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Mahatma Gandhi’s return to India from S Africa commemorated with awards

Mahatma Gandhi’s return to India from S Africa commemorated with awards
January 14
10:56 2020

JOHANNESBURG: Mahatma Gandhi’s return to India in 1915 after a two-decade stay in South Africa has been commemorated with awards to three veterans from the Gujarati community here with links to the iconic leader. Consul General for India in Johannesburg Anju Ranjan presented the awards as part of the commemoration of the day, marked worldwide on January 9 as Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Day.

Magan Morar Patel received an award for his long service to the South African Indian community in various areas, including education, culture and social welfare. Patel, now 91, still continues to serve on a number of organisations in official capacities, including as the longest-serving member of the Board of the Johannesburg Institute for Social Services (JISS), which will mark its 85th anniversary this year.

Originally started by the South African Indian community to assist only the destitute in this community because of forced racial separation due to apartheid-era laws, today JISS serves all communities.

The second award went to Mahendra Modi, Public Relations Officer of the Gandhi Walk Committee, which annually organises one of the largest walks in the country. The Gandhi Walk, which is supported by thousands of people young and old from all communities, will be hosted for the 35th consecutive year in April this year. The final award was made in absentia to veteran Gandhian activist and sportsman Mohan Hira, 81, who was in the ICU of a local hospital after a serious operation.

Hira has been largely responsible for reviving Tolstoy Farm, the once thriving commune established by Gandhi during his tenure in Johannesburg, but which had been lying derelict for several decades until his intervention. In November last year, Hira’s Gandhi Remembrance Organisation installed larger than life busts of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela on Tolstoy Farm. PTI

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