New Delhi/Ahmedabad, Oct 2 : President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh led the nation in paying homage to Mahatma Gandhi on his 139th birth anniversary at his memorial 'Raj Ghat' here today.
Besides the President and the Prime Minister, a host of political and social leaders including Congress chief Sonia Gandhi offered tributes at the memorial.
An all religion prayer was organised on the occasion.
In Gujarat, followers of Mahatma Gandhi organised a prayer service in his remembrance at Sabarmati Asharam.
"Today when Gandhi is not here, there is violence all over the world. Therefore, we want to propagate the theory of non-violence taught to us by him. Sabarmati is the best place to teach the youth about what is non-violence," said Dhimant Bhadia, a Gandhi follower.
During his lifetime, Gandhi had dedicated the Sabarmati Ashram to the uplift of the downtrodden classes in Indian society.
Most of Gandhi's decision-making in the early years of the freedom movement was done in the peaceful confines of the Sabarmati Ashram.
Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869 at Porbandar in Gujarat.
His message of non-violence, uprightness and care for the leprosy patients is taught in every school.
Gandhi's decades-long non-violent movement had inspired leaders across the world including exiled Tibetan leader Dalai Lama, South Africa's Nelson Mandela and US civil rights leader Martin Luther King, who led movements against injustice and suppression in their respective countries.
Gandhi, whose "fast unto death" to persuade Hindus and Muslims to stop rioting has been the symbol of India's secularism. He was a strong advocate against the deep-rooted caste discrimination in Hindu society.
Ironically, Gandhi was shot dead by a Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse at a prayer meeting, on January 30, 1948, less than a year after India became independent.
The United Nations observes October 2 as "World Non-Violence Day".