Indian Consulate of India, Chicago collaborated with The Gandhi Memorial Foundation, Chicago on October 2nd, 2021, at Heritage Park in Skokie IL, to celebrate the 152nd anniversary of the Father of the Nation.
The Consul General of India to the US, Honorable Mr. Amit Kumar and Mrs. Surabhi Kumar graciously joined Dr. Santosh Kumar-President of Gandhi Memorial Foundation of Chicago, Dr. Sriram Sonty-Vice President, Dr. Vijay G. Prabhakar – Vice-President, Mr. Suresh Bodiwala – Trustee, Dipti Shah-Treasurer, Awilda Gonzalez-Director-At-Large, Bharti Desai-Director-At-Large and Shree Gurusamy – Secretary.
The event commenced with Honorable Consul General Amit Kumar who addressed the guests. He highlighted India’s freedom struggle and the significant role played by Mahatma Gandhi, who walked the path and preached non-violence throughout his life. He highlighted “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav”, which is an initiative of the Government of India to celebrate and commemorate 75 years of India’s progress and the glorious history of its people, culture, and achievements. Consul General praised the Gandhi Memorial Foundation of Chicago Team of Board Members, Metropolitan Asian Family Services (MAFS) staff and Consul General staff members lead by Mr. Ranjeet Singh ji, for doing an excellent job in organizing this important event.
His inspiring speech was followed by the Mayor of Skokie, George Van Dusen, during his speech he said that Township of Skokie is fortunate to have the life-size statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Heritage Park since October 2, 2004, He praised and appreciated the Indian American Community for their support and friendship.
Following that, seniors from Metropolitan Asian Family Services aptly sang the famous Bhajan, “Raghupati Raghava Rajaram”, a song which was extensively used by Mahatma Gandhi to project a secular and composite vision of Indian society.
Dr. Santosh Kumar – President of Gandhi Memorial Foundation of Chicago addressed the guest in her motivating speech. She sincerely thanked Honorable Consul General and his wife for taking their precious time to collaborate and to join this memorable event. She mentioned that Mahatma Gandhi inspired her as a teenager to choose Law as her career rather than being a physician for what she studied for.
Gandhiji ‘s freedom struggle and the injustice done to the motherland emboldened her to become an Attorney to fight for the oppressed. In her speech, she felt the valid reason to talk in Hindi as Hindi being the official language of India. In her assertive speech she emphasized the great saying of Mahatma, “No Religion is higher than the Truth and Righteousness!” She said that Mahatma taught Dedication, Sacrifice and to Stand against Oppression and Wrongful forces, which induced chaos amongst people. A nation should join as one and not get influenced by these wrongful forces. In her speech she urged everybody to follow that and if asked if they were ready to do that!
She thanked Dr. Chadrakant Modi and his wife Dina Modi for donating the 12-foot statute of Mahatma Gandhi, to the Village of Skokie and the Gandhi Memorial Foundation of Chicago. She pointed out that Gandhiji’s practice of Ahimsa (non-violence) which was an extension of his respect for other religions creating a sense of fraternity. She further added that Mahatma Gandhi vehemently opposed injustice and authoritarian rule, which is the primary manifestation of the Gandhian legacy today. Dr. Santosh Kumar was very enthusiastic about the Global Gandhi Youth initiative and praised them for taking this initiative.
Dr. Sriram Sonty, Vice President, Gandhi Memorial Foundation of Chicago presented a set of Gandhian books to Mayor of Skokie George Van Dusen for the Skokie Public Library. He also introduced Global Gandhi Youth USA Chapter Members- Nandini Kandamuri, Rithwik Chekicharla, Sri Sai Kaushik Gollamudi and Manikantha Sri Sai Gollamudi, who spoke about the teachings of Gandhiji as it applies to them today.
State Senator Ram Villavallam, of 8th District of Illinois gave certificates and books to the Global Gandhi Youth USA Chapter Members and congratulated them on their thought-provoking speeches which emphasized the need for tolerance, harmony, and inclusion.
Other important Community leaders present on this occasion included Sohan Joshi, popularly referred as Mayor of Devon – Chicago, 85-year-old Manish Patel-MAFS Senior Citizen, Porus Dadhaboy of United For Peace-Naperville, Sunil Shah-Founder President of FIA Chicago, Dina Modi and Martino Tangkar- Chairman of MEATF. Pastor Jerome Athishtam of Congressman Danny K Davis’s Task Force, Mir Ali-Popular Singer, Anica Dubey AMEC’s Global Outreach Chair, Bihari Beti Neelam Dwivedi of Indian American Business Coalition-Oak Brook, IL Harinder Mangrola-Community Activist, Cook County Judge Sanjay Taylor, & SAPNA Founder Dr Sarada Sonty.
Rudra Garjana Chicago Dhol Tasha Team led by Mandar Pitre did a fabulous job that elevated the spirit of the day. The percussion ensemble performed at the conclusion of the event which reminded of traditional drums being played during Ganeshotsav in India. The Consul General praised the percussion ensemble for their vibrant performance. Dr. Vijay Prabhakar gave a token of appreciation to each artist and emphasized establishing the first GANDHI KING LEGACY CENTER in North America in Chicago, USA.
The event was well moderated by Shree Gurusamy, Secretary of Gandhi Memorial Foundation of Chicago. She thanked the Metropolitan Asian Family Services Seniors and staff for all the floral and food arrangements at the event. Gandhi Memorial Foundation of Chicago Board of Directors, Dipti Shah – Treasurer, Awilda Gonzalez – Director-At-Large, Bharti Desai – Director-At-Large and Suresh Bodiwala – Trustee were recognized for all their voluntary services during the past year.
Metropolitan Asian Family Services (MAFS) as usual prepared delicious Boxed lunches along with hot Tea and water for all the guests. For more information regarding Gandhi Memorial Foundation of Chicago please visit : https://gandhimemorial.org/