The three-day Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, which begins on Wednesday, will showcase the principles of Mahatma Gandhi with the message to the Indian diaspora that the Narendra Modi government has been working in line with his ideas.
The event’s Twitter handle has been promoting schemes launched by the Narendra Modi government along with Gandhian slogans. One such post reads: “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”, and shows Mahatma Gandhi wading through a river. Alongside is a picture of Modi and a slogan on the government’s national mission to clean Ganga.
Another post promotes the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana with a picture of Gandhi. It says, “Gandhiji lived his life to empower Indians to fight social and economic exclusion.” Alongside there is a picture of Modi with the slogan: “Ek lehar desh bhar, ek bank khata ho har ghar.”
The last day of the event marks 100 years of Mahatma Gandhi’s return from South Africa. In line with the celebrations, the special guest this time is South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, who will lead a 13-member delegation from his country.
Modi will inaugurate a museum on Gandhi at the Mahatma Mandir complex in Gandhinagar. Director of Information and Secretary, Youth, Sports and Culture Bhagyesh Jha told The Indian Express, “This is first such museum, spread over 200,000 sq feet, dedicated to one personality.”
The museum, with four sections on four floors, dedicates each floor to a phase of Gandhi’s life and will display a replica of the printing machine of Indian Opinion, a newspaper started by Gandhi in South Africa in 1903 to fight racial discrimination. “The original machine is in South Africa. But we have procured a replica from an old publisher from Noida,” said Jha.
The annual Pravasi Bharatiya Divas began in 2003 to celebrate the return of Gandhi to India. A top Gujarat minister said, “This time, the event connects all the dots of his journey. And for the first time, a top political leader from South Africa is the chief guest at the PBD.”
More than 4,000 delegates from nearly 40 countries are expected to participate in the three-day event, which will include a seminar on “Gandhian Thought in context of 21st century” and a visit to Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad.