Preview of “Gandhi’s Gift” Screened at the Observation of Shrddhanajali to Mahatma Gandhi at Unity Houston

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Children of Arya Samaj DAV Sanskriti School performing at the commemoration of 68th Shrdhhajnjali, Memorial Service, to Mahatma Gandhi at Unity Houston. The event was organized by Mahatma Gandhi Library.

HOUSTON: Mahatma Gandhi who spread the message of non-violence, truth and global peace, died on January 30, 1948. Mahatma Gandhi Library (MGL) in collaboration with Unity Houston commemorated Shraddhanjali, a memorial service, on Saturday, January 30, at Unity Houston.

Mahatma Gandhi said “I shall conquer untruth by truth.  And in resisting untruth, I shall put up with all suffering.”  He was never afraid of death.

Currently, the world is encountering several challenges including intolerance, impatience, and terrorism. Hence, it is essential to follow the ideas and principles of Mahatma Gandhi, especially truth and non-violence, not only to achieve international peace and prosperity, but achieve the same within one’s own heart.

Mahatma Gandhi Library is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the universal values of peace, non-violence, truth and love. The library was started almost twelve years ago by the vision and dedication of Atulbhai Kothari and today, with many dedicated volunteers, their worthy efforts continue.

The Shraddhanjali program started at 4:00 pm with a gracious welcome by MGL board member Dr. Sitaben Kapadia, one of the few living who have actually met Gandhiji in person.

Rajan Chawla was a brilliant Master of Ceremony for the program, which initiated with an Invocation from Reverend Mindy Lawrence, associate minister at Unity Church who oversees Pastoral Care, Unity Peacemakers, and the Unity in Community Service Team. This was followed by a special reciting of Shlokas (songs) from the Bhagavad Gita (Gandhiji’s favorite Scripture) by the adorable students of DAV Montessori School.

The program continued with a beautiful rendition of the bhajan  Vaishnav Janato by the glittering voice of Smriti Srivastava and her group from Arya Samaj.  7-year old. Khusi Kawedia, 2nd place winner of the annual speech contest delighted the audience with her speech, “Bullying: my perspective”.  Cynthia Lucas, a film producer and writer of transformative documentaries that educate, inspire and motivate, presented a brief clip of her newest production which will be released in late 2016, Gandhi’s gift, a feature length documentary guiding the audience through the climactic, last eight years and four months of Gandhi’s life. The audience was then treated to a wonderful dance by the students of DAVSS, choreographed by Dolly Goyal titled Bande me tha Dum Vande Mataram.

Atul Kothari, founder of the Mahatma Gandh Library, graciously recognized Shafeli Jhaveri, a long-time volunteer of the library and the perennial cultural program coordinator of 1000 Lights for Peace, for her excellence in service and self-less dedication to the activities of the Library.

MGL’s speech contest winner, Anusha Satya, recited her winning speech with absolute conviction titled “Does War lead to Peace.”

High school student Jai Sehgal presented his awe-inspiring 1st place winning entry in iTribute multimedia presentation entitled “Spirit of Service around me.”

The keynote speaker for the program was Rev. Kyra Baehr of Unity Bay Area Houston who gave a moving tribute and explained “that there is a powerful force within all of us that can lead to miraculous changes”

The program continued with the adorable children from DAV Sanskirti School of Arya Samaj Houston led by Smriti Shrivastava, as they sang beautiful song “De Di Hamein Azadi.”

Charlie Patel, president of the India Cultural Center, then addressed the audience and gave his support and pledged continued collaboration with the Mahatma Gandhi Library.

Dr. Manish Wani, on behalf of the MGL board, gave a brief presentation of 2 exciting new upcoming events: a soon to be published book about Kasturba, authored by Dr. Sitaben Kapadia and the securing of land in Stafford, Houston and plans for constructing a Mahatma Gandhi museum.

The program concluded with a vote of thanks by Vijay Singh, Chair of the program. The crowd was encouraged to visit the Gandhi Darshan Exhibit on display and the MGL booth. The event culminated with the singing of one of Gandhiji’s favorite bhajans, Raghupathi Raghav Raja Ram” by the Arya Samaj choir students led by Smriti Shrivastava.  It was followed by beautiful instrumental music in the background while all present enjoyed refreshments.

The Shraddhanjali program at Unity Houston  commemorating Mahatma Gandhi’s life was truly inspirational and proved to keep the legacy of peace, truth, non-violence and love alive, penetrating the hearts of all in attendance.