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EGMH History and Milestones

The Eternal Gandhi Museum Houston (EGMH), formerly known as Mahatma Gandhi Library, was established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit in 2002. It has been advancing peace, education and understanding of nonviolent conflict resolution by the following:
  • Raising cultural awareness by sponsoring interactive, international cultural programs
  • Conducting youth activities including essay, speech, poster, multi-media, and debate contests
  • Coordinating field trips and storytelling, to advance understanding of the revolutionary work of Mahatma Gandhi
  • Organizing lectures, traveling exhibitions, and targeted educational activities that highlight Gandhian principles of nonviolence, truth and peace
  • Holding active workshops that provide enlightenment and education on the wisdom of Gandhi
EGMH executes these activities annually with the support of dedicated volunteers and by partnering with peer cultural and educational organizations.

Highlights of the organization's most significant achievements are:

Since 2006, EGMH has organized an annual Walk for Peace and “1000 Lights for Peace” cultural events at Miller Outdoor Theater, honoring and celebrating Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday. Over the years thousands of people in the Houston community have participated and are impacted by these annual events. EGMH has collaborated with more than 70 Houston-area organizations to celebrate Mahatma Gandhi Week - which consists of conducting a series of activities including essay, speech, poster, multi-media and debate contests, field trips, storytelling, and other activities with the simple aim of involving youth so they may learn and understand the revolutionary work of Mahatma Gandhi.

In 2018 and 2019, EGMH’s “Gandhi Darshan” (Glimpses of Gandhi) exhibition was displayed at the University of Texas, Sam Houston State University, Houston Public Library downtown, Harris and Fort Bend County public libraries, Methodist West Hospital, and other locations in Greater Houston area as part of yearlong Gandhi Sesquicentennial celebrations.

In 2019, received written support from Honorable Dalai Lama, endorsing the building of Eternal Gandhi Museum Houston (EGMH) and Hon. Sylvester Turner, Mayor of Houston, issued a press release supporting the opening of the museum.

EGMH has received a $2,000/year grant from Indo-American Charity Foundation since 2017.

$10,000 grant was awarded by the City of Houston Arts Alliance for the yearlong city-wide Gandhi Sesquicentennial celebrations held in 2018-2019.

EGMH has awarded over $10,000 in prizes to annual Mahatma Gandhi Week contest winners.

In May of 2017, acquired a 3-acre parcel of land for the Eternal Gandhi Museum Houston, fully paid by funds raised ($1.1 million) by our Board of Directors. The Houston Endowment Foundation and The Aditya Birla Group awarded a capital grant of $500,000 each and The Elkins Foundation $ 100,000. A $3 million Community Project Funding request sponsored by Congressman Al Green was granted by the US House Appropriations committee and is awaiting final approval by the House and the Senate. A $475,000 grant was received from the Fort Bend County Nonprofit Partnership Grant Program,

The Story

Atul Kothari, the founding Trustee of EGMH, grew up in India, in the Sabarmati suburb (location of the original Gandhi Ashram) of Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Atul left India in 1974 to seek higher education in the United States. This seemed backwards to him, as he recalled how India was once the epicenter of the world, with people clamoring to visit. He wondered, “Why this reverse flow?” For many years, he believed it was due to the western world working to advance the fields of science and technology, while India focused on the pursuit of spirituality. In 2001, Atul asked himself a new question, “What is science and technology?” Realizing it is nothing more than the relentless pursuit of physical truth, he asked himself, “Who was the greatest practitioner of truth?” Mahatma Gandhi came to mind. It was then that Atul read the autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi, The Story of My Experiments with Truth, and discovered the essence of life is to practice one’s own truth nonviolently. It was his “aha moment.”

Gandhi notably said, “Be the change you wish to see.” Atul Kothari contemplated what he could do to spread this simple idea of practicing your truth nonviolently.

Since 2002, Atul and a dedicated cadre of like-minded individuals formed the Mahatma Gandhi Library (renamed the Eternal Gandhi Museum Houston in 2019) to honor Mahatma Gandhi, study his teachings, and give back to the community through activities and events that shared teachings of nonviolent conflict resolution. In 2004, EGMH inaugurated Mahatma Gandhi Week, a weeklong celebration of Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, and by 2006, the event became a citywide elebration, culminating with “1000 Lights for Peace.”

Eternal Gandhi Museum Houston also hosts Mahatma Gandhi’s Shraddhanjali, a Memorial Service, with Unity of Houston, Arya Samaj Greater Houston, Interfaith inistries for Greater Houston, The Ismaili Jamatkhana and Center, Mind Body Spirit Institute, and Houston Baha’i Center. It is observed annually on the Saturday following January 30th, the day Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated.

The “1000 Lights for Peace” celebration on October 6, 2019, was the culmination of the yearlong Sesquicentennial Mahatma Gandhi Birthday Celebration. Supported in part by the Houston Arts Alliance, the “1000 Lights for Peace” included keynotes from Mayor Sylvester Turner of the City of Houston and Commissioner Rodney Ellis of Harris County Precinct 1.

Motivated by the synergies of their existing programs and diverse partnerships, the Board of Trustees decided to open a museum in Houston. Meetings with Aditya Birla Group, founder and patron of the Eternal Gandhi Multimedia Museum in New Delhi, India, resulted in the generous donation of multimedia exhibits valued at $500,000, followed in January 2017 by a signed memorandum of understanding, granting exclusive rights to build and open the only Eternal Gandhi Museum in North America.

“Nurturing intercultural understanding and relationships is [an area that is] our weakest.… We want more than just festivals or events.”

– Dr. Pamela Lewis (PhD), Board of Directors, Compassionate Houston
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