Rain did not deter the primary and high schools students of schools in Mangalore from participating in the procession taken out from Ambedkar Circle to Town Hall in Mangalore on Friday to mark the Gandhi Jayanti. Incessant rainfall forced children to participate in the procession holding umbrellas.
Tall and lean Sabrina of the Government Primary School could not be missed in the crowd on Friday morning. Dressed as Mahatma Gandhi, she held a long aluminium pipe as her walking stick and marched even as it rained. She tried her best to protect her face from getting wet lest the white moustache, apparently drawn with a chalk piece, got wiped out. However, she managed to retain it intact till the procession culminated at Gandhi Park in front of the Town Hall.
Many students took part in the procession dressed as freedom fighters. One of the girls was dressed like Kasturba. Even as they walked through the main streets of Mangalore city, the children shouted slogans such as “Mahatma ki jai” and “bolo bharath maatha ki jai”.
When the “prabhat pheri” – as the organisers called it – reached the destination, it started raining heavily. Apparently, this led the organisers of the programme, the Bharat Seva Dal, to hurry through the proceedings.
Deputy Commissioner V. Ponnuraj and Gandhian U.B. Ramarao of Mulky and Dakshina Kannada Sahitya Parishat president Pradeep Kumar Kalkura and others garlanded Mahatma Gandhiji’s statue. A few students also got the opportunity to garland the statue of the Mahatma. One small girl had tough time as her hands would not reach the top of the statue. When her repeated attempts failed, Mr. Kalkura rushed to her help and lifted her up even as people watching this applauded spontaneously.
Although the public address system was arranged, no speech was delivered on the occasion. Even in the Town Hall where the students assembled after the procession, no speech was delivered. Bhajans, including the popular tune, “Raghupathi Raghava …” were rendered. Besides, 86-year-old U.B. Ramarao of Mulky was felicitated in recognition of his participation in the freedom struggle. The felicitation programme also lasted only a few minutes.