Gandhian Society, GOPIO Mark Indian Independence Day, Raise Funds for Ambulances in Rural and Tribal Areas
Organizers and Indian American dignitaries at the Gandhian Society and GOPIO’s Indian Independence Day celebration. (photo provided)
India-West Staff Reporter
The New Jersey-based Gandhian Society along with the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin chapters of Manhattan and Central Jersey Aug. 15 hosted an event to celebrate Indian Independence Day as “Swaraj” at the Royal Albert Palace in Fords, New Jersey.
The event was attended by several Indian American dignitaries and included a Khadi fashion show and a musical competition based on patriotic songs and on Gandhian ideology.
The event also raised funds for providing ambulances to help the secondary health sector in rural and tribal areas of India.
Gandhian Society founder Bhadra Butala said that the society has committed to providing 50 ambulances this year, which will be run and maintained by Gandhian groups in the rural and tribal areas.
The event raised funds for 10 ambulances, the news release noted.
The chief guest at the event was A.K. Vijayakrishnan, consul for community affairs at the Indian Consulate. Other dignitaries included GOPIO International chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, New Jersey State Rep. Raj Mukerji, Democratic Party nominee for mayor in Edison Sam Joshi, and former Assemblyman and New Jersey Assembly Speaker, and current Public Utilities Commissioner Upendra Chivukula,
“The Gandhian Society was playing an important role in making the younger generation aware of the values and principles of the Mahatma Gandhi and the importance of non-violence,” said Vijayakrishnan.
The consul also thanked both the organizations for their valuable contribution during the COVID crises in India, the release noted.
Abraham said that while Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent Satyagraha movement brought independence to India, many in India and outside doubted whether the new republic will sustain itself, due to widespread ignorance, poverty and divisiveness of our people, however, India made progress under democratic rule in all the seven decades and is now moving forward to become the third largest economy in the world in this decade, according to the release.
Added Mukerji: “Mahatma Gandhi has been an inspiration to many leaders in the USA like Martin Luther King, President Obama and he himself is a big admirer of the Mahatma for the values that he propagated during his lifetime.”
Chivukula said “the teachings of Mahatma are still relevant today and that the values system of the mahatma is identified with the diaspora.”
Democratic mayoral candidate Sam Joshi has said that he is committed to ensuring that a Gandhi Museum comes up in Edison, New Jersey and he will extend all support to the project, the release noted.
New Jersey state Senator Vin Gopal was represented by his staff. There were many community leaders who participated at the celebration including GOPIO International coordinator-at-large Asha Samant, hoteliers Maganbhai Patel and Dalpat Patel, GOPIO-Manhattan executive VP Rajasekhar Vangapaty and Dr. Ravinder K. Thota of the American Telugu Association, it said.
The event had 10 people coming forward to donate ambulances with their generous donations. Those who donated ambulances include Bhadra Butala, Hasmukh Patel, Krishna Pirlamarla, Dr. Prabhu Rachakonda, Maganbhai Patel, Gita Butala and others, the release said.
The event also featured a pictorial exhibition of Mahatma Gandhi and quotes from his life and other leaders that took him as their inspiration. A simple breakfast and lunch were served at the event.
The Gandhian Society is looking for more sponsors of ambulances to the remote rural areas of India. The sponsor’s name will be inscribed on the ambulance. Contact them at (201) 889-8888.