Celebration of Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, 2nd October, established by the United Nations as the International Day of Non-Violence, was organized by the Hellenic-Indian Society for Culture and Development (ELINEPA) and the Embassy of India in Greece and held in the Cultural Centre of Municipality of Athens.
The event drew attention of many friends of Gandhi. For the first time many Indians who live and work in Athens attended the celebration. The celebration started with Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite songs, sung in Hindi by a distinguished musician Kostas Kalaitzis, that evoked the audience’s deep emotions.
H.E. the Ambassador of India Mr. Dilip Sinha talked in his speech about the ever-lasting values of Mahatma Gandhi, especially in the issues concerning ecology and his firm concentration on non-violence. The values of Gandhi remain especially important in our times when we face serious ecological problems as well as social, like terrorism, social inequality and injustice, the Ambassador emphasized.
The next speaker was emeritus professor of Aegean University Nikolas Vernikos who highlighted Gandhi’s ability to unite and inspire all Indians against the British colonial yoke. Today’s Europe needs such inspirer, who will be able to unite it and smooth out the differences which separate its member-states, he stressed.
The last speaker was President of ELINEPA and Indologist Dr. Dimitris Vassiliadis who analyzed the formation of the universal character of Mahatma Gandhi, pointing out how ideological trends of India and other major world personalities influenced him. Gandhi in his turn, influenced the whole world and especially the movement of the civil rights in America . The President of ELINEPA announced as well that with the support of the Indian Embassy and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations the ELINEPA had started preparation of a book entitled “The Values of Mahatma Gandhi through his Writings” which aspires to present the selected texts of Gandhi translated into Greek for the first time.
Thereafter a documentary “Mahatma Gandhi – the Great Personality of the 20thCentury” with original scenes and films from his life was shown. The documentary was provided by the Indian Embassy in Athens . Reception followed at the hall of the Cultural Centre.