Marking the 150th birth anniversary of Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, the international day of non-violence, as well as celebrating the Year of Zayed, the Indian High School (Oud Maitha) along with the Indian Consulate and the KHDA paid a tribute to the legendary leaders of both the countries by planting 250 saplings in the school premises.
Of the 250 saplings, 100 were planted in the name of the founding father of UAE Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, marking his centennial birth anniversary; while the rest of the 150 saplings were planted for Gandhi marking his 150th birth anniversary on October 2.
Students from about 20 other schools participated and helped in planting the saplings. As part of the celebrations, Consul General of India to the UAE Vipul and KHDA Director-General Dr Abdulla Al Karam along with IHS Chairman Sunil Umrao Singh toured the school's urban forest corridor and planted one sapling each in their names. Symbolically, they also released 250 balloons (100 in the colours of UAE flag and 150 in the colours of the Indian flag) and six pigeons as part of the celebrations.
The green initiative is an extension of the school's green project called urban forest that was launched last year on the school premises in a bid to reduce carbon footprint and revitalize the environment for students. The school's Forest Bathing corridor spans an area of 30,000 sq ft, the 1km long green sanctuary is divided into 6 zones - Ghaf Avenue, Madhuban, Green Heart (h), Enchanted Forest, Pluck, and the Sophrology SenTer.
Students then welcomed the dignitaries in the Rashid auditorium by singing the national anthem of both India and the UAE.
Welcoming the guests, Singh said, " We are gathered here to give a tribute two great leaders of the world, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan and Gandhi ji, for their efforts have affected not only their countries but the whole world."
Talking about the idea of planting saplings, Singh said: "This is because both these leaders loved nature and were great environmentalists. Sheikh Zayed's efforts turned the desert green, while Gandhi was known for his love for the environment."
Talking about the two great leaders, Dr Karam said: "Both these great leaders we are celebrating today lived in their countries in times of great change and growth and both are known for their great work and humility. They valued their roots. Sheikh Zayed lived a very modest life and loved watching the sunset while sitting in the desert. On similar lines, I remember an incident of Gandhi where a man asked him while on a train, 'why do you always travel third class and Gandhi answered because there is no fourth class'. As we continue to grow and rise, we will never forget our values and our roots and the lesson taught to us by our leaders."
Vipul said: "We remember our iconic leaders Gandhi and Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan not only for what they did for our countries but also what they taught us about environment and sustainability. Back home in India, PM Modi is holding the first assembly of an international solar alliance shows India's great commitment to sustainability. This shows how countries together can work for building a better earth, a better future for all our generations.
Talking about human values, that the leaders of the two countries demonstrated, Vipul said: "Apart from sustainability, there is much that can be said about teachings of Gandhi and how we Indians are much indebted to him for getting us our independence. He fought against racial discrimination, apartheid, slavery and colonialism. And he fought all this not using violence but truth and non-violence. Similarly, Sheikh Zayed worked for tolerance, peace and progress and this can be witnessed best here in the UAE where so many nationalities live and work together in harmony and peace. This celebration here at IHS dedicated to both our leaders is a testament of friendship between India and UAE and we all have a responsibility to nurture and cherish this relationship and take it forward and imbibe values given by these towering leaders of our countries."
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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