Several events were held across the U.S. to commemorate the 152nd birthday of Mahatma Gandhi Oct. 2.
One such event was organized by the Consulate General of India in Chicago in collaboration with the Gandhi Memorial Foundation of Chicago. During the event, Dr. Vijay G. Prabhakar, Indian American president of the American Multi Ethnic Coalition, USA, announced that the organization will be establishing the first Gandhi King Legacy Center in North America in Chicago, Illinois.
Prabhakar presented the AMEC colors to Consul General of India in Chicago Amit Kumar for his “inclusive leadership and dynamic accomplishments, including initiating the First Gandhi King Legacy RoundTable Summit in North America Feb. 24, 2021 and also for his efforts which led to the defeat of the Anti-India Resolution in the City of Chicago Council March 24, 2021, stated a press release.
He also presented the AMEC colors to the vibrant Indian band Rudra Garjana Dhol Tasha team, led by Mandar Pitre from Maharashtra, which performed at the event.
Consul General Kumar recalled Gandhi’s struggle for India’s independence, his non-violence movement and the relevance of his teachings and principles in this digital age, noted the release.
Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen called Skokie “fortunate” for being able to host a life-size statue of Gandhi in Heritage Park since Oct. 2, 2004.
Santosh Kumar, president of the Gandhi Memorial Foundation of Chicago, acknowledged the role of Dr. Chadrakant Modi and his wife Dina Modi in donating the 12-foot statue, while Dr. Sriram Sonty, the organization’s vice president, presented a set of Gandhian books to Dusen for the Skokie Public Library.
Indian American state Senator in Illinois Ram Villivalam launched the Gandhi Memorial Foundation of Chicago’s Global Gandhi Youth Council at the event, which includes six members from the U.S., three from the U.K., and two from India and South Africa.
The Indian American Muslim Council held events marking the birth anniversary of Gandhi, including celebrations in Dallas, Texas, and Chicago, Illinois.
The celebrations saw participation by hundreds of people, and included food and other festivities. In Dallas, around 200 attendees listened to speeches by IAMC national executives, chapter leaders, youth volunteers, as well as from Kennedale Mayor Brian Johnson. The Dallas event included performances of patriotic songs as well as poems honoring Gandhi.
“(Today’s celebration) was an excellent outdoor event on a beautiful day that pulled the community together,” said Noor Baig, vice president of IAMC Dallas. “We had a great turnout with a lot of energy and enthusiasm.”
Syed Ali, president of IAMC, stated in his remarks, “Mahatma Gandhi and non-violence are synonymous. During India’s struggle for independence from British rule, Gandhi taught the world how to stand up for one’s rights and achieve victory over a formidable enemy without resorting to violence.”
The Gandhi International Institute for Peace hosted a free virtual program in Hawaii Oct. 2, a day designated by the United Nations in Gandhi’s honor as the “International Day of Nonviolence” in June 2007. The program was broadcast for viewers all around the world.
The webinar featured a spiritual invocation, meditation, music and dances drawn from the local community, and from Honolulu’s Still and Moving Center, which co-sponsored the event.
There were brief addresses by a variety of international and Hawaii based advocates of nonviolence, including Tushar Gandhi, great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi; Audrey E. Kitagawa, JD, chairwoman of the Parliament of World Religions; Dr. Raj Kumar, founder and president emeritus of GIIP; House Representative Dr. Matthew LoPresti; Professor Emeritus Marc J. Gilbert from Hawaii Pacific University; Professor Ramdas Lamb from the University of Hawaii; Professor Veena Howard from California; Cliff and Renee Tillotson and Dr. Kahu Kaleo Patterson from the Pacific Justice and Reconciliation Center.
GIIP received proclamations from Hawaii Governor David Y. Ige, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi, certificates from the Senate and the House, messages from Senators Mazie K. Hirono and Brian Schatz and Congressman Ed Case for Mahatma Gandhi Day.
Dr. Raj Kumar, founder of GIIP, initiated Senate Bill SB 332 in the Hawaii Legislature in 2014 which was passed by the Senate and House unanimously, and signed into Act 5 by Governor Ige in April 2015, making Hawaii the first state in the nation to officially declare Oct. 2 as “Mahatma Gandhi Day.”
GIIP board members also gathered in Waikiki and draped Hawaiian leis on the statue of Gandhi.