CHICAGO: Eulogizing the timeless Gandhian ideals of tolerance, non violence and inclusivity in the context of rising sea of discord and social disharmony, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel underscored once again the need to embrace Gandhi values of tolerance, peaceful coexistence, harmony and love at the Mahatma Gandhi Birth-Anniversary Luncheon held recently at Westin Hotel in downtown Chicago on November 15.
The event, the fourth in a row in the past as many years, was under the aegis of the Delhi Committee of the Chicago Sister Cities International and it attracted a good number of prominent corporate, community and business leaders.
Presiding over the stately luncheon, Smita N. Shah, Chair, Chicago Sister Cities International – Delhi Committee, welcomed the august gathering and with her profound sense of eloquence outlined the far reaching deep-rooted global influence of Mahatma Gandhi and his noble ideals that till today bear huge relevance. She was one of the prime organizers and she did demonstrate her organizing ability and leadership qualities.
Smita Shah brought forth the historical reference of Henry Thoreau’s philosophy of civil disobedience which she said was reaffirmed by Mahatma Gandhi applying the principles of non-violence and civil disobedience which led to India’s tryst with destiny of independence and freedom.
She expressed heartfelt thanks to Mayor Rahm Emanuel for his presence and for his help in hosting the luncheon in observance of Gandhi Jayanti. Mayor Rham has been contributed greatly in making the City of Chicago a warm welcoming place for all immigrants regardless of their origin, faith and color, which she added, best exemplifies Gandhian character.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel paid rich tributes to Mahatma Gandhi describing him as ‘the apostle of peace,’ commended Chicago Sister City International for honoring Mahatma Gandhi with this commemorative event which serves as a reaffirmation of “who we are as Chicagoans.” He added that the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr. pave the way for Americans and help in guiding the succeeding generations the timeless values of their preaching.
Mayor Emmanuel recalled his grandfather’s migration and how he would like to see Chicago as a welcoming city. He then acknowledged valuable contribution of Niranjan Shah & Smita Shah in the cultural enrichment of Chicago city.
Later, Mayor Rahm Emanuel was presented with a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi with a Gandhian inscription which was presented by Niranjan Shah along with Smita Shah, Keerthi Ravoori and Babu Patel. Earlier, Jeff Malehorn, President & CEO of the World Business Chicago, welcomed the guests and the Mayor. From the Indian Consulate Consul OP Meena had graced the occasion
Students from Loyola, East West and Columbia University performed “A Cappella” a medley of melodious songs to set the tone for the afternoon celebrations. The event concluded with an elegant stately lunch at the Michigan Ballroom.
Ramesh Soparawala & Keerthi Ravoori