India remembers Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi's ashes scattered at sea on 60th anniversary of the revered leader's killing.

    An urn of Gandhi's ashes sent to museum last year was poured into the Arabian Sea [AFP]

    Gandhi, regarded as the pioneer of resistance to tyranny through peaceful mass civil disobedience, was killed in 1948 by a Hindu fanatic angered by his policy of goodwill towards Muslims.


    India's 'conscience'


    Ghandi's conduct and commitment to non-violence, which led India to independence from Britain, inspired civil rights movements around the world.


    The independence leader, a former lawyer trained in Britain, is still largely regarded as India's moral conscience.


    His ashes had been preserved by the parents of an Indian businessman since Gandhi was shot dead on January 30, 1948 at a prayer meeting in New Delhi.

    Last year, he sent them to Mumbai's Mani Bhavan museum, where Gandhi had lived while visiting the city and was the focal point of his political activities. The family objected to them being displayed and they were handed over for the ceremony.

    Memorial services

    After his cremation in 1948 the ashes, packed in a number of urns, were sent to towns and villages across India for memorial services.

    In 1997, an urn was found in a bank locker in Bhubhaneshwar and the ashes later scattered.

    "This is an emotional time for the family and I hope there are no more ashes found"

    Tushar Gandhi, Gandhi's

    "This is an emotional time for the family and I hope there are no more ashes found," Tushar Gandhi, Gandhi's great-grandson, said.

    Parikh is descended from Gandhi's eldest son, Harilal, who had a troubled history with his famous parent and was not at his funeral, breaking with Hindu tradition under which the eldest son lights the father's funeral pyre.

    Harilal, who died five months after his father, converted to Islam, reconverted to Hinduism and ended up an alcoholic.

    Historians say that he wanted to follow in his father's footsteps and study to be a barrister in London but his father refused to allow it.

    The Indian media quoted family members as saying that Parikh's participation in the ceremony was a gesture of reconciliation.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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