Shraddhanjali, a Memorial Service for Mahatma Gandhi


By Dr. Manish Wani

HOUSTON: Mahatma Gandhi who spread the message of non-violence, truth and global peace, died on January 30, 1948. Mahatma Gandhi Library in collaboration with Unity Houston commemorated Shraddhanjali, a memorial service, on Saturday, February 8 at Unity Houston, 2929 Unity Dr.


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 the same within one’s own heart.

The mission of the Mahatma Gandhi Library 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 sharply at 3:30 pm with a wonderful garlanding and lamp lighting ceremony by the Board of Trustees of the library followed by Invocation from Reverend Mindy Lawrence of Unity Houston.

Sam Merchant, on behalf of Honorable Congressman Al Green, presented Mahatma Gandhi Library with an official certificate of recognition from the Congressman’s office.

The program continued with a beautiful rendition of  the bhajans Vaishnav Janato and Dedhi Hume Azaadi by the dazzling voice of Jamunaben Murali, accompanied by Suchetaben Karandikar, Arun Sabhapa on Tabla, and Dr Mahendra Gohi on harmonium.

Dr. Sitaben Kapadia, member of the reading group at the Mahatma Gandhi Library, and Professor Emeritus of English Language and Literature, University of New York, then gave her insightful perspective of Mahatma Gandhi. She is one of the few still alive that has actually seen Mahatma Gandhi in person. DAV Montessori School and DAV Sanskirti School, both from Arya Samaj Houston, presented their adorable and talented students on stage singing beautiful bhajans which were favorites of Gandhiji’s.

Daksh Kapoor, sophomore from Austin High School, presented his awe-inspiring 1st place winning iTribute multimedia presentation entitled “history of non-violence.” Smriti Ahuja, sophomore from Seven Lakes High School delighted the audience with her winning speech, “Is pen mightier than the sword.”

Dr. Phuc Luu, instructor in the department of religion at Houston Baptist University, then gave us a Christian perspective on Gandhiji.

The program continued with an moving skit performed by 4 children, ages 8-12, directed by Bhooma Parvananthy and Mary Gore, titled Impact of Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy on the world.

Reverend Ron Lister of Unity Houston gave an inspiring and profound tribute to Nelson Mandela, a devoted follower of Mahatma Gandhi, who spent his entire life advocating human rights and recently died on December 5, 2013.

The program concluded with a vote of thanks by Jayesh Shah, Board member of the Mahatma Gandhi Library and chair of the program. The crowd was encouraged to visit the Gandhi Darshan Exhibit on display and the MGL booth. The event culminated with 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.