The Hind Swaraj Yatra, a peace march that began in Kerala on May 8, arrived here amidst good reception by peace-loving leaders and members at the Atheist Centre. The yatra is on its way to Pune, Delhi and Kolkata before it concludes at Imphal on May 27.

A 13-member team led by social activist Civic Ramachandran and Gandhian Suresh George started the march to mark the centenary of publication of Mahatma Gandhi's seminal work “Hind Swaraj” that advocated Indian Home Rule in 1909.

Speaking on the occasion, they dwelt at length on the objectives of their mission and the Gandhian values that inspired them to sensitise the present generation.

G. Vijayam, the organiser of Atheist Centre, presided over a meeting held to mark the arrival of the yatra team. He said Gandhi had stood for core values of non-violence and eradication of poverty as a way to better life on earth. Citing the significance of the yatra, he said there should be no place for violence in modern societies and Gandhi firmly believed in the message that violence was no instrument to bring about change in society.

Mr. Vijayam elaborately touched upon the concepts of Gandhian non-violence, saying it was the weapon that the Mahatma used when he worked as a minority person leading minority communities against a majority section in South Africa. The same weapon of non-violence was also used when Gandhi came back to India to lead the majority in the freedom struggle against the “minority” British.

Enthralling skit

The members of the Hind Swaraj Yatra presented a skit titled “Torch-bearing woman” on the importance of self-rule and peace against exploitation and violence. Though performed in Malayalam, the powerful facial expressions by the artiste left the audience feeling the intensity of emotions. As explained by the leaders, the peace march also had as its objective the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in the North-Eastern States, which gave unlimited powers to the armed forces to “arrest”, “detain” and even “kill” anybody on the strength of mere suspicion.

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