Arunachal: Granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi visits Ziro
94-year-old Tara Gandhi Banerjee shared her cherished and inspirational memories of her close relationship with the Mahatma.

Ziro: Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee, the granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, made a heartfelt appeal to the people of Arunachal Pradesh to embrace Gandhi’s timeless principles of ‘Truth, Love, Kindness, and Bravery’ as part of a renewed Sarvodaya movement aimed at fostering a more compassionate society.

Tara was present at the Mahatma Gandhi Centre in the picturesque Hong village on Monday to participate in the inauguration of several facilities, marking the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti celebrations.

During her visit, she expressed her profound privilege in being able to visit Arunachal Pradesh, often referred to as the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’ – a feat that her revered grandfather, Mahatma Gandhi, was unable to accomplish.

Despite her advanced age of 94, Tara shared her cherished and inspirational memories of her close relationship with the Mahatma. She vividly recollected their encounters, which extended until she was 14 years old, recounting their meetings in prisons and during train journeys. Tara portrayed Mahatma Gandhi as a visionary leader who not only addressed the challenges of his time but also had a keen eye on the future. She emphasised his extraordinary ability to resolve conflicts and transform adversaries into friends.

In a heartwarming gesture, Tara encouraged young children to remember Gandhi for his simplicity and his infectious smile, portraying him as a spiritual sage (Rishi) who led a life marked by discipline and unwavering commitment to his ideals.

Additionally, Tara also took the opportunity to acknowledge her maternal grandfather, C Raja Gopalachari, highlighting his pivotal role in the Gandhian movement.

Appreciating the local handicrafts of Ziro, Tara urged their global promotion through the Gandhi Sangrahalaya. She acknowledged the warm hospitality of the people of Arunachal Pradesh during her stay and stressed the importance of sustainable development in the Ziro Valley. She also emphasised nurturing intellectual growth, particularly among the women of the Himalayan region.

Tara highlighted the significance of responsible citizenship and reminded the people of their duty to society. She underscored the vital role of language in connecting people and fostering unity.

During the event, Tara unveiled a life-sized bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi, funded through the philanthropic contributions of Akasa Air co-founder Aditya Ghosh. She also inaugurated the Mahatma Gandhi Centre, which houses a Library, Digital Career Guidance Centre, Children’s Activities Centre, Citizen Services Centre, Farmer’s Sales Hub, and a Health Clinic initiated by Helping Hands.

Additionally, an exhibition organised by the National Gandhi Museum, Delhi, depicting the ‘life and works’ of Mahatma Gandhi, was inaugurated jointly by Tara and National Gandhi Museum, Delhi Dr A Annamalai.

Local MLA and Agriculture minister Tage Taki praised Helping Hands for their humanitarian services, comparing their impact to that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has gained international recognition for his commitment to Ahimsa or Non-violence. He encouraged the younger generation to follow this principle, emphasising that violence has no place in the modern world.

Helping Hands president, Robin Hibu, expressed deep appreciation for Tara’s decision to physically travel to Arunachal for the inauguration of the Mahatma Gandhi Centre rather than doing it online. He described the centre as a tribute to the people of Ziro Valley, known for their unwavering faith in Ahimsa throughout history. The Mahatma Gandhi Centre is seen as a ‘payback to society,’ offering facilities for both students and farmers, benefiting the younger generation in particular.

The event also saw the presentation of the ‘Pride of Ziro’ gold medal with certificates to nine distinguished Apatani individuals who excelled in various fields, contributing to making Ziro a better place to live. The awardees included Apatani music lyricist and composer Late Nani Challa, founder of modern Dree festival celebration Lod Kojee, owner of ‘Mother’s Home,’ a home for the destitute Tailyang Santi, retired star footballer Lod Tabyo, famed Apatani singer and composer Hage Tade, chairman of Puna Hinda Constructions and renowned highway contractor Puna Hinda, Tani Supun Dukun general secretary Taku Chatung, and engineer Tapi Tai. Lower Subansiri deputy commissioner Bamin Nime was also honored with the ‘Excellence in Public Administration’ award.

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Prominent personalities including, NE Farm Sales Promotion Ltd founder-director Bhanu Pratap Singh, Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Jamia Milia Islamia University director Prof Rihan Khan, Atal Bihari Vajpayee Seva Kendra initiator Phursat Vajpayee, Pay2ment Software Technologies Pvt Ltd chief operating officer Gaurav Vats, and Helping Hands chief advisor Armstrong Pame addressed the gathering.

Furthermore, prizes were awarded to students who participated in essay writing and painting competitions organised as part of the Gandhi Jayanti celebration.

Also Read | Arunachal border to gain enhanced surveillance with ITBP intelligence posts

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