The South Asian Times

17 August 2019 07:19 AM

Ahimsa Foundation echoes a message of non-violence on Mahavir and Gandhi anniversaries

New York: International Ahimsa Foundation USA celebrated on May 5 Non-Violence “A Message of Lord Mahavir” on his 2618th birth anniversary and commemorated the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

The event at the Indian Consulate here was graced by distinguished special guests including Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Guest Speaker Professor Lawrence A. Babb of Amherst College, Assemblyman David Weprin, NYS Senators John Liu and Kevin Thomas and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

Over 200 guests attended the event from the Indian American community, foreign press, and diplomatic missions and consulates from Italy, Bangladesh, Japan, Georgia and Indonesia.

Rep Maloney who introduced a bill in the US House of Representatives to posthumously present the Congressional Gold Medal to Mahatma Gandhi in recognition of his promotion of nonviolence, said Gandhi was “transformational in so many ways” and an inspiration to all Americans and people across the world. She said Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr both attributed their philosophy of non-violence and their leadership to Gandhi and both are already recipients of the Congressional Gold Medal.

Consul General Sandeep Chakravorty said Gandhi himself was deeply influenced by the work and principle of civil disobedience of American philosopher Henry David Thoreau. “Our freedom fighters were also deeply influenced by the American independence movement and the Constitution,” he added.

Dr. Neeta Jain, President and Founder of International Ahimsa Foundation (IAF), gave welcome remarks and reiterated in our time the importance of non-violence and teachings of Lord Mahavir and Mahatma Gandhi and related how the Foundation was formed in 2012 to spread the message of non-violence and peace from Jain principles to the community. She is Democratic District Leader for Assembly District 25 Part B in Queens and has won accolades for her tireless work in the South Asian community.

Samanis Malay Pragyaji and Niti Pragyaji of Jain Vishwa Bharati of North America conducted Shanti Ki Preksha (Peace Meditation) chants along with the guests.

Consul General Chakravorty, along with Dr. Jain and IAF Vice President Dr. Raj Bhayani honored the dignitaries – NYS elected officials and diplomats including CG of Bangladesh Sadia Faizunnesa, Deputy PR of Japan to the UN Toshiya Hoshino, and CG of Italy in NY, Giampiero Biagioli.

The guests were entertained by cultural performances by Manglastak Rhythm Dance Academy, Ghoomar by Rhythm Dance Academy and Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram (Gandhi’s prayer song) by United Nations International School. Hon. Judge Deborah Taylor of The Honorable Society of the Inner Temple presented a video commentary on Gandhi.

The evening began with special Jain vegetarian reception and concluded with Jain vegetarian dinner and desserts

Update: 16 May, 2019