Mumbai: It is the 100th anniversary of the Mahatma’s return to India, a journey re-traced by Gandhian organisations in Mumbai. Gandhi arrived at Apollo Bundar on January 9, 1915, along with his wife Kasturba. The re-enactment, exactly a century later, traced his journey from the Gateway of India to the horse carriage ride they took to the Mumbai University, where he spoke for the first time after spending close to 22 years in South Africa.
“I have come back to serve my nation and this is where I will stay. I will work under the guidance of Gopal Krishna Gokhale”, said actor Nilesh Joshi, portraying Gandhi’s speech delivered in 1915.
Freedom fighter and Congress leader Gopal Krishna Gokhale’s grandson, Sunil Gokhale, who was also present to mark the occasion, said, “It’s a stirring moment for me. Something has repeated after 100 years in my family. Then, Gopal Krishna Gokhale had come from Pune to Mumbai to welcome Gandhi. Today, I have. Gandhi’s ideals can never become irrelevant.”
Gandhi may be the Father of the Nation, but his political relevance lingers. The Congress has accused the BJP of usurping their legacy after Prime Minister Narendra Modi repeatedly invoked the Mahatma. Mr Modi has reiterated that Gandhi is a national icon.
“Mahatma Gandhi is not just a national icon but he’s revered by the world. The UN has declared his birthday as the International Day of Non-Violence and therefore when we remember him, all parties should come together”, said eminent columnist Sudheendra Kulkarni, who was also present at the gathering.
Students of Mumbai University and freedom fighters walked from Radio Club to the Gateway of India, held placards remembering the Mahatma’s contribution to the Independence Movement, and walked to Mumbai University where ‘Gandhi’ delivered the same speech, as 1915.