An annual event to celebrate the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of India’s independence movement, was held at the Indian Embassy in Tokyo on Monday. Oct. 2 is also designated as the International Day of Non-Violence by the United Nations, which calls Gandhi the “pioneer of the philosophy and strategy of nonviolence.”

Coming after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to India in September, the event included a photo exhibition that shows scenes from when Abe visited a Gandhi residence in Ahmedabad, escorted by his Indian counterpart.

Ambassador Sujan Chinoy delivered the opening remarks at this event, called Gandhi Jayanti, which means Gandhi’s birth anniversary in Hindi, in front of an audience who had applied to attend in advance.

“In this age of strife and great violence, Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings have abiding relevance — a relevance that resonates in every part of the world,” Chinoy said. He went on to say India and Japan should lead the way and tell the world how to “go ahead towards peace, progress and prosperity for all.”

Students from two Indian international schools in Tokyo and Yokohama performed short plays that featured nonviolence and cleanliness, respectively. The Indian government has launched a cleanliness campaign to realize a clean, hygienic India by 2019, when it celebrates the 150th anniversary of Gandhi’s birth.

“Looking at Indian children vividly perform, I feel closer to the country and hope those children become a bridge to connect Japan and India in the future,” said Kyoko Oda from Yokohama, a 68-year-old whose husband works in India.