The Tamil Nadu Gandhi Smarak Nidhi on Thursday commenced 10-day Gandhi Jayanthi celebrations here. The celebrations would be conducted till October 10.

Addressing the function, Ramji Singh, former Vice-Chancellor of Jain Viswabharati University and a former Member of Parliament, said that Tamil Nadu had witnessed many important events in the life of Mahatma Gandhi.

He recalled that the Father of the Nation foreswore Western attire in Madurai on September 22, 1921 after seeing the plight of farmers and decided to wear only a loin cloth. This was among the many interesting events that had happened to Gandhi in Tamil Nadu.

Dr. Ramji Singh said that Mahatma Gandhi had told his followers not to celebrate his birthday in his name and instead observe the day as the ‘day of the charkha or the spinning wheel.' The spinning wheel also represented the spirit of the country. He said that righteousness should be the basis of social life as should be economics. This was the reason why Gandhi took to charkha as it represented economics also.

“In India, we are marching towards becoming a superpower and we are spending, according to a BBC news report, a total of Rs. 70,000 crore on the Commonwealth Games. This at a time when many farmers are committing suicide,” he said.

The Dr. Maharishi K. Arunachalam Memorial Award 2009 was presented to M.P. Guruswamy, Gandhi Ilakkiya Nidhi, on the occasion. Earlier, K.M. Natarajan, president of Tamil Nadu Gandhi Smarak Nidhi, and M. Mariappan, president, Sarvodaya Ilakkiya Pannai, spoke.