Mumbai celebrates centenary of Gandhiji's 'ghar wapasi'

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Mumbai, Jan 9: Mumbai Friday celebrated the centenary of the homecoming of young barrister-at-law Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi from South Africa to the then Bombay port and upcoming commercial capital of India.

Later that young lawyer leaped into the Indian freedom struggle, joined the Indian National Congress and created history by ending the British rule through his philosophy of 'ahimsa' (non-violence), becoming one of the most influential personalities ever in world history.

Mumbai celebrates centenary of Gandhiji's 'ghar wapasi'

The Father of the Nation, as he was later revered by a grateful India, had stepped onto Indian soil Jan 9, 1915, at the instance of his political Guru, Gopal Krishna Gokhale.

"He was accorded a hero's welcome, and already known for his struggles in South Africa, honoured everywhere he went. He spent a year travelling across the country, mostly in third class compartments, getting a first-hand impression of the conditions in the country," said Bombay Sarvodaya Mandal Managing Trust T.R.K. Somaiya, which organized the centenary commemoration.

"I appreciate your words replete with love and goodwill as your blessings for me...," barrister Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi had said exactly one hundred years ago after his historic homecoming after spending 22 years in South Africa.

Gandhian institutions along with University of Mumbai organised a special programme to commemorate the Centenary of Gandhi's return to India.

A couple dressed as 'Gandhi' and his wife 'Kasturba' enacted the historical moment by alighting from a ferry boat and touched the Indian soil near Gateway of India.

There, they were ceremonially received by veteran freedom fighter G.G. Parikh, with Sunil Gokhale, the great-grandson of Gopal Krishna Gokhale and other dignitaries present.

As several thousands of students and people waited, the 'Gandhi couple' boarded a horse carriage and was taken in a procession with students cheering them, a band playing welcome tunes all the way to the University of Mumbai campus in south Mumbai.

After his return to India, Gandhiji founded the Satyagraha Ashram in May 1915 and got involed in the country's social and political activities.

The Champaran Satyagraha was his first major struggle during the British rule.

IANS

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