Bihar village celebrates gifting lathi to Gandhiji



Patna: A small village in Bihar's Munger district is celebrating an unusual festival - a three-day 'lathi mahotsav' to commemorate the gifting of a lathi (bamboo stick) to Mahatma Gandhi in 1934.

Residents of Ghorghat village, 150 km from Patna and 25 km from Munger district headquarters, celebrate the festival every year. This year it began today.

Razi Ahmad, Secretary of Gandhi Sangrahalaya here, told PTI that Gandhiji had visited Munger in 1934 after a massive earthquake measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale hit the area.

He learnt that the people of Ghoraghat specialised in making lathis which were supplied to the then British authorities who used them on Indians. Gandhiji urged them to stop making lathis in the interest of the nation, which the villagers agreed to readily.

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

Centenarian Bodhan Paswan, who was among those who had presented the lathi to Gandhiji, will be present during the festival this year, Mithilesh Mandal, General Secretary, Ghorghat Lathi Samaroh, said over phone.

Paswan (103) is the only surviving member of the team that had gifted lathi to the Father of the Nation.

Bihar Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh inaugurated the mahotsav.

PTI