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Tulsi Gabbard wins hearts at AAPI Convention

June 09
23:17 2013
Tulsi Gabbard with newly elect President of AAPI Dr Jayesh Shah, Dr Bharat Barai, a recipient of Ellis Medal  of Honor and Dr Umang Patel AAPI Convention Co Chair

Tulsi Gabbard with newly elect President of AAPI Dr Jayesh Shah, Dr Bharat Barai, a recipient of Ellis Medal
of Honor and Dr Umang Patel AAPI Convention Co Chair

CHICAGO: It was a rare combination of three human traits – glamour, intelligence and sincerity – nicely personified by Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard from the State of Hawaii that easily won the heart and minds of all those attending a luncheon meet at the 31st AAPI Convention held during Memorial Day weekend in Chicago.

Her straight talk from the heart underlying the basics of Karma Yoga while relating her recent experiences in Iraq war was hugely appealing. During her stay in Iraq she was disturbed as she saw the terrible effect of war and death.

One day she came across a billboard that read, “Is today the day?” This made her realize the temporary nature of our lives and the bodies, and the great privileges and responsibilities that we have to make the positive impact on the society around us doing our best to be of service to others. “And that is Karma Yoga,” she observed

Rep. Gabbard said, in her struggles and anxieties and pain, she took solace and comfort in the Gita, from where “I drew strength and shelter, being inspired by the wisdom and knowledge.
Today, it continues to inspire me to be of service at the national level. In the midst of all the divisiveness and rhetoric, the teachings of the Gita inspire us towards the understanding on the unity that must exist between us people and souls,” the youngest Congresswoman told the audience.

She exhorted all those in the medical profession to understand the transient nature of the body and have this realization ingrained in mind during everyday medical practice Quoting Mahatma Gandhi “My message is my life,” she spoke on behalf of both Indian and Indian Americans, and for broadening Indo-US relations. “My path to coming here, allowing me the privilege of serving in the Congress is so warming and meaningful as to share the room with so many people who understand the deep meaning behind the choice of me taking the oath of office to be a member of the US Congress on the Gita,” she said receiving the loudest applause at the AAPI convention.

At the AAPI women’s forum, she said she grew up as the shyest kid in a family of five siblings. ‘Nobody ever thought I would become a Congresswoman. I never went for any training in public speaking. At 21, I saw an opportunity and also a vacuum in leadership. I needed to do something. I made a decision to contest for the State House and began campaigning; I somehow overcame my fear and began knocking the doors. I was not sure about the responses. Many welcomed, some questioned my qualification. They would say ‘you are too young for this. Why don’t you go for some partying? ”

“One day I saw a woman showing a scribbled note from a car, which said ‘don’t let us down.’ It was a moment of realization and I stayed put and here I am now before you relating my experiences,” she said amidst applause.
Introducing Tulsi Gabbard, Dr. Bharat Barai said that born in 1981 in American Samoa, she grew up in Hawail and helped manage her family’s small business. She graduated from Hawaii Pacific University with degree in International Business. Her commitment to serve the community and making positive impact has influenced every major decision in her life.

He recounted how she voluntarily sacrificed her reelection bid in 2004 in order to serve with the National Guard in Iraq, only to be reelected in 2013 as the first Hindu member of Congress. Of Samoan-Caucasian parentage and converting by choice as a teenager, Gabbard affirmed her attachment to India through her adopted faith and its spiritual gift of the Bhagavad Gita, the bedrock of her political commitments, she said

She is coming to Chicago on June 16 for a Dharma Bee competition at the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago. The community plans to have a fundraiser for this decorated young veteran who is seen by many as a role model for young men and women alike.

Suresh Bodiwala & Ramesh Soparawala

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