Eternal Gandhi Museum in Houston Opens on Gandhi Jayanti, Offers Interactive Look at His Life

From left are: Carol McCutcheon, Sugar Land City Council member; Ajit Paralkar, cofounder and trustee; Atul Kothari, founder; Dr. Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi; Isaac Newton Farris, Jr., nephew of Dr. Martin Luther King’s; John R. Naugle, Atlanta City of Peace; Tina Khatri, VP of TDK Construction; D.C. Manjunath, Consul General of India; Martha Castex-Tatum, Houston City Council member; Rep. Suleman Lalani, M.D., Texas HD 76; Dexter L. McCoy, Fort Bend County Commissioner Precinct 4; Barkat Charania, cofounder and trustee; Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis; Andy Icken, Chief Development Officer, Houston Mayor’s Office; Devinder Mahajan, cofounder and trustee. Photo: Juhi Varma


By Juhi Varma

HOUSTON: Martin Luther King’s nephew, Isaac Newton Farris Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, Dr. Rajmohan Gandhi, were among those who gathered Monday afternoon to celebrate the grand opening of the Eternal Gandhi Museum Houston.

Held on Oct. 2, 2023, Gandhi’s 154th birthday, the ribbon-cutting marked the culmination of months of effort and fundraising by founder Atul Kothari and museum board members, who have been working on this project since 2016.

“I read Mahatma Gandhi’s autobiography and it went straight to my heart,” Kothari said. “You must practice your truth, whatever it is, to be the change you want to be.”

This first of its kind, interactive museum offers insights into different chapters of Gandhi’s life, including his childhood in India and early adulthood as a lawyer in Africa.

It also allows visitors to learn about other civic leaders, from King to Nelson Mandela and Cesar Chavez — who embraced nonviolent civil disobedience in their pursuit of social progress.

“Knowledge of how past historical events affected people differently can create empathy in the present for other people of different racial, ethnic, economic, religious or social classes whose history may differ from the mainstream,” Farris said.  “In recognition of that impact that the great Mahatma had on my uncle, my aunt, Coretta Scott King, established the Gandhi Room in the Martin Luther King’s center’s Freedom Hall building, where the millions of tourists who visit the King Center each year can view personal items that belong to the great Mahatma.”

Fort Bend County elected officials lauded the museum’s opening.

“Mahatma Gandhi’s legacy remains deeply relevant in today’s world, where we face pressing global challenges,” U.S. Rep. Al Green said in a statement. “From military conflicts to social injustice movements, his teachings offer guidance for peaceful solutions and social change.”

Green helped the EGMH board secure $3 million through the Community Project Funding to get the project off the ground.

“When we heard about the vision for this facility — going through a pandemic, at a time when there was so much division in our country and our global society — we couldn’t think of a more perfect thing than this to get behind and to support,” said Dexter L. McCoy, Fort Bend County Precinct 4  commissioner.

The museum received a grant of $450,000 from Fort Bend County under the American Rescue Plan in 2021.

The goal is to create a cultural and educational hub for Texas students in grades six-12 by offering curriculum-based tours, inspiring the next generation of leaders to advocate for peace and social justice.

“Thanks to this museum, you can meet Gandhi, King and Mandela,” said Dr. Rajmohan Gandhi. “I salute all of you who created it, the donors, architects, builders. Almost everyone visiting this museum will feel lifted up, they will breathe the air of hope.” — The Houston Chronicle