Houston, TX: The first museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi in the Americas, Eternal Gandhi Museum Houston, took a concrete step in its journey with a groundbreaking ceremony on July 3rd. The museum is expected to open in 2022.
The Chief Guest for the ceremony was Congressman Al Green. The ceremony was attended by a cross section of the Houston area community. The Guests of Honor for the ceremony were Mayor Turner and Consul General of India Aseem Mahajan.
The Consul General of India informed the audience that the construction of Eternal Gandhi Museum Houston will take place during “Amrit Mahotsav”, the period during which India will be celebrating 75 years of Independence. The deep ties between the city of Houston and India and also between the US and India and globally would strengthen “Because this is truly one of its kind initiative where they will connect locally with many schools, institutions and also showcase the life and message of Mahatma Gandhi.”
Mayor Turner in his address to the audience stated “Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the US and it welcomes the addition of the Eternal Gandhi Museum Houston to its rich cultural landscape.”
Fort Bend County Judge KP George said, “We all know that we are living in a very polarized, political world, and it needs to be taught that without touching a gun or without touching a knife, or without physically fighting, Gandhi shook the British Empire at that time and that was so powerful. And his teachings are inspiring people all over the world.” He added that Fort Bend County will look into the possibility of financially supporting this effort, because these teachings need to be taught.”
The groundbreaking ceremony was preceded by the Hindu fire ritual of “Havan” conducted by Acharya Surya Nanda from Arya Samaj Greater Houston. The Yajmans were Dr. Barkat Charania, Kamal Shah, Mrudula Sutaria, Sangeeta Sutaria and Dr. Kanti and Meena Wani.
In his welcome speech Dr. Manish K Wani, a trustee and co-founder of EGMH said that the concept of bringing the Eternal Gandhi Museum from Delhi to Houston started more than 6 years ago. “Today, we stand on the grounds of a future 12,800 square foot facility, planned by the prominent architectural firm from Houston, RDLR Architects, as a cost-effective structure which will be elegant in its simplicity, like Gandhi himself. EGMH has teamed up with the design and fabrication firm Solid Light from Kentucky. They have craftily designed the interior with innovative multimedia exhibits and are truly creating the heart and soul of this distinguished museum”. Dr. Wani said.
The project budget is $12.5 million which includes a $3 million endowment fund. To date, $3.1 million has been raised.
The ceremony also featured the burial of a time capsule. Prem Cholia and EGMH board member Sesh Bala put together the time capsule to bury a historic cache of goods and information that depicts the current state of the world, with emphasis on the local situation and EGMH beginnings. The plan would be to remove the capsule in maybe 50 years as a means of communication with the future generation.