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Indian kids visit Gandhi memorial in S Africa

PTI
Published : Feb 12, 2016, 4:09 pm IST
Updated : Feb 12, 2016, 4:09 pm IST

The students met his granddaughter Ela Gandhi, who continues to run community projects at the settlement.

(Photo: PTI)
 (Photo: PTI)

The students met his granddaughter Ela Gandhi, who continues to run community projects at the settlement.

Johannesburg:

A group of school children from India who spent a few days in South Africa retracing the steps of Mahatma Gandhi during his stay in the country say they have been "transformed" by the visit.

At a function hosted by the Indian Consul-General Randhir Jaiswal, one of the students, Chris Lukose promised to uphold the values of Gandhi upon his return, saying that the tour has brought a transformation within him.

"I have been transformed by this Yatra. There will be many changes in me. I am promising you all that I will uphold all the values that Mahatma Gandhi taught us," Chris said.

The students who are all in the age group of 14-17 years earned their place on the 30-person tour led by academics, politicians and media houses from Kerala through a state-wide test about the life of Mahatma Gandhi.

The group visited renowned Gandhi memorial sites in four cities of South Africa, including the commune that he had started at Phoenix near Durban. They also met his granddaughter Ela Gandhi, who continues to run community projects at the settlement.

Yesterday, they also met Gandhi's great-granddaughter Kirti Menon, who expressed her delight at the youth taking great interest in Gandhian ideals, especially since she has been attempting the same with South African youth.

Swathi Suman, another student on the tour said that even though social situation has changed today, Gandhian values still remain important.

"When Gandhiji led India to freedom, the social situation was very different. I have learnt through this interaction that even though the social situation has changed today, the values of Gandhiji are still important. We need to take it out of the context of that time and apply it in today's society," Swathi said.

This tour was designed to start with Gandhi's birthday on October 2 last year, also the centenary year of his return to India after living for more than two decades in South Africa.

The first leg of their journey involved visiting key sites of Gandhian history in India before traveling to South Africa and will culminate in Delhi in the next few days.

"The project aims to highlight the relevance of dialogue, reconciliation and forgiveness for sustainable peace and development, as espoused by Gandhiji and followed through by other internationally renowned leaders such as Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela," Prof N Radhakrishnan, Chief Coordinator of the Gandhi Peace Mission and Chairman of the Indian Council for Gandhian Studies said.

Location: South Africa, Gauteng, Johannesburg