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Hundreds of Indian expatriates participated in the 4k run a 2k walk for peace and tolerance in Dubai on Wednesday to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Image Credit: Suchitra Bajpai Chaudhary

Enthusiasm and energy marked the gathering of over 800 Indian expatriates who participated in the Peace and Tolerance walk early on Monday.

The event was organised by the Indian consulate to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi from 6-7 am on October 2.

The event included a 4-km run and a 2-km walk around Zabeel Park and was punctuated with patriotic slogans and favourite devotional songs of Mahatma Gandhi.

Video by: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

The event was led by Vipul, Indian Consul General. Speaking to Gulf News he said: "I am very happy to see enthusiasm of the community. We have people from all age groups and the event has representation from students, businessmen, chartered accountants, women, senior citizens, participating in the event.

"It is truly heartening. It shows that people uphold the values of non-violence, tolerance and peaceful coexistence that Mahatma Gandhi symbolised. These are the ideals that the leaders of both UAE and India believe in too."

Message of peace, non-violence

The walk included a large contingent of students from different Indian curriculum schools such as Amity, New Indian Model School and Amled School, participated in the walk.

Seven-year-old Siddharth Iyer from grade 2 of Indian High School who was dressed up as Gandhi was thrilled to participate in the walk.

He said: "Mahatma Gandhi is known as the Father of the Nation and I like him because he spread the message of peace and non-violence."

Six-year old Janice Mary Justin from grade 1, Amled school walked with her friend's and was happy her parents were also part of the event .

Uday Kumar, 61 who is a half marathon runner, came from Deira for the run, won a cash prize of Dh 500 in the senior citizen category.

"I wasn't expecting an award but am happy to have run with the community to mark such a special occasion.," said Kumar.

The event included prominent businessmen, chartered accountants , students and people from different professions drawn from the Indian diaspora in Dubai.

Several volunteers distributed water to the participants and later four prizes were announced that included air tickets to India and cash prize of Dh 500.

Two student runners from Amity School won the air tickets, while a senior citizen, a woman and another child in the regular categories won the cash prizes.

The prizes will be given away to participants at a ceremony organised to celebrate Gandhi's birth anniversary at the consulate auditorium in Dubai in the evening.

Community event

People expressed their joy of participating in the community event.

Jagdish Jani

Jagdish Jani: "I have been in Dubai for 30 years and like occasionally walking around the park. I am happy to walk for a good cause. Gandhi symbolised tolerance and peace."

Justin Joseph and Jilma George: "We have been in Dubai for 9 years and are physical fitness enthusiasts and often participate in walks and runs. Today, our daughter Janice was participating in this event from her school and we thought it was a good occasion to help her know more about India and the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi."

Melvyn D'souza: "I have been in Dubai for 14 years and am a regular morning walker at Zabeel Park. Walking to celebrate the birth anniversary of Gandhi is the best way to honour his memory."

Shashi Shetty

Shashi Shetty: "I have been in the UAE for 20 years and regularly do a 10 km run around Zabeel for five days a week. This I felt was the best tribute to Gandhi who stood for peace and non violence."

Anita Sachan

Anita Sachan: "I came from Barsha as it is a matter of pride that we are observing the birth anniversary of Gandhi who is not just the Father of the Nation but international icon for peace and tolerance. His ideals are more than relevant in our modern world."