Shraddhanjali, Memorial Service to Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi who spread the message of truth, non-violence, and global peace, died on January 30, 1948. Eternal Gandhi Museum of Houston (EGMH) commemorated Shraddhanjali, a memorial service, on Saturday, February 11th at Unity of Houston to commemorate the martyrdom of Mahatma Gandhi for Truth and nonviolence.
Mahatma Gandhi said “I shall conquer untruth by truth. And in resisting untruth, I shall put up with all suffering.” He was never afraid of death. Currently, the world is encountering several challenges including intolerance, impatience, and terrorism. It is essential to follow the ideas and principles of Mahatma Gandhi, especially truth and non-violence, not only to achieve international peace and prosperity, but achieve the same within one’s own heart.
Eternal Gandhi Museum Houston is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the universal values of truth, nonviolence, love, and service.
The Shraddhanjali program started at 3:00 pm with a gracious welcome by Rev Shirley Knight, Associate minister at Unity Houston. Interim EGMH museum director, Mr. G.V. Krishnan was a brilliant Masters of Ceremony for the program, which initiated with a moment of silence to pay respects to the Great Soul, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.
The program started with a beautiful performance by Smriti Shrivastava, director of Swar Sangam School of Music and the precious children of the DAV Montessori School and DAV Sanskriti School of Arya Samaj Greater Houston. The children performed Gayatri mantra and Kabir, Raheem and Tulsi Das ji’s Dohey.
Next, guest speaker Dr. Alejandro Chaoul, assistant professor and director of education at MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Integrative Medicine Program, discussed Gandhi’s Relevance Today and stated, “let us dream of a better world thru meditation and clarity of mind.”
Next was the amazing Unity choir, conducted by Dr. David York. The choir performed Today is the day and There is a river of joy.
That was followed by Fourth grader Shivam Kelkar from Jenks Elementary, Katy ISD, who was the 2nd place winner of the annual MGW speech contest. He delighted the audience with his winning speech, “How do I practice peace.”
The talented Kamal Haji then conducted the Zikr Band in their beautiful rendition of “Allah” and “Lab Pe Aati Hai Dua” (I sing this prayer from my heart) and “AllahTu Hazir” bringing tears of joy in the eyes of many in the audience.
Dr. Manish Wani, Board of trustee member of EGMH, gave an informative update of the museum with a brief video glimpse of the ongoing construction and interior design of the museum and reported all is on track for the museum to open in Fall 2023.
Deputy Indian Consul General, Mr. Sandeep Chaudary addressed the audience and acknowledged the participation of so many children at the program making our future brighter and the global impact of Mahatma Gandhi.
The Tagore Society of Houston presented a beautiful rendition of a Vedic Hymn and one of Gandhiji’s favorite bhajans “Ekla Chalo.” Their choir was directed by Dr. Raja Banga and Ms. Kamalpriya Roy.
Next was a beautiful recitation of a poem and violin soloist from members from the Bahaii community. This was followed by the Keynote speaker for the event, Mr. Ajit Giani, Secretary of the executive committee of the Interfaith Action of Central Texas. His topic was “Is Gandhi relevant for youth today?” Mr. Giani emphasized Gandhi is relevant to all!
Abhinaya School of Performing Arts, directed by Ms. Indrani Parthasarathy, presented a traditional Bharatanatyam dance with intricate rhythmic patterns and fast foot work. It was a beautiful performance.
The program concluded with a vote of thanks by Trustee member of EGMH, Dr. Manish Wani.
In conclusion, Swar Sangam School of Music, directed by Smriti Srivastava, sang one of Gandhiji’s favorite bhajan, Raghupati Raghav Rajaram.
A short reception followed outside with tea and snacks.