Johannesburg, Oct 3 (PTI) The South African government declared the Phoenix Settlement in Durban as a National Heritage Site on the 151st birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi even as several events were organised across the country to celebrate the occasion.
Indian High Commissioner Jaideep Sarkar on Friday welcomed the announcement regarding the Phoenix Settlement where Gandhi established a commune, started his experiments with Satyagraha, and printed his newspaper Indian Opinion.
“This confirm the strong links that bind India and South Africa, and it also gives us a roadmap here in Johannesburg to do the same for Tolstoy Farm,” Sarkar said as the keynote speaker at the commune south of the city where Gandhi established a similar facility while practising as a lawyer.
“Let us all work together to petition the South African government to get equal recognition for Tolstoy Farm as a National Heritage Site as well,' he said.
Sarkar said this would not only preserve the physical site, but also the legacies, ideas and values that Gandhi held dear for future generations.
“Phoenix Settlement and Tolstoy Farm are the places where he transformed as a political, physical and spiritual being. The political ideas of non-violence and passive resistance mass mobilisation were ideas that were relevant in the 20th century. But unfortunately human history has shown us that oppression, and injustice are never far away from societies,” he said.
Sarkar joined the Mahatma Gandhi Remembrance Organisation (MGRO) in officially launching public ablution facilities at Tolstoy Farm.
Some other events, coordinated on the day by Indian Consul General in Johannesburg Anju Ranjan, included a food festival featuring some favourite dishes of Gandhi, the last of a series of virtual lectures on Gandhi and the lighting up the towers at Constitution Hill in the colours of the Indian flag. PTI FH AD