Shraddhanjali 2018, Commemoration of 70th Death Anniversay of Mahatma Gandhi


People from different faiths paid tribute to Gandhian Philosophy of practicing one’s truth while adhering to non-violence on Saturday, February 3 at Unity of Houston.

HOUSTON: Mahatma Gandhi Library (MGL), and Unity of Houston jointly observed Shraddhanjali, Memorial Service, to commemorate the 70th death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on Saturday, February 3 at Unity of Houston in collaboration with Arya Samaj Greater Houston, Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, The Ismaili Jamatkhana Center, Houston Non-violent communications, Compassionate Houston, Rothko Chapel and Baha’I Faith.

It was quite a thing to behold!  So many different faiths paid tribute to Gandhian philosophy of practicing one’s relative truth while adhering to non-violence. Mahatma Gandhi who spread the message of truth, non-violence, and global peace, died on January 30, 1948. He said “I shall conquer untruth by truth.  And in resisting untruth, I shall put up with all suffering.”  He was never afraid of death.


Rev Mindy Lawrence, Associate Minister at Unit of Houston, welcoming everyone to Shraddhanjali.

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

MGL is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the universal values of truth, non-violence, love and service. The Mahatma Gandhi Library was founded in 2004 through the vision of Atul Kothari and today 14 years later, the non-profit continues to make an impact in the Houston community because of many dedicated volunteers.


Children from DAVSS Sanskriti Sunday school of Arya Samaj Greater Houston performing Aye Malik Tere Bunde Hum at the Shraddhanjali.

The annual Shraddhanjali program started at 3:00 pm with a gracious welcome by Rev Mindy Lawrence, Associate Minister at Unity of Houston. Sanjay Jain was a brilliant Master of Ceremony for the program, which commenced with an Invocation from Anisa and Alma Roshan-Zamir from the Baha’I Interfaith Devotional group. This was followed by garlanding of Mahatama Gandhi’s portrait and lighting of the lamp.  Next was a beautiful rendition of the bhajan Aye Malik Tere Bandey Hum, by the melodious voices of DAV Sanskriti Sunday School students from Arya Samaj Greater Houston lead by their inspiring teacher, Smriti Srivastava.

Anusha Sathya from Seven Lakes High School, 2nd place winner of the annual MGL speech contest, delighted the audience with her speech, “Peace is the goal, non-violence is the way”.  Laura Arango and Hannah Lindley on behalf of the Powell Lindsay Suitcase Theatre of the Baha’I faith shared with the audience a song based on the words revealed by Bahauallah.

Unity of Houston was recognized with a plaque of appreciation given to Rev Mindy Lawrence by Atul Kothari, trustee of MGL, for their gracious hospitality and years of collaboration and support of the Mahatma Gandhi Library. Karen Starz. President of Houston Nonviolent Communications gave a stimulating perspective on authenticity as exemplified by Mahatma Gandhi and the importance of this value.

The audience was then treated to a wonderful dance by Arya Samaj DAVSS, choreographed by Dolly to the National Song of Bharat, Vande Mataram, using the vivid colors of Bharat’s flag. The keynote speaker for the program was David Leslie, Executive Director of Rothko Chapel. His stimulating speech reminded us that pluralism and diversity could be portals to unite us all. Kamal Haji then conducted the Ismaili Jamatkhana choir in their beautiful rendition praising Allah bringing tears of joy in the eyes of many in the audience. Ajit Paralkar, chairman of the Gandhi Sesquicentennial committee, spoke about the upcoming yearlong celebration of Gandhi’s 150th year birth anniversary, to be held from October 2018 to October 2019. Organizations and academic institutions are invited to host events celebrating Gandhi’s message of truth, nonviolence, love and peace. Visit for more information.

High school student Arnav Sood presented his awe-inspiring 1st place winning entry in iTribute multimedia presentation entitled “A Force More Powerful, my perspective.” Mr. Bob Fleming, chairman of the board at Compassion Houston, gave his personal insights on Gandhiji’s 11 vows and what it means to live a life of spiritual growth. The program continued with the adorable children from DAV Sanskirti School of Arya Samaj Houston led by Smriti Srivastava, as they proudly sang Vande Mataram.

Dr. Manish Wani, on behalf of the MGL board of trustees, gave a brief presentation of Eternal Gandhi Multimedia Museum Houston being built by MGL. The exhibits of this museum are being donated by the Birla group from India. The land has been purchased and architectural renderings are ready.  Everyone in the community is invited to do their share to keep the flame alive of the world hero, Mahatma Gandhi.  To take a virtual tour of the museum please visit

The audience was then treated to the amazing voices of the Unity of Houston choir, singing “The world needs all the good I can do, Amazing Grace and the Peace Song. The program concluded with a vote of thanks by Sanjay Jain. The crowd was encouraged to visit the Gandhi Darshan, Glimpses of Gandhi, exhibition on display and the MGL booth. The finale was paying respect to Mahatma Gandhi by the audience, bowing before a picture of Mahatma Gandhi, while Smriti Sriivastava and her group sang one of Mahatama Gandhi’s favorite bhajan, Raghu Pati Raghav Raja Ram.

The Shraddhanjali program at Unity of 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.

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