Ahimsa Foundation, Indian Consulate, Celebrate Lord Mahavir, India’s Independence

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Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, center, at lamplighting ceremony surrounded by other chief guests, organizers, awardees, and speakers at the May 15, 2022, Mahavir Jayanti, India’s 75th Year of Independence event held at Indian Consulate in New York. Photo: organizers.

The International Ahimsa Foundation based in tri-state along with the Indian Consulate in New York, hosted a program celebrating Mahavir Jayanti focusing on Lord Mahavir, the 24th Tirthankara of Jain religion. The event also celebrated India’s yearlong initiative-Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav (75 years of India’s independence) May 15, 2022.

A trailer of the movie “Tirthankar Mahavir, Ahimsa-the Ultimate Dharma” on the life and teachings of Lord Mahavir was played for the scores of attendees at the event. “The ballroom was full at the Indian Consulate with more than 200 people,” Dr. Neeta Jain, founder and president of IAF told Desi Talk. “Another 50 or so people watched the live coverage on television downstairs   because there was no more space left,” she added.

Among the speakers at the event was Dr. Jain, India’s Consul General in New York Randhir Jaiswal, Congresswoman Grace Meng, D-NY, Padma Shri recipient Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media and ITV Gold which publishes Desi Talk, Professor of Religion Jeffrey Long from Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, and Israel’s Deputy Consul General Israel Nitzan. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, also attended but could not stay to give a speech.

Dr. Subhash Jain, one of the awardees at the May 15, 2022, Mahavir Jayanti, India’s 75th Year of Independence event held at Indian Consulate in New Yor, with Israel’s Consul General Israel Nitzan, both holding plaque. Seen 2nd from left, India’s Consul General in New York Randhir Jaiswal. Photo: organizers
Founder of Ahimsa International Foundation Dr. Neeta Jain, speaking at the May 15, 2022, Mahavir Jayanti, India’s 75th Year of Independence event held at Indian Consulate in New York. Photo: organizer.
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Dr. Jain dwelt on Lord Mahavir who was born in 599 B.C. during the program entitled, “Non-Violence “A Message of Lord Mahavir” on this 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 5 Jain principles to make the world a better place.

Israel’s Deputy Consul General Israel Nitzan,at Mahavir Jayanti celebrations May 15, 2022 at indian consulate in New York. Photo: videograb ITV Gold.
Three people were recognized for their contributions on the 10th anniversary of Ahimsa International Foundation – Haridas Kotahwala, holding the plaque, (and Dr. Subhash Jain, and Prof. Jeffrey Long- not in photo), at the May 15, 2022, event celebrating Lord Mahavir, Mahavir Jayanti and India’s 75th year of independence. Seen with Dr. Neeta Jain, founder of Ahimsa Foundation at right, and Israeli diplomat Israel Nitzan, 2nd from right. Photo: courtesy organizers.

Three people were recognized for their contributions on the 10th anniversary of AIF which was established in 2012 – Haridas Kotahwala, Dr. Subhash Jain, and Prof. Long. And two youth, who performed a fusion Indian-African dance were also recognized. “All three honorees are purveyors of peace and align with our mission to spread Lord Mahavir’s message of “Live and Let Live,” Dr. Jain noted.

Padma Shri recipient Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media and ITV Gold, speaking at the May 15, 2022, Mahavir Jayanti, India’s 75th Year of Independence event held at Indian Consulate in New York. Photo: organizers.

Dr. Parikh thanked those present and thanked Dr. Jain for the honor of speaking. “The great thing is that (Lord Mahavir) was born in 599 BC, and he gave a message that is tru till today. His message was very simple, do not harm plants, animals and human beings,” Dr. Parikh said. “These are great examples of how to live.” He also considered the Jain message of non-violence as key to India attaining its independence from British rule under Mahatma Gandhi’s leadership; of the advances made in freedom for African Americans under Rev. Martin Luther King’s leadership, and the end of apartheid in South Africa under Nelson Mandela. “Let us hope it will help solve the problem in Ukraine,” Dr. Parikh added.

Congresswoman Grace Meng, D-New York, speaking at the May 15, 2022, Mahavir Jayanti, India’s 75th Year of Independence event held at Indian Consulate in New York. Photo: videograb ITV Gold.

Congresswoman Meng appreciated the diversity of the gathering and called it a special day to remember Lord Mahavir’s teachings as they relate to Ukraine and the May 15, 2022 massacre of 10 African Americans in Buffalo by an 18 year old White man. “It is so important for us to stand together as diverse communities against hate,” Rep. Meng said.

Sister Sebitha Greer, representing the Brahma Kumaris in the U.S. led the gathering in a moment of contemplation and meditation through breathing exercises.

Ambassador Nitzan in his speech, also dwelt on how leaders in several countries had followed the teachings of non-violence and ahimsa, which if adhered to by everyone, would not lead to tragedies like the killings in Buffalo or the war in Ukraine.

India’s Consul General in New York Randhir Jaiswal speaking at the May 15, 2022, Mahavir Jayanti, India’s 75th Year of Independence event held at Indian Consulate in New York. Photo: Videograb ITV Gold

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, India’s 75th independence year.

“When we celebrate the independence and freedom of a modern nation, it is also about nourishing and celebrating ancient values, thoughts and traditions,” CG Jaiswal said. The many challenges of climate change and the lack of unity, alongside the modern technologies, the wealth and teachings from various parts of the world needed to be recalled to move forward. “Walk on the path of Lord Mahavir so that we can build a better tomorrow,” Jaiswal said.

Professor Jeffrey Long of Elizabethtown College, PA, left, with his wife, center,person at right unidentified, at the May 15, 2022, Mahavir Jayanti, India’s 75th Year of Independence event held at Indian Consulate in New York. Photo: organizers
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