International Ahimsa Foundation USA marched at the Federation of Indian Associations’ India Day Parade on August 18 with a strong call for Non Violence and Peace—“A Message of Lord Mahavir, Live and Let Live!”
Dr. Neeta Jain, President and Founder of International Ahimsa Foundation, welcomed the Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney on the IAF float, saying “We are honored to have Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney at our IAF Float. She is a big fan of Mahatma Gandhi and she is working tirelessly on a Congressional Gold Medal for Mahatma Gandhi. She was the champion of getting the Diwali stamp. We are very thankful for your hard work.”
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, NY Senator John Liu, Assemblyman David Welprin, NYS Senator Kevin Thomas, Consulate General of India in NY Ambassador Sandeep Chakravorty, and Dr. Jain along with Grand Marshal Bollywood actor Suniel Shetty kicked off the parade.
Other distinguished guests on the IAF float were Consulate General of India in NY Sandeep Chakravorty, Ms. Taruna Chakravorty, AIA President Harish Thakkar, guest of honor actress and model Nargis Fakhri, Miss Glamours World Angle Tetatbe, singer Archit Aryasri, the Masala Bhangra workout dance team marched alongside the float.
Dr. Jain made welcoming remarks to the global community, reiterating the importance of Non Violence, Peace and teachings of Lord Mahavir and Mahatma Gandhi, now more than ever before, and emphasized why and what motivated her to start the IAF organization.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney said “I am so thrilled to be here. Live and Let Live, one of the principles of humanity and teachings of Lord Mahavir. I stand here with Dr. Neeta Jain and with my friends. I appreciate India, is the world’s largest democracy and America is the oldest democracy. And its appropriate that we are such good friends and allies. It is long past due that Gandhi become the Congressional Gold Medal. Its on Diwali stamp. It shows the strong partnership between America and India supporting good over evil, light or darkness, when we think of Gandhi.”
The congresswoman continued: “Today we honor the 73rd anniversary of Indian independence which began a nation that, to this day, remains a critical strategic, cultural, and economic partner to the United States. The Indian independence movement, led by Mahatma Gandhi and so many other inspiring men and women, proved to the world that freedom and self-determination do not require violence, but rather can be achieved through peaceful civil disobedience.
“Today India celebrates 73 years as the world’s largest democracy – a nation who’s growth, vitality and resilience is powerful evidence against the forces of tyranny, dictatorship and oppression.
Congresswoman Maloney added that Mahatma Gandhi’s historic Satyagraha (Sanskrit for “soul-force”) movement of nonviolent resistance inspired a nation and the world. She said: “His example energizes us to devote ourselves to the service of others and inspired civil rights movements around the globe, from Martin Luther King Jr ’s movement for racial equality to Nelson Mandela’s fight against apartheid. Gandhi’s achievements and legacy deserve our attention and recognition, which I why I introduced H.R. 1127 to award Mahatma Gandhi the Congressional Gold Medal.
“As we celebrate Indian independence, let us remind ourselves of the great contributions that India has given not only New York City but to the rest of the world as well. May we all follow Gandhi’s directive to ‘be the change you wish to see in the world.”
IAF Guest of honor, actress and model Nargis Fakhri, said in her remarks that “I am so excited to join IAF on their float. I am happy to support the foundation’s mission of Non Violence and Peace. Also thanks to Dr. Neeta Jain for organizing and spreading thw awareness of peace and non violence in the world.”
The day was concluded with a lunch at Utsav Indian restaurant to all IAF members and supporters who were invited by Dr. Neeta Jain and Mr. Pramod Jain.
The IAF Float and march for Non Violence and Peace at India Day Parade was supported by Associations of Indians in North America (AIA), Dropadi Jigyasu Ashram, Hindu Center Inc, India Home, Jain Samaj of USA Inc, New Jersey, Jain Vishwa Bharti of North America NJ, Lohana Samaj of NY, Rotary Club of NY Queens, World Yoga Community, and Planned Act of Kindness.
Dr. Jain, the only Indian-American female elected official in New York City. She is a Democratic District Leader for Assembly District 25 Part B in Queens, which includes Flushing, Kew Gardens Hills, Hillcrest and Hillside Avenue.
She was nominated by the Consul General of India in NY, Ambassador Sandeep Chakravorty, and was honoured by the Society of Foreign Consuls in New York, Inc. on International Women’s Day for her tireless work in the South Asian Community.
International Ahimsa Foundation Inc. was formed in 2012 to spread the message of non-violence and peace from Jain principles to the community. The goal of the foundation has been to promote the teachings of non-violence and peace in thought and action by providing dialogue, peace-building activities, and civic engagement across cultures. The Foundation hopes to encourage students and the community at large to get involved in creating a better world.