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Politics dominates Satyagraha celebrations

Politics dominates Satyagraha celebrations

Author: Sunil Prabhu
Publication: NDTV.com
Date: January 29, 2007
URL: http://www.ndtv.com/morenews/showmorestory.asp?id=100147

Whose Mahatma is he? As far as the government is concerned, clearly a Congress one.

At a conference on Monday to mark 100 years of Mahatma Gandhi's satyagraha, international leaders attended but the Indian opposition was left out. The NDA was not invited for the function.

Ironically, the star at the conference seemed to be another Gandhi, heir apparent Rahul Gandhi.

The centre of attraction seemed to be another Gandhi, no relation to the Mahatma. Leaders from the neighbourhood as well as Britain, South Africa and other countries queued up to meet Rahul Gandhi.

"It is a learning experience," said Rahul Gandhi.

"It was nice meeting Rahul and for us to renew our friendship once again," said Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, President, Maldives.

While speeches and discussions continued it was clear, at least to some, this was as much about the present day Gandhis.

"She's already a big Indian leader, this is to show the world," said Lalu Yadav.

"Mrs Gandhi has shown to the world her commitment and a great occasion for her to lead and reaffirm to the world the spirit of satyagraha," said Mohd Yunus, Noble Peace Prize Winner.

'Watershed date'

While referring to the US terror strikes, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Monday told an international conference here that September 11 has become a "watershed date in our own times".

Ironically, it was also on the 11th day of September in 1906 in Johannesburg that a young lawyer, dissatisfied with the idea of a mere passive resistance, unveiled the concept of Satyagraha, she said.

The "strange coincidence" was also noted by Nelson Mandela in a video-recorded message to the meet.

The Gandhian message holds the key to the human survival in the 21st century, the Noble laureate and former South African President said.

Leaders from 83 countries are taking part in the conference, which is being held in Delhi on the relevance of Mahatma Gandhi's ideologies in the present world. (With PTI Inputs)

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