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1st South Asian American Legislative Night hosted in Maryland, Indian Ambassador among the invitees

Ambassador Arun Singh with members of the Indian American community at the South Asian American Legislative Night in Annapolis, on March 16. Photo:

Maryland, US: The Maryland South Asian delegates hosted the 1st South Asian American Legislative Night at the House Building in Annapolis, on March 16.

The event was hosted by the three South Asian Delegates in the Maryland General Assembly: Chairman Kumar Barve, Delegate Aruna Miller and Delegate Dr. Jay Jalisi.

While this was a joint effort by all the three delegates, it was spearheaded by Jalisi, the freshman delegate from the 10th district for Maryland.

India’s Ambassador to the United States Arun K. Singh, and his wife, Maina Chawla Singh, were in attendance, along with a representative from the Embassy of Nepal.

More than a dozen people were honored at the event, including prominent Indian American community leaders Kirit Udeshi and Sunil Singh, for their outreach and service.

Udeshi is a former president of the Gujarati Samaj. Singh, a well-known entrepreneur, is a former president of the National Council of Asian Indian Associations.

Also honored at the event were Maina Singh, and N. K. Mishra, Minister of Community Affairs at the Embassy of India.

The purpose of the meet was to bring together members of the highly successful South Asian community in Maryland and the surrounding areas, according to the hosts.  South Asians as a community are known for being highly educated, highly entrepreneurial, and financially well-off population.  However, as a community, they are not very politically active.

As South Asians continue to grow their footprints in America, political engagement will need to grow, summed up the legislators.

The event, which was kicked off by the Speaker of the House Michael Bush, was attended by some other members of the Maryland General Assembly.  In attendance were the Majority Leader, the head of the Maryland Black Caucus, and the head of the newly formed Asian Pacific Caucus, which would include Indian American-related issues.

Ambassador Singh, in his remarks, emphasized the impact the Indian diaspora around the world had made.  He noted that the diaspora has made a mark in the United States particularly.  In the US, 1 in 7 patients are treated by Indian doctors.  In addition, Indian Americans have made strides in many other industries such as IT and the hospitality industry.

The event was a great success in bringing the South Asian community together and helping them begin a political dialogue, especially in this election year.  This event is expected to continue on an annual basis with bigger turn-outs and more participation in the years to come, according to the hosts.

Source: The American Bazaar

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Ethnic Indian Jai Sears responds to complaint against the statue of Gandhi in Grenada

Jai Sears wrote in response to a letter on Mahatma Gandhi entitled “Dustbin of history” written by Josiah Rougier

Mahatama Gandhi, leader of non violence

Jai Sears from Grenada, Caribbean has written a letter to editor in response to complaints against the statue of Gandhi in Grenada. Here is the text:

I write in response to a letter on Mahatma Gandhi entitled “Dustbin of history” written by Josiah Rougier and published in the Grenada newspaper, The New Today (Nov 3, 2017). In his letter, Rougier is asking the Government to remove the bust-statue of Gandhi which overlooks Sauteurs Bay in Grenada where East Indians arrived 160 years ago. Rougier’s opinion is based on the false notion that Gandhi was racist because the Mahatma reportedly considered Indians to be superior to black Africans when he referred to the latter as “kaffirs.”

Gandhi was only 27 years old when he made that contextual statement. If Rougier had done his research, he would have found that Nelson Mandela said: “Gandhi must be forgiven for these prejudices in the context of the time and the circumstances.” The quote can be found in “Gandhi the Prisoner” by Nelson Mandela published in 1995. Gandhi was a man; he was not god. And even god made mistakes.

In favour of Mahatama Gandhi
Photo of Jai Sears

Rougier must instead focus on the Gandhi’s vision of non-violent protest and his belief in satyagraha which inspired rebels and revolutionaries around the world. Gandhi’s ideas influenced leaders of the African National Congress and the struggle by Indians and blacks against white apartheid rule in South Africa. From as early as 1956 when he was 27 years old, Martin Luther King, Jr. referred to Gandhi as “the guiding light of our technique of nonviolent social change.”

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Following the success of his boycott, King contemplated traveling to India to deepen his understanding of Gandhian principles. The fact is that Gandhi saw people of all races, castes, colours and creeds as equal which led to his assassination by a Hindu fanatic in 1948. So who is this unknown Josiah Rougier? Is he as illustrious as the great Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King? And is he disagreeing with his possible heroes?

A friend to all.
Jai Sears
Grenada, Caribbean