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Rediff.com  » News » Bihar village celebrates 'lathi festival' for Gandhiji

Bihar village celebrates 'lathi festival' for Gandhiji

November 23, 2012 18:14 IST

A village in Bihar is celebrating 'lathi festival' on Friday to commemorate the gifting of a bamboo stick to Mahatma Gandhi in 1934.

Hundreds of people joined the celebration of 'Gandhi-Ghorghat Ki Lathi Mahotsav' at Ghorghat village in Munger district to strengthen the ideas of Mahatma Gandhi.

"It is a unique festival to celebrate the memory of Mahatma Gandhi with villagers," Mithilesh Kumar Mandal, general secretary of the general secretary of the festival organising body, said.

Mandal said that Gandhi accepted the lathi from the villagers on one condition that they will stop supplying it to the Britishers because they used it against the freedom fighters.

"Our villagers kept his word and stopped selling bamboo sticks to British since then," he said.

According to villagers, Gorghar was once famous for its lucrative lathi trade across the country. The village was known for supplying lightweight and strong lathis.

Razi Ahmad, secretary of Gandhi Sangarahalya in Patna, said that the lathi gifted at Ghorghat village was the last one that Gandhi carried as he saw it as a symbol of strength that would never be used to harm any one.

Razi Ahmad, secretary of Gandhi Sangrahalaya in Patna, said that Gandhiji had visited Munger in 1934 after a massive earthquake measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale hit the area.

They also presented a lathi to Gandhiji as a gift, which he kept with him during the freedom movement, Ahmad said.

"For Gandhi, a lathi was a symbol of agrarian economy and society in which it serves as an all-purpose tool," Ahmad said.

The one-of-a-kind festival was inaugurated by Bihar Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh.

With inputs from PTI

M I Khan in Patna