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Saturday, October 3, 2009

UN releases stamp on Mahatma Gandhi

Marking the International Day of Non-Violence, the United Nations has released a stamp of Mahathma Gandhi on the occasion of his 140th birth anniversary.

United Nations Postal Administration, the world body's postal agency, released the one-dollar stamp designed by a world famous Miami-based artist Ferdie Pacheco, with the Father of the Nation in red, blue and gold. Also the envelopes marked with the stamp and the United Nations' seal were on sale.

Several UN envoys, present at a function organised by the Indian Mission to celebrate his 140the birth anniversary, reiterated the influence of Mahathma Gandhi's life.

"In many ways, Mahatma Gandhi previsioned the UN. Much of the work that we do in the area of human rights owes its genesis in the struggle against racial discrimination, which he focused on," Hardeep Singh Puri India's ambassador to the UN said.

President of the General Assembly Ali Treki stressed upon Gandhi's commitment to communal harmony between Muslims and non-Muslims.

Paying tribute to Gandhi, the US envoy to the UN Susan Rice said "Gandhi had influenced millions of Americans. Gandhi believed that physical force could be turned aside by moral forces."

Both, Ambassador Puri and Rice spoke of the historic trip that civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr, made to India in 1959 to see the country of the Mahatma.

On his return Dr King wrote, "It was wonderful to be in Gandhi's land."

This year, on the 50th anniversary of the journey, the US sponsored the visit of Martin Luther King III to retrace the steps of his father and mother.

Quoting King that "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy," Rice spoke about Gandhi's influence on US history. "That is true of people but it is also true of nations."

All over New York City, small and big events were organised to mark the birthday of the Father of the Nation.

In the morning, New Yorkers gathered to sing Gandhi's favourite songs and paid floral tribute at his statue at Union Square in Manhattan.

"Gandhi has to be celebrated all over the world because his message echoes around the globe," Prabhu Dayal, the Consul General of India in New York said.

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