A gathering of school and college students, parents, and teachers welcomed the opportunity to celebrate Gandhi Jayanthi on Friday by paying floral tributes to the Father of the Nation at a spot in the city from where Mahatma Gandhi had delivered a talk.

They were overcome by reverence at the function held beneath a giant Peepul tree in the Shrimathi Indira Gandhi College (SIGC) for women. Mahatma Gandhi had addressed students and teachers of the prestigious National College which functioned there then. The Peepul tree came to be known as ‘Gandhi Tree’ after that.

Against the backdrop of the chorus of ‘Ragupathi Raghava Rajaram’, the District Revenue Officer, V. Dhakshinamoorthy led educationists, government officials, parents and students in paying floral tributes to the portrait of Gandhiji. Mr. Dhakshinamoorthy administered a pledge calling for wholehearted commitment of the citizens for the overall development of the country through fostering communal harmony.

Addressing the gathering, Mr. Dhakshinamoorthy recalled the humiliations faced by Gandhiji in South Africa and India. Despite the tribulations, Gandhiji’s single point agenda was winning the freedom for the country through non-violence, he said.

The Principal of the SIGC, K. Meena spoke of the role played by Gandhiji in eliminating the rural-urban divide. He had the foresight that such a divide will leave behind an adverse impact on the Nation’s overall development, and firmly believed in educational uplift of the masses as the ultimate solution. It is for the citizens to fulfil Mahatma’s dreams, said Dr. Meena.

M. Joseph Irudaya Raj, Professor, St. Joseph’s College, said youngsters must follow the ideals of Gandhiji in letter and spirit, setting a goal and marching towards its accomplishment with single minded devotion.

S. Kunjithapatham, Secretary, SIGC, A. Ilangovan from the Department of Field Publicity and others spoke.

The function was organised jointly by the Rajiv Gandhi Trust, NSS unit of the SIGC and Nehru Yuva Kendra.