GIIS-Singapore celebrate Gandhi’s 150 birthday


High Commissioner Jawed Ashraf address GIIS students, teachers and guests on 2 Oct 2019.


The 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi was observed with grace and aplomb at the Global Indian International School (GIIS) on 2 Oct 2019 with many dignitaries paying tributes to the leader’s ideas, philosophy and contribution to the world.

Since 2007, this day is also observed worldwide as the United Nations Day of Non-Violence in commemoration of the great leader who gave the world the message of peace, non-violence and universal brotherhood.

Speaking on the occasion, India’s High Commissioner to Singapore Jawed Ashraf addressed the students and members of the audience at GIIS, saying that Mahatma Gandhi’s ideas and messages are more relevant in the world than ever before.

“Even after 73 years of India’s independence, the Mahatma is not forgotten. Everything he stood for remains relevant today especially the idea of change through methods of non-violence and peace,” said the envoy.

The High Commissioner said moral strength will always outweigh physical strength and defeat violence. He also emphasized that great leaders are made not just by how they communicate with people, empowering them and inspiring them to rise to a cause.

He asked them to inculcate the message of the Mahatma in everything they do. ‘Non-violence must extend to Mother Earth. If you change your lifestyle to frugal living and lighten your footprint on the earth, change your lifestyle, you will be doing a great service to the world.”

Jawed Ashraf shared an anecdote on the Mahatma Gandhi who never stepped a foot in the Malay peninsula. But, when a portion of his ashes were immersed off the southern tip of Singapore in 1948, nearly 10,000 people from all walks of life joined the immersion procession and drank the waters where the immersion took place as a mark of homage, reverence and grief, he shared.

Mahatma Gandhi’s ideas have made an impact on many world leaders like Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela and even President Barack Obama.

Even Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has opined that Gandhi’s message of mutual understanding, tolerance and respect for one another to resolve difference calmly.

Lee also mentioned the Mahatma Gandhi Centre for Universal Values that GIIS hosts, in his Sept 29 speech, emphasising the contribution of Singapore to take the message of Gandhi forward.

UN Vice President of UN in Singapore Lee Kwang Boon, called the Mahatma one of the greatest leaders of all time. He reminded the audience that Gandhiji’s values and urged the students to do their best in life, keeping Gandhiji’s thoughts in mind.

President of Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), Harikrishnan said, ‘You be the change for the world to change’ A short video was played on his famous Salt March which was the start of the Civil Disobedience Movement in India that eventually brought down the British Empire. GOPIO senior member Ameerali Jumabhoy was also present on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, GIIS Chairman Atul Temurnikar said: “The most undefiable message of Mahatma Gandhi is of non-violence and the message has remained timeless and forever relevant. In today’s world, one of the most important values we can teach our future generation is to harmoniously coexist with each other and cherish diversity.”

Global Indian International School has a Mahatma Gandhi Centre for Universal Values in its premises and a distinct peace curriculum under which students are taught values like kindness, community service and universal brotherhood.

High Commissioner Jawed Ashraf handed out prizes to GIIS students who won the poster-making and art competition themed around Mahatma Gandhi.

The Gandhi Memorial Hall here also observed the Mahatma’s 150th birthday while the High Commission held a solemn ceremony at the Gandhi Marker in Singapore’s Clifford Pier.

The year-long observance of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary has witnessed commemorations not just in Singapore and India, but also in nearly 70 other countries worldwide.

Some countries issued stamps while leaders read out messages in his commemoration. Exhibitions, competitions and essay-writing contests were held in remembrance of the great soul.


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