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Amjad Ali Khan's tribute to Gandhi @ UN: 'Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram'

October 03, 2013 11:51 IST

Amjad Ali Khan's tribute to Gandhi @ UN: 'Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram'

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Suman Guha Mozumder

The sarod maestro and his two sons Amaan and Ayaan remembered the Mahatma through special renditions of his favourite bhajans, a portrait by a Mumbai-based artist was unveiled as the United Nations observed International Day of Non-Violence.  

Close to 400 people including 65 permanent representatives of countries to the United Nations sat for two hours at a conference room as the world body celebrated the International Day of Non-Violence that coincided with the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi (October 2).

The event that had Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and President of the 68th UN General Assembly Ambassador John Ashe, who delivered the keynote and the presidential address respectively, was hosted by the permanent mission of India to United Nations.

Ambassador Asoke K Mukerji, permanent representative of India to the UN, welcomed the distinguished gathering and underscored the increasing relevance of Gandhian ideals. “The path of non-violence and dialogue is the surest path to sustainable peace, sustainable development and indeed, sustainable reforms. It is through such an approach that we would be best equipped to deal with the challenges of change, whether political, social, economic or environmental, and find solutions on the basis of the strength of dialogue,” the ambassador said.

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Image: Ustad Amjad Ali Khan performs at the UN on Gandhi's birthday. Seen in the background is a potrait by Mumbai-based artist R D Pareek
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi/Rediff.com

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Amjad Ali Khan's tribute to Gandhi @ UN: 'Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram'

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Suman Guha Mozumder

Other speakers on the distinguished panel included the permanent representative of South Africa to the UN Ambassador Kingsley Mamabolo. Permanent representative of Argentina Ambassador María Cristina Perceval, permanent representative of Czech Republic Ambassador Edita Hrda, and permanent representative of Norway Ambassador Geir O Pedersen also spoke during a brief intervention.

Several other dignitaries and officials included Ambassador Vijay Nambiar, special adviser on Myanmar to the UN secretary general.

Two of the major highlights of the event were a half-hour Sarod recital by Ustad Amjad Ali Khan accompanied by his sons Amaan and Ayaan at the end of the event. The performance included special renditions of tunes of 'Vaishnav Jan to Tene Kahiye' and  'Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram' to mark the occasion and drew a standing ovation from the packed audience at the UN.

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Image: Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and his sons Amaan and Ayaan perform at the UN
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi/Rediff.com

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Amjad Ali Khan's tribute to Gandhi @ UN: 'Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram'

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Suman Guha Mozumder

There was presentation of a life-size portrait of Mahatma Gandhi by renowned Mumbai-based oil portrait artist R D Pareek to Ambassador Ashe. Pareek was present at the event and was called to the podium when Ashe unveiled the portrait.

Pareek, who had flown the painting from Mumbai to present it to Ashe had a brief conversation with the president of the UNGA on the podium. The portrait of Gandhi will be mounted on the walls of the UNGA. “It will remind me every day about Mahatma Gandhi and his lessons of peace and non violence,” Ashe said.

Delivering the keynote address the UN secretary general called on member states to “draw strength from the courage of individuals like Mahatma Gandhi.” Ban said quoting Gandhi, “I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.” He said that that it was from this ideology that the UN has “insisted throughout the war in Syria that all concerned must work for a political solution” and reiterated that “whatever one’s sympathies or convictions, violence is a poor means to an unsatisfactory end.”

Ashe said that as the General Assembly embarks upon setting the post 2015 development agenda, it was important that “laying the groundwork for this new agenda, is laying the groundwork for a non-violent world -- one that values peace and well-being for all.”

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Image: The UN observes International Non-Violence Day on October 2
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi/Rediff.com

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Amjad Ali Khan's tribute to Gandhi @ UN: 'Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram'

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Suman Guha Mozumder

In the subsequent statements by the ambassadors of South Africa, Czech, Argentina and Norway, the need for the world to resort to 'non violent' pathways as the only available solution to conflicts around the world, was emphasised as a common resonating theme.

Ambassador Mukerji presented a special edition book on the life of Mahatma Gandhi to the UN secretary heneral for his personal collection.

The UN General Assembly had adopted resolution with a record number of 143 co sponsors in June 2007, whereby it declared October 2, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, as ‘International Day of Non-Violence’ and invited all member states, NGOs and individuals, including the United Nations to organise events to commemorate the day.

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Image: Ambassador Asoke K Mukerji presents a special edition of a book on Gandhi to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi/Rediff.com

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