04 October 2021 Last Updated at 5:03 am | Source: PTI
Houston, Oct 4 (PTI) Ardent followers of Mahatma Gandhi from all walks of life paid rich tributes to the apostle of peace here on the occasion of his 152nd birth anniversary on Saturday.
A “Walk for Peace” was organised in person and virtually by the Eternal Gandhi Museum Houston (EGMH).
The Indian Consulate in Houston led by its Consul General Aseem Mahajan, along with the members of EGMH, celebrated Gandhi Jayanti at the sprawling lush green Hermann Park in downtown, which has a six-feet tall bronze statue of Gandhi, standing on a polished granite base.
Unveiled in 2004, the statue was sculpted by renowned artist Ram V Sutar, and a gift to the citizens here by the Indian government.
Mahajan, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Congressman Al Green, EGMH members, and various Indian Americans, and American friends recalled Gandhi”s message of peace and non-violence.
“Mahatma Gandhi inspired people all over the world, including Martin Luther King Jr, who drew heavily on Gandhian principles and teachings of nonviolence in a civil rights movement,” Mahajan said.
“As we combat the current pandemic together, we are reminded of Gandhi’s message of service to humanity,” he added.
The EGMH, under construction since July, will be the only museum in the Americas, Mahajan said.
“The endeavour of this initiative also is to deepen the close and multifaceted ties between India and the city of Houston. The Eternal Gandhi museum is an initiative of the Indo-American community to spread the universal message and teachings of Gandhiji,” he added.
The construction of the museum is taking place during “Amrit Mahotsav,” the period during which India will be celebrating 75 years of Independence, said Mahajan.
The groundbreaking ceremony of EGMH, the first museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi in the Americas, took place on July 3.
The exhibits in the museum are a gift to Mahatma Gandhi Library from the Birla family of India. Houston would be the first and only city in the United States to host it as a permanent exhibit.
The museum would be an educational resource and civic asset for the community, especially for children, and will present Gandhian values in a fun and game-centric manner. It will present the historical events of Gandhi’s life as well as a spectrum of information technology, inspired by Gandhian thought.
“I encourage everyone to remember his (Gandhi) teaching of peaceful protests and his words. You must be the change you want to see in the world… these words have guided millions of people around the globe,” Turner said.
Lee referred to Gandhi”s “strength of peaceful non-cooperation in the struggle against injustice.”
“It is clear that not only Gandhi represents the beauty of India, but the love of democracy of India. And I am always gratified to say that we are the oldest democracy. But India is also the largest democracy,” she said.
Meanwhile, Congressman Green highlighted Gandhi’s non-violent approach.
“I”m so honoured to tell you that today is something that I believe we should celebrate in a greater circumstance, it should be something that we would have throngs of people here to appreciate it. On this day, we would have no violence anywhere on the planet and that”s a great goal. It”s aspirational,” he said.
In the evening, the Consulate General in Houston live streamed a special lecture “Mahatma Gandhi”s global pursuit for truth, non-violence and peace”, by internationally acclaimed speaker Dr. Shobhana Radhakrishna.
EGMH later organised a You Tube live event ”1000 Lights for Peace” and an international dance and music event.
The chief guest for the virtual evening was Turner while the guest of honour was Mahajan and the keynote speaker was Dr. Michael Nagler.
“The highlight of the evening was ”Ahimsa – An Effective Tool” presented by the Virtuosi of Performing Arts and directed by Keka Kar,” Atul Kothari, Trustee and Founder of EGMH and the force behind the project said.
“The virtual ”Walk for Peace” earlier this morning has been tremendously successful with walks being organised across Houston, Texas and even Canada. The grand marshall for the virtual walk was Fort Bend County Judge KP George,” Kothari added. PTI SHK RHL
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