By Iqra Ahmed
Darjeeling: Salesian College Sonada in the Darjeeling hills celebrated Gandhi’s birthday on October 2 by holding a variety of activities in the campus.
“Normally people declare a holiday and stay home, but we want to do something different for this generation of students marking 149th year of birth of the father of the nation,” said principal Salesian Father George Thadathil addressing students in the packed college auditorium.
Established in 1938, the college is marking its 80th year existence in Gorbari village on National Highway 55.
Campus Coordinator Terence Mukhia noted that they had 95 percent of student attendance on the day.
The events started with Political Science department organizing hour long Gandhi Jayanti celebrations. They offered khadas (ceremonial scarf) to Gandhi portrait. It was followed by speeches by faculty and students as well as a short film presenting a sing-along Gandhi anthem.
Vice-principal Father C M Paul narrated two incidents in Gandhi’s life. In the first, he recalled how Gandhi celebrated the first Independence Day on August 15, 1947, with prayer and fasting in riot-torn Calcutta while national leaders celebrated in the national capital of Delhi. The second was the Sermon on the Mount by Lord Jesus (Mathew 5: 3-11) that inspired Gandhi’s satyagraha (non-violent) movement while studying Law in London.
Students Cheki Sherpa gave a brief biography of Gandhi while Passi Sherpa narrated Gandhi’s contribution to India’s freedom movement. Rinchen Bhutia spoke on the relevance of Gandhi’s teaching and example for today’s generation.
Father Thadathil concluded the celebrations highlighting the relevance of Gandhi’s non-violent movement which inspired of people’s movements in South Africa (Nelson Mandela), USA (Martin Luther King) and Poland (Lech Walesa). He also challenged both students and faculty to critically study the relevance of Gandhi in today’s social and political scenario.
Computer Science Department Head Bryan Kerr presented a Gandhi anthem entitled “The Difference,” a sing-along song produced by Tejprasarani Don Bosco Communications Mumbai to mark upcoming 150th year of Gandhi Jayanti in 2019.