Sukanya Bharatram, great granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, headlined the celebration of the 146th birth anniversary of Gandhi featuring a peace walk and a banquet at Park Plaza Towers in Dallas, Texas last week.
The Oct. 2 event hosted by Mahatma Gandhi Memorial of North Texas was attended by more than 300 members of the community. Those at hand included Prasad Thotakura and Taiyab Kundawala, chair and co-chair of MGMNT, respectively, and Irving Mayor Beth Van Duynne.
Sunkanya Bharat Ram made a presentation on Kasturba Gandhi, wife of the Mahatma who stood by her husband throughout her life. Ram, the chief guest of honor and keynote speaker, reminded the audience of Gandhi’s efforts for peace and harmony which was spread all over the world and influenced people like Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela.
In his opening remarks Thotakura mentioned how Gandhi always wanted gram swaraj and encouraged khadi and small-scale industries and dreamt of self-reliant villages. He urged all to use Khadi and kuteer (cottage industry) products as much as possible to support thousands of workers who depend on these industries in India.
He thanked Mayor Duynne for supporting to have Mahatma Gandhi memorial in Irving as also the prime sponsors, including Ramesh Bhatia, Trammell Crow, Pepsico and FunAsiA. Van Duynne thanked the Indian-American community for their great contributions to the country, and especially to Irving.
Bharatram, who serves as a trustee of Hyderabad-based Kasturba National Trust, was given ‘Distinguished Service Award’ by chief guest John Hammond as well as M.V.L. Prasad and C.C. Theophine.
The next day MGMNT organized ‘Gandhi Peace Walk’ led by the India Association of North Texas. The event was attended by more than 600 people dressed in white clothes.
Thotakura said that the essence of the Gandhi message is sarvodaya – welfare of all, which he said, is possible only with equality and mutual respect. Gandhi, he said, was much ahead of his times and he is more relevant to modern times than his own times.
At the peace walk Bharatram released ten white doves to symbolize peace and harmony.