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Gandhi Jayanti: Hill students learn relevance of non-violence
By Iqra Ahmed
Kolkata, Oct. 3.  Sonada, Darjeeling -  A college in the Darjeeling hills celebrated national holiday marking Gandhi's birthday in a rare way by coming to the campus and holding a variety of activities on Gandhi, 2nd October 2018.
Established in 1938, Salesian College Sonada in Darjeeling is marking its 80th year existence in Gorbari village on National Highway 55.
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''Normally people declare a holiday and stay home, but we want to do something different for this generation of students marking 149th year of birth of the father of the nation,'' said Principal Dr George Thadathil addressing students in the packed college auditorium.

''Today we have 95 percent of student attendance,'' said Campus Coordinator Dr Terence Mukhia.

The events for the day started with Political Science department organising hour long Gandhi Jayanti celebrations which started at 10 am with offering khadas (ceremonial scarf) to Gandhi portrait. It was followed by speeches by faculty and students as well as a short film presenting a sing-along Gandhi anthem.

Vice-principal Father C.M. Paul presented two remarkable incidents in the life of Gandhi: in the first one he recalled how Gandhi celebrated the first Independence Day on 15 August 1947 with prayer and fasting in riot torn Calcutta while National leaders celebrated in national capital Delhi. The second incident was of what inspired Gandhi's satyagraha (non-violent) movement while studying Law in London - the Sermon on the Mount by Lord Jesus (Mathew 5: 3-11).

Students Miss Cheki Sherpa gave a brief biography of Gandhi while Miss Passi Sherpa narrated Gandhi's contribution to India's freedom movement. Mr Rinchen Bhutia spoke on the relevance of Gandhi's teaching and example for today's generation.

Principal Dr Thadathil concluded the celebrations highlighting the relevance of Gandhi's non-violent movement which inspired of people's movements in South Africa (Nelson Mandela), USA (Martin Luther King) and Poland (Lech Walesa). He also challenged academicians (both students and faculty) to critically study the relevance of Gandhi in today's social and political scenario.

Computer Science Department Head Mr Bryan Kerr presented a Gandhi anthem entitled THE DIFFERENCE, a sing-along song produced by Tejprasarani Don Bosco Communications Mumbai to mark upcoming 150th year of Gandhi Jayanti next year.

Other day-long events to mark the occasion were: Notice Board preparations on Gandhi by all 12 departments, screening of 1982 film GANDHI by Richard Attenborough organised by Mass Communication department in two different halls, and inter-departmental Table Tennis and Badminton Tournament both for boys and girls organised by Sports Club. END

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