By Ahmad Adil
NEW DELHI (AA) – India on Sunday celebrated the 153rd birth anniversary of India's freedom icon Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi – popularly known as Mahatma Gandhi.
Gandhi, as he is known by his followers with reverence, preached the philosophy of non-violence and is known as an icon of the peace who remained a moral compass for India’s politics.
Born on Oct. 2, 1869, in the Indian state of Gujarat, Gandhi was at the forefront of India's freedom struggle against British rule.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other Indian leaders paid tributes to Gandhi.
Modi visited Raj Ghat, the memorial for Mahatma Gandhi, in the national capital New Delhi to pay tribute to the great leader.
“His ideals reverberate globally and his thoughts have provided strength to millions of people," Modi said.
Across India and abroad, many events were held to celebrate the birth anniversary of Gandhi.
Rahul Gandhi, a senior leader of the country's main opposition Indian National Congress party, said: "Bapu (Gandhi is fondly remembered as Bapu, meaning father) taught us to walk on the path of truth and non-violence. (He) explained the meaning of love, compassion, harmony, and humanity."
On Saturday, Indian President Droupadi Murmu said: "Gandhiji showed to all humanity its true potential, and proved the power of compassion.
"Let us again take the pledge to walk on his path, the path of truth and non-violence, to promote mutual goodwill and to work towards the progress of the nation and the world."
Gandhi's birth anniversary is globally observed as the International Day of Non-Violence. In 2007, the UN declared Oct. 2 as the International Day of Non-Violence.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres tweeted on Sunday: "On the International Day of Non-Violence, we celebrate Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday & values of peace, respect & the essential dignity shared by everyone. We can defeat today's challenges by embracing these values & working across cultures & borders to build a better future."
Gandhi was killed on Jan. 30, 1948, at a prayer meeting in the compound of Birla House (now Gandhi Smriti), a large mansion in the national capital New Delhi, by a gunman who was identified as Nathuram Godse. He was later executed for the murder.