Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday wrote an opinion article in The New York Times on Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary, urging thinkers, entrepreneurs and technology leaders to use innovation to spread the ideas of India’s independence leader. Modi called it the Einstein challenge, referring to a famous quote by Albert Einstein about Gandhi.

“As a tribute to Gandhi, I propose what I call the Einstein Challenge,” Modi wrote. “We know Albert Einstein’s famous words on Gandhi: ‘Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.’ How do we ensure the ideals of Gandhi are remembered by future generations? I invite thinkers, entrepreneurs and tech leaders to be at the forefront of spreading Gandhi’s ideas through innovation.”

Modi called Gandhi “the best teacher to guide us” who offers solutions to every problem – “from uniting those who believe in humanity to furthering sustainable development and ensuring economic self-reliance”.

Earlier in the day, the prime minister visited Rajghat – the resting place of Gandhi – and paid floral tributes.

In the evening, Modi will visit Ahmedabad, where at the Sabarmati riverfront, he will declare the country open defecation free.

Congress, BJP marches

Several political leaders paid tributes and events were organised across the country to honour Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary. President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also visited Gandhi’s memorial at Rajghat in New Delhi to pay their respects.

Union Home Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah flagged off his party’s nationwide “Gandhi Sankalp Yatra” to mark the occasion. He said the government has organised several events to re-establish Gandhi’s values and principles in the country. He said Gandhi not only played a vital role in getting the country Independence but “also displayed to the world the power of satyagraha”.

Shah spoke about the dangers of single-use plastic and urged party workers and citizens to make its elimination a mass movement.

Also read: PM Modi set to declare India ‘open defecation free’ later today at Ahmedabad event

Congress President Sonia Gandhi paid tributes at Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial Rajghat in New Delhi, and administered an oath of his ideals to her party workers, PTI reported. In an apparent jibe at the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, she said that those who consider themselves supreme and indulge in the politics of falsehood will not understand the sacrifices and ideals of the Father of the Nation.

Sonia Gandhi said Mahatma Gandhi’s soul would be pained by what has been happening in India in the last few years. Earlier in the day, her son, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, led party workers in the “Gandhi Sandesh Yatra” from the Delhi Congress office to Rajghat.

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