness six events in four cities as part of activities to mark the launch of the two-year-long celebrations of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
These events include a 'Gandhi March' from the iconic Peace Palace of The Hague to Grote Kerk on September 30 with the participation of people of all nationalities and around twenty ambassadors from different countries. Well-known spiritual guru from India 'Sri M', Deputy Mayor of The Hague, Kavita Parbhudayal, Ambassador of India to the Netherlands, Venu Rajamony and Ambassadors of the United States, Indonesia and Afghanistan will address the marchers, a press release from the Indian embassy in The Hague read.
The Gandhi March will conclude with multinational cultural performances highlighting the message of non-violence, a special exhibition mounted on a Khadi Scroll (curated by Pramod Kapoor of Roli Books, India) and a movie on the life of Mahatma Gandhi.
On October 2, the International Day of Non-Violence, five events will be held in the four cities of The Hague, Amsterdam, Utrecht and Zoetermeer. Gandhi statues in the cities will be garlanded and the public invited to place flowers at the feet of the statue as a mark of respect amidst speeches, singing of favourite songs of Mahatma Gandhi and cultural programmes, the statement added.
Special commemorative stamps issued by the Indian Postal Department will be released in front of the Peace Palace. A meeting will be held within the Peace Palace complex to discuss the relevance and importance of Mahatma Gandhi to the challenges of the modern world. A 'Gandhi Walk' will also be held in the capital city the same evening.
The Embassy of India in The Hague along with community organisations will conduct during the period of October 1-5, an outreach programme called "Follow the Mahatma", under which over 100 volunteers will fan out to around 20 schools of the Netherlands to spread the message of non-violence and to educate students about the life of Mahatma Gandhi and how India won freedom through a non-violence movement, the statement continued.
A social media campaign with the hashtag #followthemahatma will be conducted during the period inviting people across the Netherlands to post messages reiterating their commitment to the principle of non-violence.
The Netherlands has a special connection to India and Mahatma Gandhi. There are around thirty streets in the country named after Mahatma Gandhi, perhaps the largest after India anywhere in the world.