RIVERSIDE, Calif. — The India Association of Inland Empire on Oct. 2 marked the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi with bhajans and speeches.

About 100 people gathered at the statue of the Indian leader that was installed in 2007 along the “Peace Walk” on a pedestrian mall in the city.

The event began with the garlanding of the nine-foot tall bronze statue. The president of IAIE, Chandrasekar Venkatraman, touched upon the Gandhian values that had led to the betterment of society.

The “Peace Walk” which also features statues of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chavez, were referenced by other speakers. Mayor Rusty Bailey spoke of Gandhiji’s influence on civil rights and a generation of leaders including MLK. City councilman Andy Melendrez invoked the impact on the Latino community and Chavez.

Lalit Acharya, instrumental in the installation of the Gandhi statue, recalled how it had happened as a gesture of healing in the wake of a horrific mass shooting in the city. Former president of IAIE Roop Goyal, in his speech, urged the adoption of Gandhian values including environmental consciousness and mindful consumption patterns.

Those who had gathered sang two of Gandhiji’s favorite bhajans, “Vaishnava Janato” and “Raghupati Raghava.” The event concluded with refreshments. 

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