Over 800 people of different ages, nationalities and walks of life participated in a ‘Gandhi March’ held in The Hague, the seat of Government of the Netherlands on October 1, Sunday as part of a ‘Follow the Mahatma’ campaign organised to mark the International Day of Non-Violence. The day’s proceedings began with the Netherlands Marathi Mandal entertaining participants with traditional dhol and dances inside the compound of the iconic Peace Palace, home to the International Court of Justice and the Permanent Court of Arbitration. Ambassador of India to the Netherlands, Venu Rajamony along with Deputy Mayors of The Hague, Rabin Baldew Singh and Karsten Klein made brief speeches flagging off the march. A spark taken from the eternal ‘World Peace flame’ that burns outside the Peace Palace, (created using a flame from the Mahatma Gandhi memorial at Raj Ghat in Delhi) was handed over to Ambassador Venu Rajamony and the Deputy Mayors who led the march along with many Ambassadors and leaders of the Indian community. The colourful march guided by motorcycle outriders in front and with mounted police on horseback at the end, wound through the streets of the city for about an hour before concluding at the historic Grote Kerk or Big Church of The Hague.
On reaching the Grote Kerk, the marchers paid respects to a bicycle personally used by Mahatma Gandhi and sent to the Netherlands by the Gandhi Memorial Trust of India as a special gesture, in view of the popularity of cycling in the Netherlands. An excerpt of Philp Glass’s masterpiece opera titled ‘Satyagraha’ inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violent resistance was performed by artists from the Korzo Theatre and Kwekers in de Kunst. The excerpt which portrayed the conversation between Arjuna and Krishna in the Mahabharata, was performed in a new adaptation with modern Indian dance. A new book in Dutch titled “Gandhi -An illustrated biography” by Indian author Pramod Kapoor and published by Lannoo of Belgium was released during the event. The celebrations ended with a performance of Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite songs ‘Lead, kindly light’, and ‘Abide with me’ as well as the famous civil rights song ‘We shall overcome’ by a choir group from the American Protestant Church of The Hague.
October 15, 2017
2017, Ambassador of India to The Netherlands