Inaugurating a three-day Gandhi Jayanti Mela at Pragati Maidan in Delhi on Thursday, the Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Vijay Kumar Malhotra, said it was time for society to assess whether the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi were being followed.

Underlining the need to reinforce the Mahatma’s teachings, the BJP leader said: “ His cherished values are under serious threat today due to contemporary influences.”

Najma Heptulla, MP and former Deputy Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, called for enlisting people’s cooperation and active resistance to violence through non-violent means.

Delhi Mayor Arti Mehra recalled what Gandhiji had said about municipal councillors: “The Mahatma had urged councillors not to misuse their position for personal ends.”

Referring to salient features of the mela, Ms. Mehra said an “Akhand Charkha Yajna” has been organised that will continue without a break during the three-day show.

Children participating in the yajna will spin khadi under the supervision of senior Gandhians.

She said the mela would include cultural and folk dance programmes by students and teachers of MCD primary schools, kavi sammelan, puppet and magic shows and screening of patriotic films.

More than 50 NGOs and Gandhian organisations and 20 departments of the Central and Delhi governments and the MCD have put up stalls to highlight the steps being taken by them to improve civic services.

The mela had an on-the-spot painting competition for starters. Over 5,000 students took part in the competition.

Smriti Kak Ramachandran