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Mahatma Gandhi remains big draw - 62 years after death


Saturday, January 30, 2010 02:54:39 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: More than six decades have passed since Mahatma Gandhi was killed, but his philosophy and thoughts continue to attract people from across the world.

Thousands visit his memorial at Rajghat here every day. So it was on Saturday, his death anniversary and many were disappointed when securitymen closed down the complex to secure the place for dignitaries who would come to pay tribute.


“Gandhiji was a great person and he is respected worldwide. We specially came here so that our son Anish, who is preparing a project on him, can see Rajghat himself,” Meena Sundaram, a physician based in Boston, told IANS.


“Anish likes reading books and has read books about Gandhiji too. As we don’t live in India, we keep talking to our son about our culture and great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi,” she added.


Anish agreed that the visit had helped him.


According to officials at Rajghat, every day nearly 10,000 people visit Rajghat and on weekends the number sometimes reaches 20,000.


Another NRI visitor was Australia-based Banu Raskutti who came with her husband and son Sudhir.


“Rajghat is my favourite place in Delhi. Whenever we come, I make it a point to visit Rajghat as I feel very calm and peaceful here,” said Raskutti, a mathematician.


“Gandhiji is respected a lot in Australian schools and we also make it a point to tell our children about our great leaders and personalities like him,” she added.


Appelt Siegbert, a German teacher in a group of 28 visiting India, said India’s history has always interested him.


“I have studied about Gandhi’s thoughts and views. Even though it was a guided tour, I wanted to come here,” Siegbert added.


Mahesh Soni, a Delhiite who came with his wife, said: “Everyone goes to malls, markets or parks, but one should take out time for great leaders like Gandhiji. He did so much for the country. People should come here to pay respect to him. I feel great whenever I come here.”


Subhash Chandra Dubey does not stay in Delhi, but he comes to Rajghat every month.


“I come here every month, at least once or sometimes twice also, to pay my tributes. His thoughts, views and nature were unmatchable. No one can do what Gandhiji did for the country,” said 33-year-old Dubey, a resident of Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh.


However, there were some for whom a visit to Rajghat was purely for sightseeing.


“I just came for sightseeing and there was no other reason attached,” said Ramchander, a resident of Delhi.


However, as Rajghat was closed down Thursday afternoon for programmes scheduled to take place on Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary Jan 30, a lot of visitors had to return disappointed.


One such person was Parminder Singh, who had come from Shimla with his family to visit the place.


“Gandhiji secured independence for the country and that is the main reason that I came here. However, I am very disappointed that we will not be able to visit as we are returning today,” he said.


Manish Patel, who came from Vadodara with his family, also left disappointed as the complex was closed.


Rajghat will now reopen to the public at noon Saturday.







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