Singapore pays tribute to Gandhi on 150th anniversary through rendition of 'Vaishnav Jan Toh'

Oct 03, 2018, 13:27 IST | mid-day online desk

The five-minute musical was earlier composed for the unveiling of a plaque in the memory ofMahatmaa Gandhi by Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Singapore pays tribute to Gandhi on 150th anniversary through rendition of 'Vaishnav Jan Toh'
A screengrab from the video

Singapore Chinese Orchestra played a musical of 'Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram' on Tuesday night as the city-state started the celebration of Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary. A four-minute video was also played on the life of Gandhi on Singapore's largest video screen, 60mX15m, at the Suntec City Convention Centre as the community here paid respect to the Mahatma.

Watch the full rendition of "Vaishnav Jan Toh" here:

The five-minute musical was earlier composed for the unveiling of a plaque in the memory ofMahatmaa Gandhi by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with Singapore's Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, at the Clifford Pier on June 2, 2018. It is composed by Chinese musicians - Ang Kok Wee, Chen Shanghai Indra, Hoong Rozie, Huang Ming Xiang, Wong Wai Kit. The music was arranged and conducted by Aravinth Kumarasamy in June.

Screengrab
A screengrab from the video of the musical rendition of "Vaishnav Jan Toh"

"Singapore has a 'fascinating connection with Mahatama Gandhi as we all know that Mahatama Gandhi never visited the Malay Peninsular or this region or Singapore. But people were touched by him," said India's High Commissioner Jawed Ashraf as he launched the celebration at the convention centre.

"When he died, this place was enveloped by a huge sense of grief with some people fasting for 13 days as if one of their own had died," recalls Jawed Ashraf from then media reports. Singapore leader of those days, Rajabali Jumabhoy, created a committee that raised SGD 100,000 then to erect the statue of Mahatama Gandhi as a way of expressing tribute to him. That statue came up in 1953.

Singapore Gandhi
Thousands are seen witnessing the screening of medley of "Vaishnav Jan to" and "Bapu's message" on the world’s largest HD video wall at Suntec in Singapore

In 1948, almost as a response to this grief, a portion of the ashes of Mahatama Gandhi were brought to Singapore and immersed in the sea off Clifford Pier while a plane showered rose petals. A procession of 10,000 participated in that immersion, according to a report by Sunday Tribune of that time.

Elsewhere in Singapore, Indian schools held various activities for students including quiz contest on Mahatama Gandhi's life. Meanwhile, Elaben Gandhi, Grand Daughter of Mahatama Gandhi, will join Singaporeans in the ongoing celebration from Sunday (October 7) through to Tuesday, sharing his messages that are still regarded relevant for the world.

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