Fords, NJ: The Gandhian Society, World Vegan Vision and TV Asia in association with the Consulate General of India in New York and the Indian American community, hosted a three-day exhibition from Sept 30 to Oct 2 to mark the finale of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th anniversary. , The celebrations at the Royal Albert’s Palace here included an exhibition as well as the unveiling of a statue of Mahatma Gandhi. The exhibition was stunning for its detailed display of Gandhiji’s life. It included a replica of Gandhiji’s ancestral home. Also, on display were rare photos of Gandhiji and his major campaigns with detailed descriptions of each. Huge cutouts of Gandhiji adorned the exhibition hall. A bust of Gandhiji was also on display.
The gathering was limited to about 75 people at a time because of state Covid guidelines. The three-day event also included a cultural program with dance performances and renditions of Gandhiji’s favorite bhajans.
The organizers and guests, along with Consul General of India in New York, Randhir Jaiswal, also released balloons outside the venue as a symbolic gesture of peace.
The celebrations were cosponsored by Raj Pandya of Pandya Foundation; Dr Mukund Thakkar of Arista Care; Kenny Desai of Tak Group; Albert Jasani of Royal Albert’s Palace; Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan; Oak Tree Business Association and FIA of NY-NJ-CT.
Several speakers addressed the life of the man credited with hastening the independence of India, and especially known for his belief in non-violence and civil disobedience.
On the inaugural day of the exhibition, Consul General of India in New York, Randhir Jaiswal lauded the efforts of the community in putting together the exhibition. “But more importantly, it celebrates his legacy. Thank you very much for being so thoughtful in your celebration,” Jaiswal said at the event. Jaiswal exhorted everyone, especially young people, to visit the exhibition to learn from the life and legacy of Gandhi.
Other attendees and speakers included Woodbridge-NJ mayor John McCormac; NJ State Senator Sam Thompson and several township and Council members from neighboring towns.
Bhadra Butala of Gandhian Society, said “I believe in Gandhi. He is everything for me. I dedicated my life to him.” He later also said, “Gandhi was not a politician. He never believed in the war, or casteism or any kind of discrimination.”
H.K. Shah, founder of World Vegan Vision said, “Truth and non-violence were Mahatma Gandhi’s main principles which should be followed by everyone in today’s world also. He had no wealth, no power, no assets; yet he was the most loved and respected person across the world.”
Nitin Vyas, director of World Vegan Vision, added that Gandhiji’s way of life and principles were more relevant in today’s world and it was paramount that we reflect on his teachings for overall harmony.
Padma Shri H.R. Shah, chairman and CEO of TV Asia, admired Gandhi for being a firm believer of satyagraha. He quoted Leo Tolstoy saying, “Where there is faith, there is love; where there is love, there is peace; where there is peace, there is God; and where there is God, there is no need.”