October 2, 2019 / 6:03 PM / 19 days ago

India celebrates 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays homage at the Mahatma Gandhi memorial on the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhi at Rajghat in New Delhi, India, October 2, 2019. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to the “father of the nation” Mahatma Gandhi on the 150th anniversary of his birth at his memorial in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Alongside political figures, school children, and the public also assembled at the memorial to pay their respects.

India observes Oct. 2 not only as Gandhi’s birthday but also as International Day of Non-Violence, the ideal that Gandhi fought for throughout his life.

Gandhi, who was born in 1869, played a key role in India’s fight for independence. He was assassinated by a Hindu radical on Jan. 30, 1948, just a few months after he led India to freedom from British rule through a non-violent struggle.

India celebrated the anniversary by organizing cleanliness drives, film screenings and making a giant spinning wheel made out of plastic waste.

“The whole world is celebrating the birth anniversary of Gandhi,” Modi said.

Modi has often evoked Gandhi in his speeches, saying his ideas and philosophies are as relevant today as they were during his lifetime.

On the outskirts of the capital New Delhi, government officials erected a 1,650 kg spinning wheel, an important symbol associated with Gandhi, made entirely out of plastic waste. Gandhi used a spinning wheel to spin his own cloth in a gesture of independence and Indian self sufficiency.

Officials told local media that the wheel was symbolic of the Modi regime’s commitment to move away from the use of single-use plastic.

Reporting by Shilpa Jamkhandikar; Editing by Alexandra Hudson

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