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Foundation for India Studies Participates in MLK Parade

HOUSTON: Inspired by this year’s theme of the 17th Annual Martin Luther King,Jr. (MLK) Parade on Bridging the Education Divide, Foundation for India Studies (FIS), had signed up for the parade which took place on Allen Parkway East on January 17.

Braving the early morning soggy and chilly weather, eleven Indo-Americans determined to participate and pay their homage to the great American civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who followed Mahatma Gandhi’s principles of non-violence in his struggle to achieve civil rights in America just as Mahatma Gandhi adopted non-violence as a means to fight against the British to achieve India’s Independence.

The parade lasted 2 hours to walk a 2.5 mile route along Allen Parkway East which drew several thousands of cheering bystanders and spectators. Though participants in the walk were mainly African-Americans, there were also Jewish, Chinese and Hispanic groups representing their respective communities.

Volunteers for the FIS walk in the MLK Day Parade in Downtown Houston

Dr. Michele Verma, a member of the FIS team who has been teaching Hinduism and Jainism courses in the India Studies program at UH took a pro-active role in explaining the cheering crowds how Dr. King had followed Mahatma Gandhi’s principles of Non-violence and how FIS participation in the Parade signified the great admiration of the Indian community for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Dr. Michele Verma will be introducing a new course on Hindu Diaspora at UH in the 2011 spring session).

Another noteworthy member of the FIS walk team was Dr. Suresh Shah who adopted a Gandhian life style with his American wife, Karen. He has adopted four children from diverse ethnicities.

Other participants (some not in the photos, but in the walk) were: FIS Vice-Chair, Parul Fernandes, Director of International Studies and programs at UH,  FIS Secretary,Vatsa Kumar, Medi Harinath, Manju Harinath, FIS General Counsel, Bashist Sharma, Indira Sharma, Amrit Sharma, Ravi Sharma, Lakshmi Vavilala and FIS Chair, KrishnaVavilala.

FIS would like to all the participants and congratulates Charles Stamp, the organizer of the 17th MLK Parade for keeping the Legacy and memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. alive.

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