New York: On November 14, 2016, both the Indian National Overseas Congress, USA and the Nehru Foundation-USA jointly celebrated the birth anniversary of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India since its Independence, at the Sohna Punjab Restaurant in New York. As his birthday coincided with the birthday of Shri Guru Nanak Dev ji, Mr. Harbachan Singh, Secretary General of INOC, USA, felicitated all the Sikhs throughout the world on this joyous and auspicious day and narrated that when Guru Nanak Dev ji was 12 years old he was given 20 rupees by his father to conduct business. Guru ji went to the market, saw some saints and poor people who had not eaten for some time and spent all his 20 rupees and bought food and fed them. Upon his return home, he recounted what he did to his anxious father and left him spellbound.
The birthday celebration of Pandit Nehru ji went into full gear filled with speeches glorifying the work and contribution of Pandit Nehru. Mr. George Abraham, Chairman of the INOC paid tribute by describing him as the ‘architect of modern India’ especially pointing out his many contributions in the field of Education such as the founding of the IITs and Indian Institute of Science among other things.
President Mr. Mohinder Singh Gilzian, dwelt on some of his outstanding achievements that included creating a solid constitutional framework for the nation. Prof. Bipin Sangankar, President of the Nehru Foundation-USA, recalled his personal interaction with Nehru ji and admired his many accomplishments that put India on a solid footing.
The keynote speaker Prof. Indrajit Singh Saluja described of his amazement at the size of the crowd when he attended Nehru’s funeral and said it was a testimony to his devotion to the people of India. After analyzing Nehru’s thoughts and vision for the country, he concluded that Nehru ji was ahead of his time and stood tall amongst the greatest statesmen of the world. He added that Nehru ji laid the foundation for the nation which is always the hardest part of any nation building.
Uma Sengupta recounted her association with him and how she found him to be a very kind person and stated that he loved children very much which earned him the title “Chacha Nehru”.
For a tribute befitting the great scholar, a session was opened to all members of the audience and an animated discussion ensued on the life and teachings of Nehru. Mr. Oommen Koshy was requested to moderate the open discussion session in which many participated and gave their respective viewpoints and told of their favorite stories by which they remembered him and his skillful character.
Several leaders, like T. J. Gill, Devinder Vora, Satish Sharma, Jasvir Singh Nawashar, John Joseph, Amir Rashid, Gautam Sanghvi and Vipul Sanghvi, Shangara Rana, adv. Sarabjit Singh, Prasad Kam, each described how they perceived Nehru and his greatness which was instrumental in building great Institutions for the great Republic of India providing stability to its democratic system of government. In concluding the discussions, Mr. Harbachan Singh also drew attention to his writings especially to his book “Discovery of India” and applauded his longest term in office as Prime Minister of India for 17 years.”
To top up the celebration festivities, Ms. Smita Guha and her daughter, Ananandita, both of whom are famous professional singers and dancers, led the whole group to a singing session of many favorite songs of Nehru ji such as “Sarejahan se acha, Hindustan Hamara.” The audience joined in the singing of the songs that brought a sense of nostalgia and pride.