Indian diplomats in South Africa participated in a cycle rally along with cyclists as part of an effort to promote awareness of Mahatma Gandhi's ideals of non-violence and satyagraha to celebrate his 150th birth anniversary.
Conceived by Indian Consul-General in Johannesburg Dr KJ Srinivasa, the event was co-hosted by the Gandhi Walk Committee, which annually hosts the walk. Several cyclists joined the Indian diplomats on Sunday at the inaugural Block Ride in the sprawling Indian township of Lenasia, south of the city, to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi this year.
"The aim was to promote greater awareness of Gandhiji's ideals of truth, non-violence and Satyagraha," said Mr Srinivasa, as he prepared to leave for his new posting as Ambassador to Guyana the same evening. "As we always say, India sent South Africa a lawyer and we sent back a Mahatma, so this is his karmbhooomi."
"There was no question of partnering with anyone else but the Gandhi Walk Committee for this project as we have been with them for the past few years for the massive Gandhi Walk that has been coordinated so well by them for the past 34 years," Mr Srinivasa added.
The event also served as a welcome for new Indian High Commissioner Jaydeep Sarkar, who assumed his position in Pretoria last month.
"Along with all those ideals that Gandhiji strove for in our freedom struggles in both our countries, like civil disobedience and satyagraha, the relevance of today's function is that he also emphasised a lot on personal habits and individual and community actions," Mr Sarkar said.
"Today's cycling event is an attempt in that direction - to propagate the idea of individual action to not only keep yourself healthy, but also to make a modest contribution to the environment. The other thing is the importance of the feeling of community that Gandhiji emphasised."
"I am delighted to see people from all walks of life and of all ages participating so enthusiastically and look forward to it growing in future," Mr Sarkar added.
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