Rich tributes were paid to Mahatma Gandhi across America on the occasion of his 153rd birth anniversary on Sunday. Gandhi’s message of non-violence, respect and tolerance matters the most today, said many people celebrating his birth anniversary across cities.
In Washington, Gandhi Jayanti celebrations resonated with a special event at the Gandhi Memorial Center (GMC) with the recitation of Gandhi’s famous Bhajans by several Americans and members of the Indian diaspora.
The Indian Embassy in Washington, DC paid tribute to the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, on his 153rd birth anniversary at the Gandhi Memorial Center. Floral tributes were paid at several installations of Gandhi’s statue including in New York, San Francisco and Houston. “Happy Gandhi Jayanti! Delighted to celebrate #GandhiJayanti in the presence of Ambassador Shri Taranjit Singh Sandhu @SandhuTaranjitS at Union Square Park, New York,” India in New York tweeted.
Gandhi Jayanti is celebrated every year at GMC since 1959. Gandhi never traveled to the United States, but it is perhaps the only country that has the largest number of statues and busts of India’s father of the nation.
Floral tributes were paid at several installations of Gandhi’s statue including in Washington, New York, Atlanta, San Francisco and Chicago.
“Glimpses of the celebration of #GandhiJayanti at Mahatma Gandhi Statue, Hermann Park, Houston,” India in Houston tweeted.
“On the auspicious occasion of #GandhiJayanti, CG @nagentv & members of Indian diaspora paid rich tributes at the Mahatma Gandhi statue #Embarcadero, SF. Consul General recalled contributions of #fatherofthenation and his enduring legacy,” the Consulate General of India in San Francisco tweeted.
The teachings and philosophy of the apostle of peace have deeply influenced America’s civil rights movement, in particular, that led by Martin Luther King Jr. The two men never got a chance to meet. However, King learned about Gandhi through his writings and a trip to India in 1959. He drew heavily on the Gandhian idea of non-violence in his own activism. King wrote that Gandhi was a “guiding light” for him.
Born on October 2, 1869, in Porbandar town of Gujarat, Mahatma Gandhi or Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi believed deeply in the principles of non-violent resistance and was at the forefront of the freedom struggle against British colonial rule.
The Indian Consulate in New York celebrated Gandhi Jayanti Oct. 2, 2022, at Union Square where Mahatma Gandhi’s statue stands. The celebration is held every year on Gandhiji’s birthday. This was the 153rd anniversary of Gandhiji’s birth. The International Ahimsa Foundation New York and Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan USA joined the Indian Consulate to celebrate the event.
Close to 50 people including India’s Ambassador to the U.S. Taranjit Singh Sandhu, India’s Consul General in New York Randhir Jaiswal, Deputy Consul General Dr. Varun Jeph and several Indian-Americans, including President of Federation of Indian Associations NYNJCTNE Kenny Desai, were at the event.
The statue of Gandhiji was garlanded by the Ambassador and Consul General. Consul General Jaiswal spoke briefly thanking everyone for being there and about living the life and treading the path laid out by Gandhiji.
Ambassador Sandhu was presented with a painting of himself done by well-known local New York artist Manoj Vyas who was also present. The Ambassador thanked organizers for the gift and spoke about Gandhiji’s legacy being relevant to this day, and the concept of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakkam (The World is One), where “There is no compartmentalization in the world,” and what happens in one place affects another.
He also spoke of India’s achievements since independence, and the strides India has made under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He focused on the medical field and the production of vaccines at affordable prices was an immense contribution of India to the world, including for treating COVID. India and the U.S. were playing a very important role in the welfare of the world, Ambassador Sandhu noted.
The event was part of the year-long celebration of India’s 75th year of Independence, the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.
October 2 also coincides with the International Day Of Non-Violence. “On this day every year, the world celebrates the International Day Of Non-Violence, remembering the life path and strategy of the pioneer of the philosophy of Non-Violence, Mahatma Gandhi. It is an occasion to spread the message of Non-Violence through education and public awareness.”
According to the UN General Assembly resolution of June 15, 2007, which established the commemoration, the International Day of Non-Violence is an occasion to “disseminate the message of non-violence, including through education and public awareness.”
The resolution reaffirms “the universal relevance of the principle of non-violence” and the desire “to secure a culture of peace, tolerance, understanding, and non-violence,” the UN noted.
Globally, Gandhi’s birth anniversary is celebrated as the International Day of Non-Violence. Several events are held in India and across the world to mark the occasion.