The Indian Overseas Congress (IOC, USA) celebrated the 150 Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi along with the 115th Birth Anniversary of Late Prime Minister of India Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri at Fairbridge Hotel in New Jersey. The event was attended by over 150 people and had dignitaries like Anil Shastri (Son of Late Prime Minister Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri), Salman Khurshid (Former External Affairs Minister), Himanshu Vyas (Secretary – All India Congress Committee) address the gathering with video messages from India. The Popular Mayor of Parsippany Michael Soriano was the guest of Honor. The event started off with a beautiful classical dance performance by second-generation kids. Aarush Rompally sang the American and Indian National Anthems.
The event started with videos on the life of Mahatma Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri with bhajans that both the leaders had liked. The event was attended by Indian Overseas Congress President Mohinder Gilzian, Vice Chairman – George Abraham, Harbachan Singh (Secretary-General), Malini Shah (Vice President) Leela Maret (Kerala Chapter President) along with several dignitaries from the Indian Community like Viru Patel (Councilman, Edison), Bharat Patel, Chandu Patel, Harkesh Thakur, Ram Gadula etc. The event was supported by the Gandhi Ashram Trust run by Bhadra Butala, who gave free biographies of Mahatma Gandhi to all the attendees.
The Mayor – Michael Soriano spoke on the influence of Mahatma Gandhi on his ideal – Martin Luther King and said that the values of Mahatma Gandhi were an inspiration to all generations across the world. He said that the Mahatma’s message of inclusion and service to all human beings, honestly with Integrity are universally accepted principles of good human behavior.
He gave away awards to the following people for Community Service. Lal Bahadur Shastri Award for Community Service – Colonel Virander Tavatia. Mahatma Gandhi Award for Community Service to Mukesh Kashiwala, Ravinder Thota, and Bhadra Butala.
Sam Pitrioda addressed the event from Chicago on Facebook Live. He spoke on the influence of the Mahatma Gandhi had on his life and spoke on how he was influenced by the great man very early in his childhood. He spoke on the portal that they had built under the UPA Government with the help of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He added that the value system Mahatma had espoused is currently under attack and those universal values would inspire more people today and keep India secular and united.
Anil Shastri spoke on how the Mahatma has influenced people across different countries and also said that there were over 2 dozen of the Mahatma’s statues in the USA, a country he had never visited. He also spoke on how his own father Late Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri was influenced by the Mahatma. Salman Khurshid spoke on the relevance of Gandhi’s message in the present context and appreciated the fact that there are still many people who valued the principles of the Mahatma.
He also praised the role of Lal Bahadur Shastri in giving importance to farmers and soldiers and the way he administered the country in critical times after the death of Nehru. Himanshu Vyas spoke on how Gandhi’s message of peace, honesty, environment, service to the underprivileged was still relevant in the present context. He also praised the way Lal Bahadur Shastri guided the country in difficult times with his slogan – Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan.
Mohinder Gilzian spoke of the great role of Mahatma Gandhi in shaping a nation with high morals and principles. ‘He has taught us to love everyone – different people, different religions, rich and poor. We should celebrate the differences and make the world a positive place for the generations to come,’ Mr. Gilzian added. He also mentioned the way Lal Bahadur Shastri ran the country and endeared himself to the nation in a short time.
George Abraham spoke about the transformational impact Gandhi continues to have impacted millions of people across the world. He added, ‘Gandhi taught us to accept suffering and even court suffering if we want personal transformation. Gandhi advocated powerlessness as the path to God, and his teachings continue to challenge us to seek God through our own active pursuit of truth and non-violence, and his philosophy is more relevant today than ever’. He also spoke on the high honesty and Integrity of Lal Bahadur Shastri. Harbachan Singh spoke on the value system that the Mahatma has inculcated to the people of India, Malini Shah spoke on the life Mahatma and his message that was conveyed by the way he lived. She also mentioned that she would be hosting her own event on the Mahatma in January 2020. Leela Maret spoke on how the Mahatma has influenced generations of people and continues to inspire people with the way he had lived his life with simplicity and honesty.
The event was planned and organized by Rajendar Dichpally and Dr.Jayesh Patel and supported by Chandu Patel and Harkesh thakur. Ashok Shah helped in arranging the hall and furniture for the event. The event was assisted by the Lal Bahadur Shastri Foundation(India) and Gandhi Ashram (Edison, USA).