New York: The International Ahimsa Foundation Inc. and Consulate General of India, NY hosted Mahavir Jayanti, Lord Mahavir’s 2620th birth anniversary on May 15th, 2022. The event also celebrated the organization’s 10th anniversary and India’s yearlong initiative Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. “The program was attended by more than 200 people,” said Dr. Neeta Jain, founder and president of IAF. “Many people watched the live coverage on the television downstairs because there was no more space left upstairs,” she added.
The event was attended by many dignitaries, elected officials and community leaders such as Consul General of India Randhir Jaiswal, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Congresswoman Grace Meng, Assemblyman David Weprin, Deputy Consul General of Israel Israel Nitzan, Democratic District Leader Shimi Pellman and Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media and ITV Gold, and Professor of Religion Jeffrey Long from Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania.
Rohan Narain presented the New York City Mayor’s proclamation to Dr.Jain, for promoting non-violence and peace and he also declared May 15th as International Ahimsa Day in New York City.
Dr.Jain also introduced the new Board of Directors Dr. Ravi Goyal and new Vice President Amarjyoti Jain to the attendees.
A trailer of the movie “Tirthankar Mahavir, Ahimsa-the Ultimate Dharma” directed by Surbhi Pandya and produced by Digambar Jain Sangh of Northern California on the life and teachings of Lord Mahavir was played for the audience.
Dr. Jain dwelt on Lord Mahavir who was born in 599 B.C. during the program titled “Non-Violence, A Message of Lord Mahavir” on his 2,620th birth anniversary. She noted the 5 basic principles of Jainism – Non-violence, Truthfulness, Non-stealing, Self-control, and Non-possession. She stressed on teaching children the principles to make the world a better place. She also said that Lord Mahavir is the one who told the world that “Non-violence is the supreme religion.”
On the occasion of the organization’s 10th anniversary, three prominent personalities were honored with the ‘Ahimsa Award’ for their extraordinary contributions to society– Haridas Kotahwala in the business field, Dr. Subhash Jain in the medical field and Prof. Jeffery Long in the education field who was also a guest speaker.
Congresswoman Grace Meng offered her condolences to Buffalo massacre victims and the 27 people who died in a fire accident in India. “It is so important for us to stand together as diverse communities against violence,” Rep. Meng said. Consul General Jaiswal also said that “Lord Mahavir’s message of non-violence is more relevant in today’s time.”
Sister Sabita from Brahma Kumaris at U.N. led the gathering in a moment of contemplation and meditation through breathing exercises. Ambassador Nitzan in his speech talked about how leaders in several countries had followed the teachings of nonviolence and ahimsa, which if adhered to by everyone, would not lead to tragedies like the killings in Buffalo or the war in Ukraine.
Consul General Jaiswal said he has a special connection to Lord Mahavir because he was born in the same town, Trishala, in Bihar. The Consulate celebrates Mahavir Jayanti every year, he noted, but this year it was even more important as it was part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. “Walk on the path of Lord Mahavir so that we can build a better world to live in.”