As the country celebrated the beginning of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Bengaluru too organised a number of events, including planting of saplings, taking pledges to take positive steps to protect environment, organising clean-up drives, conducting awareness campaigns and holding special talks on various contributions made by the “Father of the Nation”.
The highlight was the maiden Plog Run, where over 7,000 citizens in 50 locations picked up plastic waste thrown in public places. The event, hosted by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), was supported by various citizen groups to educate citizens on disposing of plastic waste responsibly.
The organisers said that the marathon aimed to encourage people to realise that there is no harm in picking up trash. “The idea ‘Detox Your Locality’ will then be consolidated into ‘Detox Bengaluru.’ Plogging also becomes a workout for the body as it requires one to bend down or squat to pick up waste as one is running,” said Ramakrishna Ganesh, chief mentor of the Bengaluru Plog Run. BBMP Commissioner Manjunath Prasad, CEO of Namma Nimma Cycle Foundation Murali H.R. and prominent citizens took part.
Educational institutions held special drives under the banner of Swachh Bharat Campaign. At the Xavier Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship (XIME) in Electronics City, over a hundred students, faculty and members of the Social Empowerment, Education and Development Action Group (XSEED) of the college cleaned roads in and around the institute up to 2 km. Dr Rony George Kurien, Director, XIME, too joined the students. “Swachh Bharat begins at home and then in each and every corner of every city,” said a student.
The 15-day cleanliness drive by Global Indian International culminated on Gandhi Jayanti with various activities focusing on Gandhian principles organised by students and teachers. After garlanding a Gandhi’s statue on the campus, a storytelling session was held to encourage students to follow a noble and caring lifestyle. Similar activities were held in colleges and schools across the city with the participation of thousands of students.
City Police Commissioner T. Suneel Kumar along with senior police officials initiated a revamp of the Whitefield police station by putting up photographs and paintings of various initiatives taken by the police in the year. The officials interacted with volunteers from Whitefield Rising, who shared their woes, especially related to footpath parking and riding on the wrong side. They then painted a wall which will carry social messages. Renowned international mural artist Shilo Shiv Suleiman led the effort. Students of Indian Institute of Science (IISc) from different parts of the country celebrated ‘Unity in Diversity’ by wearing their traditional attire to stand on an Indian map adorned with flower pots in front of the main building. A poster competition, ‘Gandhi and Truth’, was also held.
Bangalore North Round Table 25 and Bangalore North Ladies Circle 14 donated surgical items for the treatment of 90 HIV-affected children at Snehadaan, where they are given education and vocational training.
Good Samaritans donated a solar heater to the Gandhi Old Age Home on Magadi Road. Some of the inmates were honoured, while others sang patriotic songs and bhajans. A talk on how Gandhi’s philosophy is relevant even in contemporary times for younger generations to take care of the elderly too was organised.
Global thinkers, policy makers, law enforcement officials, activists, lawmakers and scholars brainstormed solutions to modern day conflicts through Gandhian principles of non-violence at the World Summit on Countering Violence and Extremism in the city and in Mumbai. During a special masterclass held during the event, Founder of Art of Living Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said that it was necessary to help people see beyond their prejudice. “We all talk different languages and our cultures are different and so are our ways of worship. Spirituality is recognising universal values and diversity that exists in our creation,” he said. A violence-free society, inhibition-free intellect, trauma-free memory, and a sorrow-free soul is the birthright of every individual, he said.
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