Vipul, flanked by Makvana
Vipul, flanked by Makvana (left) and Bhupinder Kumar of Indian People’s Forum at the press conference. Image Credit: Mazhar Farooqui/Gulf News

Dubai The Indian Consulate in Dubai has pulled out all the stops to make the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi truly special in the UAE. Ahead of October 2, Vipul, Consul General of India, announced a raft of activities to commemorate the legacy of Gandhi, regarded as a global champion of non-violence and peace.

The highlight of the celebrations will be a four kilometre ‘Walk for Peace and Tolerance’ which will kick off at Dubai’s Zabeel Park at 6am on October 2. Winners stand to win attractive prizes, including a return flight ticket from India’s national carrier Air India. People from all nationalities are welcome to take part in the event.

“Gandhi’s message of truth, peace and non-violence resonates the world over but it has a special significance in the UAE which is celebrating the Year of Tolerance and is home to three million Indians,” said Vipul, adding that the aim of the walk was to propagate the message of Gandhi and Shaikh Zayed on tolerance and co-existence.

The walk will be followed by Vaishno bhajan and meditation session outside Gate 4 of Zabeel Park and an interschool painting and debate competition at the consulate.

Vipul said they have tied up with local associations, schools and government entities, including Dubai Sports Council and Dubai Municipality to hold various commemorative programmes in Dubai and the northern Emirates.

“Prime minister Narendra Modi is paying particular attention to Swach Bharat Mission (nationwide cleanliness campaign) , renewable energy and elimination of single-use plastic. So our celebrations are also focused on these three areas. We are cleaning up our workplaces, restricting the use of plastic bottles in our offices and teaching children to assemble solar study lamps,” said Vipul.

At Sharjah Indian School, over 1,000 students will assemble these lamps from 8 am onwards. On October 5, the Indian Consulate in association with Indian Association Ajman will hold a cycle rally from 8 am.

Nimesh Maknava, president, executive committee, Indian Business and Professional Council said they have planned an special event in memory of Gandhi on October 5 where the Abdulla Al Saleh, Under Secretary of the Foreign Trade and Industry at the UAE Ministry of Economy will be the guest of honour. The event will be followed by a cultural programme .

Another highlight of the celebration will an exhibition of 100 rare photographs of Gandhi which have been loaned by the National Museum of Gandhi in Delhi and will be displayed at the Indian Consulate from October 2.

Vipul said the Gandhi’s birth anniversary celebrations will continue beyond October.

In the coming months there will be several interschool competitions in various categories such as quiz and skits. “We are looking forward to participation from not just Indians but people of different nationalities,” said Vipul

Events on October

■ Dubai Walk for Peace and Tolerance at Zabeel Park from 6 am on October 2. Registration starts at 5.30 am

■ Bhajan and meditation session outside Zabeel Park Gate 4

■ Painting and debate competition for school children at Indian Consulate in Dubai and photo exhibition of Gandhi from 9.30 am

■ Cycle rally in Ajman from Indian Association’s new complex from 8 am