New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh along with United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, among others, paid floral tributes in the Central Hall of Parliament on the birth anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri.
The nation on Tuesday observed the 143rd birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and 108th birth anniversary of Shastri.
Among the other leaders present were Leader of the House in Lok Sabha and union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj; BJP Parliamentary Party chairman L.K. Advani, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla besides several members of parliament and former MPs.
The family members of Lal Bahadur Shastri also joined the dignitaries in paying tributes to the leaders.The Secretary-Generals of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, T.K. Viswanathan, and Shumsher K. Sheriff, respectively, also paid floral tributes to the two leaders.The portrait of Mahatma Gandhi was unveiled in the Central Hall Aug 28, 1947 by the President of the Constituent Assembly of India Rajendra Prasad, while the portrait of Lal Bahadur Shastri was unveiled on October 2, 1993 by the then President Shanker Dayal Sharma.
At Raj Ghat, tributes from all walks of life
President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and senior BJP leader L K Advani were among the prominent people who visited Gandhi's memorial at Rajghat to offer floral tributes.
Other dignitaries who visited Rajghat included Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, Defence Minister A K Antony and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.
An all-religion prayer was conducted during the remembrance ceremony. The favourite hymns of Gandhi were also played at the function.
From young professionals to college students, from families to foreign tourists, hundreds paid tribute to ‘Bapu’on his 143rd birth anniversary at his memorial Raj Ghat in the national capital.
"Anna Hazare proved that a 'satyagraha' on the lines of Gandhiji still works. He (Hazare) brought the government on its knees.
So, Gandhiji is still relevant," said Krishan Kumar, a 44-year-old shop owner from Daryaganj in Delhi, who was at Raj Ghat with his family."We need a nationwide revolution against corruption - a revolution based on Gandhian principles."Agreed Dave Lyneta, a 38-year-old Canadian.
"I've read Gandhi's biography twice. If only more people around the world followed his principles, there would be no 9/11 or Iraq or Afghanistan wars," he said.
Lyneta, who is on a 10-day visit to India with his wife, chose to be in Delhi October 2 to visit Raj Ghat.
Gandhi's birth anniversary is also marked as the International Day of Non-Violence. Gandhi, born this day in Porbandar in Gujarat in 1869, was assassinated in New Delhi January 30, 1948.
For 22-year-old Khizar Hayat, studying social work at Jamia Millia Islamia here, an introduction to Gandhi through his Class 9 textbook was the beginning of his journey towards knowledge and enlightenment.
"My devotion towards him grew over the years. I'm trying to imbibe his teachings in the way I live my life or treat others. I used to be violent till a couple of years ago. But I have learnt to control my emotions and more importantly, channelise my aggression in a positive way," Hayat said.
While majority of people said Gandhi continued to be their source of inspiration, some aged below 30 admitted that not every Gandhian principle was relevant on Tuesday.
"If someone hits me, I'll never offer my other cheek because I know in majority of the cases, the culprit will not be punished because our system is corrupt," said Ankur Kaushik, a 28-year-old exporter from north Delhi.