Nation commemorates Mahatma's 60th death anniversary

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New Delhi, Jan 30 (UNI) The nation today paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi on his 60th death anniversary, which was marked by a solemn ceremony in Mumbai where the last known urn containing the ashes of the Father of the Nation was immersed in the Arabian Sea.

In New Delhi, President Pratibha Patil, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, his Cabinet colleagues, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, and Leader of the Opposition L K Advani offered flowers at the 'samadhi' of Mahatma Gandhi at Raj Ghat. The three Services Chiefs also paid homage to the martyr.

'Bhajans', including his favourite devotional song 'Vaishnav Jan To', were sung on the occasion.

Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Smriti jointly organised a special all-religion commemorative prayer in his memory.

Renowned musicians Dr L Subramaniam and Kavita Krishnamurti rendered devotional songs.

The ash immersion ceremony in Mumbai was attended by Maharashtra Governor S M Krishna, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil. Tushar Gandhi, Ushaben Gokani and Neelamben Parikh - members of the Mahatma Gandhi family- were also present.

The urn containing the ashes was kept at Mani Bhavan in south Mumbai where Gandhiji use to stay upon his visit to the city.

''While the 'Visarjan' (immersion) of Gandhiji's ashes took place on February 12, 1948, 13 days after he was assassinated by Nathuram Ghodse, in rivers and seas across the country, in some cases the 'Asthi Kalash' (the urn containing the Mahatma's ashes) was not immersed and kept by his followers,'' Dhirubhai Mehta, head of the trust that maintains Mani Bhavan, said.

The urn was donated by Bharat Narayan, a resident of Gujarat and grandson of industrialist Jamanalal Bajaj, who wanted the ashes to be preserved properly.

However, the ashes were today immersed with the consent of his family members.

More than 1200 students from 42 colleges, who are National Service Scheme volunteers, along with Gandhian activists, marched for communal harmony from Azad Maidan to Hutatma Chowk in south Mumbai, to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi's death anniversary.

More UNI Team AKJ RAI1845

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