DALLAS, TX: Mahatma Gandhi Memorial of North Texas (MGMNT) celebrated Gandhiji’s 147th birthday on October 2 at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Plaza in Irving (Dallas), TX with hundreds of people participating in “Gandhi Peace Walk” led by IANT.
It was a quite scenic event to watch as children, men and women wore white dress and white caps. Mrs. Archana Prasad, great granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi along with her husband Hari Prasad attended as Chief Guests of Honor. Mrs. Shabnam Modgil, MGMNT Director welcomed the gathering and reminded everyone that United Nations declared October 2 as International Day of Non-violence.
Rao Kalvala, MGMNT Secretary briefed about the hard work and approval process of having this largest Gandhi memorial in USA and thanked City of Irving and the community. Mrs. Indu Reddy Mandadi, MGMNT Co-chair stated having Gandhi Peace Walk at Gandhi Memorial is a unique and many other communities may not have this kind of opportunity. She thanked India Association of North Texas volunteers and MGMNT leadership for making all the needed arrangements for this meaningful walk.
Dr. Prasad Thotakura, MGMNT Chair reiterated the essence of Gandhi’s life in spreading peace all over the world, emphasizing fighting, conflicts & wars are not solutions for any crisis but only negotiation is. Dr. Thotakura thanked Mrs. Archana Prasad for gracing the occasion to celebrate Gandhiji’s birthday in Dallas.
In her address, Archana shared her vision and experience of working for Gandhi Institute, Memphis, TN that was founded by her father Arun Gandhi. She thanked Dallas Indians for building the largest Gandhi Memorial in USA. MGMNT Board and Chief guests released about 10 white doves in symbol of spreading Peace across the globe.
Hundreds of community members walked around the lake after warm up session by Yoga coordinator Vijay. All community members paid tribute to Gandhiji by offering flowers. IANT secretary B.N. thanked his team members Salman Farshori, Bhima Penta and other volunteers, FunAsiA for providing breakfast, police department and city of Irving officials for making all the needed arrangements at the event.
MGMNT hosted a complete vegetarian, non-alcoholic Gandhi Banquet on the same evening where Mrs. Archana Prasad attended as a keynote speaker. The Banquet theme was – “Peace, Non-violence & Harmony” Dr. Thotakura reminded the great saying “Peace begins with a Smile.” A smile can light up a room so imagine what a world of smiles can do.”
Mrs. Archana Prasad in her keynote highlighted the principles and philosophies of Gandhi and challenges in maintaining her Gandhi legacy. She mentioned almost all Gandhi family members are engaging in several community service activities all over the globe. She particularly mentioned about the noble work of Gandhiforchildren.org doing in supporting needy children.She released MGMNT Special souvenir.
Mrs. Kalpana Bhatia released “Gandhi Memorial – DFW-TX” App which is available currently in Google Play store. MGMNT funded scholarships to UT Dallas students. MGMNT also sponsored UT Arlington students to attend Gandhi Conference in New Delhi, India at the end of May. One of the students Ms. Fatima Hirsi thanked MGMNT for sponsoring and shared her trip experiences in visiting India for the first time.
MGMNT conducted essay writing competitions on “The Relevance of Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violence in today’s world” topic. Archana Prasad awarded the winners Senior Category – 1. Mr. Anshu Jain 2. Ms. Irene Ameena 3. Ms. Tayyaba Ali; Junior Category – 1. Ms. Arja Singh 2. Ms. Ameena Sikka 3. Ms. Ashrithaa Adhibhatla.
Dr. Thotakura read the proclamation from the City of Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne declaring October 2 as “Gandhi Day” in Irving. MGMNT Board felicitated Chief Guest of Honor Mrs. Archana Prasad with Distinguished Public Service Award and Mr. Hari Prasad with a token of appreciation. MGMNT Co-chair, Mrs. Indu Mandadi briefed MGMNT activities in her closing remarks.
MGMNT Co-chair Mr. Piyush Patel thanked chief guests for attending, community for supporting, media for covering, Park Plaza Tower for hosting and scores of volunteers for making needed arrangements. Gandhi Birthday celebrations ended with a sumptuous dinner.