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Homage to Gandhi

By Mahadev Desai and Viren Mayani
June 2010
Homage to Gandhi

Earlier in the day, the ambassador, along with Mayor Galambos, attended a business luncheon hosted by the Georgia Indo-American Chamber of Commerce. Many business leaders of Atlanta attended the event. Soon after, she met with CNN news anchor Sonia Tucker for an interview.

The next day, the ambassador met with some faculty members of the University of Georgia in Athens, where she also inaugurated the Gardens of the World Ball.

During her whirlwind tour of Atlanta, Ambassador Shankar paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi at the Gandhi statue and to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mrs. Coretta Scott King and at the King crypts. She also visited the Gandhi Room at the King Center. The Rev. Bernice King, Councilman Kwanza Hall, Consul General Arora and Vice Consul Azad were present at the event. Neera Bahl, one of Atlanta’s prominent lawyers, moved the audience with her rendition of Gandhiji’s favorite hymn, “Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram.”

In her remarks, Ambassador Shankar touched upon the accidental initiation of M.K. Gandhi, who had been a barrister, into the nonviolent civil disobedience movement after an experience in Durban, South Africa, when he was thrown off a whites-only train compartment. She reminded the audience that the writings of the great American author, Henry David Thoreau, about civil disobedience had inspired Gandhiji, who in turn influenced Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and enabled the latter to change the course of black history.

The Rev. Bernice King spoke about the love and respect her parents had for Gandhi and how he was a familiar name in their home. It was Gandhi’s emphasis on nonviolence that Dr. King bore close to his heart and taught all his kin, she said.

Councilman Hall spoke of the great service the Gandhi statue renders to the millions visiting it annually by reminding young people of the great lessons to be learnt from history and the good choices they need to make as they grow up in an increasingly diverse world.

Consul General Arora said he always felt at home when visiting Atlanta and meeting the Indian community here.

Ambassador Shankar and the Rev. King exchanged gifts of books.


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