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Foundation for India Studies Participates at MLK Jr. Grande Parade

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HOUSTON: The Foundation for India Studies (FIS) is the only Indo- American Non-profit organization that participates every year in the Martin Luther King,Jr.’s Grande Parade in Downtown, Houston to promote the parade’s vision of achieving equality through education.  Dr. King drew his inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings of peace and non-violence to carry out in America the fight for equality in the non-violent civil rights movement.

On January 20, the FIS Board and its members walked In the MLK Jr Grande parade under the FIS banner. The FIS banner depicts both Mahatma Gandhi and MLK Jr., the apostles of peace and non-violence who shared the same vision and same path to serve their nations. The event chairs for this year’s parade were Dr. Rajender Aparasu and Raghavender Nednur.

The crowds cheered and offered “namaste” as the FIS team walked. “ Namaste” is the humble greeting of Peace and Non-violence which Indians use as a sign of welcome to everyone. “Gandhi Ji” caught the attention of thousands of spectators who thronged all along the parade route. Suresh Shah, a teacher and resident of Kingwood, dressed as Mahatma Gandhi walked with the stick with folded hands offering the peaceful greeting “Namaste”.   Several parade watchers stopped by to take a picture with him. Indo American adults and children joyfully participated in the cool weather.

Like every year, numerous school bands and cheerleading teams participated in the parade. These bands and dances impressed the large holiday crowds on mild winter weather. Commentators covering the event live, which was later shown in the evening broadcasts, talked about how MLK Jr. adopted Gandhi’s principles of peace and non-violence. Parul Fernandes, President of FIS, shared with TV media the vision and goals of the FIS and the importance of the sharing the values and contributions of Indians.

Several children who participated in the MLK Jr Grande Parade and walked under the FIS banner were surprised with the attention that “Gandhi Ji” received.  “It was great to see that people recognize   Mahatma Gandhi,” Aakarsha Saridey (Age 10) commented.   Apoorv Nednur (Age 9)  and Pranav Konduri (12) felt proud to represent the Indian community and be recognized. Saureesh Aparasu (Age 10) said “It is exciting to be part of the parade and distribute flyers about Mahatma Gandhi and MLK Jr. “

Parul Fernandes, President of FIS said: “We are Indo-Americans and, we are definitely connected with America because our leaders Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. King believed in the same ideologies and imbibed in us the values of peace and non-violence. In addition, while living here in America we support such activities because we are no different from those born here. United we are stronger and we want everyone present to know that. It is FIS’s vision to let the world know about India and its contribution to the world though education.

 Mahatma Gandhi said, “ an eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind so non-violence makes the world see the truth”.

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