Lawmakers introduce Gandhi gold medal resolution in U.S. Congress

Ambassador Navtej Sarna paying floral tributes at the statue of Mahatma Gandhi on the occasion of the 69th Republic Day of India, in Washington, DC, on January 26, 2018. (Photo: courtesy Indian Embassy)

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, and all four Indian-American lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives, introduced House Resolution 6916, Sept. 26, “To posthumously award a Congressional gold medal to Mahatma Gandhi in recognition of his contributions to the Nation by the promotion of nonviolence.”

Coming just days before Gandhi’s 149th birthday Oct. 2, the resolution boosts the idea of the Indian leader’s influence on American history, particularly on the civil rights movement in the United States.

According to Congressional records, the resolution has been referred to the Committee on Financial Services and the Committee on House Administration. Reps. Ami Bera and Ro Khanna, Democrats from California; Pramila Jayapal, D-Washington; Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Illinois, were joined by Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, to co-sponsor the resolution.

House Resolution 6916 lays out the history of the revered Indian leader of the independence movement and his philosophy of non-violence, making the case for the Congressional gold medal to be presented to Gandhi posthumously.

“Few people have had as significant and as positive an impact on the world and freedom than Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi,” the resolution begins. “Gandhi led the Indian people to independence from British rule in August 1947 through non-violent means, staging massive peaceful demonstrations against poverty while supporting women’s rights and religious tolerance,” it adds.

“Gandhi’s legacy has inspired hundreds of millions of people around the world to pursue non-violence as a means to achieve freedom and equality, including Martin Luther King, Jr.’s movement to end racial injustice in the United States and Nelson Mandela’s fight to end apartheid in South Africa,” the resolution says, going on to note that for his efforts, Gandhi was given the title of Mahatma or “Great Soul” and often called “Bapu” or father.

Over 2,000,000 people attended Gandhi’s funeral and his memory and teachings persist still today, H.R. 6916 says.

October 2, Gandhi’s birthday, was declared as International Day of Non-Violence by the United Nations to, “disseminate the message of non-violence, including through education and public awareness” and reaffirm “the universal relevance of the principle of non-violence” and desire “to secure a culture of peace, tolerance, and understanding through non-violence”.

The resolution goes on to say it is “more important than ever to ensure “that people around the globe know about, understand, and adopt Gandhi’s principles of ahimsa (non-violence), satyagraha (appeal to, insistence on, or reliance on the Truth) and swaraj (self-rule).”

It calls on the administration to bring out an appropriate gold medal which after it is awarded, would be given to the Smithsonian Institution where it shall be available for display, and urges the Smithsonian to display the medal “particularly in locations as are associated with Mahatma Gandhi.”



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