Hawaii Celebrates 146th Birthday of Mahatma Gandhi
Hawaii, Aug 06, 2015
NRIpress-Club/Gary Singh/ Dr. Raj Kumar/Dr.Reddy
Mahatma Gandhi was famously known as “Father of the Nation”, and received worldwide recognition for his methods of nonviolence. Mahatma Gandhi’s beliefs and actions brought forth the end of the British Rule using nonviolence, giving India its independence on August 15, 1947.
Gandhi International Institute for Peace (GIIP) founded in Honolulu, Hawaii held its 10th annual event to celebrate the 146th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi on Oct 2, 2015. Over 400 locals and tourists attended the event. Keynote speakers were President Obama’s maternal half-sister and Director of Community Outreach & Global Learning from University of Hawaii, Maya Soetero-Ng, Hawaii Senators Suzanne Chun-Oakland, Brickwood Galuteria and Mike Gabbard, and Councilmember Kimberly M. Pine. There were dialogues from interfaith leaders like Bishop Randolph Sykes- Orthodox Christianity, Rev. Kevin Kuniyak- Buddhism, Sister Joan Chatfeld- Roman Catholic and Veda Das- Sanatan Dharma. There were notable speakers like Spiritual Master, Healer and Master Zhi Gang Sha from China; Prabha Sankarnarayan- CEO, Mediators Beyond Borders from Virginia and Dr. Jared Yurow from Department of Health, Hawaii.
Dr. Raj Kumar, Founder and President of GIIP, received Proclamations from Hawaii Governor David Ige Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell; special messages from U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard; and U.S. Senator Brian Schatz. Dr. Kumar was acknowledged for his great work of raising awareness about Mahatma Gandhi, and his teachings of nonviolence on the Hawaiian Islands and around the world.
The event began with Indian pooja and Hawaiian blessing by Kahu Bruce Keaulani and Kaito Gakko. The Royal Hawaiian Band played the National Anthems of USA and India, and Hawaii Pono’I. Bollywood Hawaii Group performed an Indian classical dance. Wallen Ellingson and children sang peace songs from Keiki Kani studio; and Nimo Patel & Roopal Shah from Gandhi Ashram, India. The finale was done with a candlelight ceremony led by former U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka and Dr. Terry Shintani, Prior from Knights of the Orthodox Order of the St. John. ‘Down to Earth’ and ‘Vegetarian Society of Hawaii’ provided free snacks and water to the audience.
In December 2014, GIIP introduced a bill through Honorable Senators Suzanne Chun-Oakland and Brian Taniguchi in the 28th Hawaii Legislative Session. The Senate and the House unanimously passed SB 332 to designate October 2 as “Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi Day” as a day of recognition and observance, but not as a State holiday. Hon. Governor David Ige signed the bill into law as Act 5 on April 9, 2015. Hawaii has become the First State in the Union to so honor Mahatma Gandhi.
The General Assembly of the United Nations also passed a resolution on June 15, 2007, and declared October 2 as “International Day of Nonviolence”.
Once Mahatma Gandhi said,
“Be a change, if you wish to see change in the world.”
GIIP is a 501(c)(3), nonprofit organization. For donation and more information, please visit www.gandhianpeace.com or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hawaii celebrates Act 005, Oct 2 as M.K. Gandhi Day Hawaii, Aug 05, 2015
The foundation for the Gandhi International Institute for Peace was laid after terrorist attacks in New York on September 11, 2001. One of the major goals of this Peace institute is to promote World Peace. For years, in pursuit of this goal, the
Peace Institute has been raising awareness towards nonviolence in Hawaii.
In June 2007, when the United Nations designated October 2 as a day of Nonviolence, Dr. Raj Kumar organized a Peace March, which was supported by 23 organizations. Thousands of people joined the march in solidarity and walked from Ala Moana Park to Kapiolani Park in Honolulu. Since then, the Gandhi International Institute for Peace has organized annual peace conferences, and multi cultural events, building bridges with various organizations in Hawaii and around the world.
During one of these cultural events in April 2011, Dr. Arun Gandhi, a grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, visited Hawaii and shared the teachings of Gandhi with teachers, students, political leaders, human rights leaders and interfaith leaders.
Encouraged by success of these events, and building on a greater awareness of nonviolence in Hawaii, in December 2014, Dr. Raj Kumar, founder, and the president of GIIFP, introduced a bill through Honorable Senators Suzanne Chun-Oakland and Brian Taniguchi in the 28th Hawaii Legislative Session. The Senate and House unanimously passed SB 332 to designate “October 2 as M. K. Gandhi Day in Hawaii.”
On April 9, 2015, Hawaii’s Honorable Governor, David Ige, signed SB 332 into law as Act 005 (15). Hawaii has become the first State to pass such an important bill in the United States. Hawaii is a melting pot, where people from different ethnic backgrounds and different faiths live in harmony. Hawaii and its people have become a role model for the rest of the world by sharing the Aloha spirit with one another and with visitors when they travel to this very special place.
A large bronze statue of Gandhi is located under a banyan tree, next to the Honolulu Zoo, and near the beach in the heart of Waikiki. Gandhi’s statue is a symbol of peace, nonviolence, equality, justice, and freedom. Without a shot being fired, Gandhi's beliefs and actions brought the British Empire to its knees, giving India its freedom in 1947. It reminds us that peace is possible even in the midst of turmoil. Gandhi is not alive today but he has become immortal due to his sacrifices and noble deeds for humanity.
Peace is not an absence of noise, violence and war but it is an internal experience. When human beings cultivate the eternal peace within, they become ambassadors of peace, planting seeds of nonviolence among children, and transforming the world with a collective consciousness and create a safer place to live for future generations.
“Be a change, if you wish to see change in the world.”
Gandhi International Institute for Peace is a 501 (c) (3), nonprofit organization. For donations and more information, please visit www.gandhianpeace.com.