indica Washington Bureau –
The year-long 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi commenced at the US Capitol with influential US lawmakers and select Indian-Americans lauding the historic leader’s preaching of peace and non-violence.
Paying rich tributes to the apostle of peace, Congressmen said Mahatma Gandhi has inspired generations of American Social reformers and civil right activists, including Martin Luther King Jr and former President Barack Obama.
“There’s absolutely no way possible that I could be standing before you in the absence of Mahatma Gandhi… I think that all of you know what a profound influence he had on Martin Luther King Jr and the civil rights movement here in the United States,” Indian American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, who was reelected for the second term early this month, said at the Capitol Hill celebration of “150 Years of Mahatma Gandhi.”
Congressman John Lewis had proudly said at one point in time: “If there was no Gandhi, there would be no Martin Luther King and there would be no Barack Obama”.
Indian-American Congressman Dr Ami Bera, who was elected for the fourth consecutive term this past November, said Mahatma Gandhi’s message of peace and non-violence assumes prime importance, especially in today’s world.
At an Indian Embassy event put up in association with over half-a-dozen Indian-American organizations, Ambassador Navtej Sarna said that those working for the upliftment of the society must take inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi.
“…I think anybody who’s a visionary, who was looking at creating a society, correcting the wrongs of society… cannot but take inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi… as he had said, my life is my message,” Sarna said.
“He was one of those rare human beings who actually lived his life to his own standards, which he had set, which nobody asked him to set, which he discovered for himself those standards and he set his lives and he made sure that he stuck to that and when he could not he also repented,” he added.
“Like other mentors of the world who were born from time-to-time on the Indian soil, Gandhi’s ideas and practices became equally adaptable in his own time for millions of his own countrymen and women on the one hand,” eminent Indian-American Dr Bharat Barai said.
Last month, half a dozen influential US lawmakers, including four Indian-Americans, moved a resolution in the US House of Representatives to posthumously award the prestigious Congressional Gold Medal to Mahatma Gandhi in recognition of his promotion of peace and non-violence.
“Mahatma Gandhi’s historic Satyagraha movement of non-violent resistance inspired a nation and the world. His example energizes us to devote ourselves to the service of others,” Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney had said during the popular India Day Parade in New York this August.
The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor given by the US Congress and very few foreigners have been recipients of this award.