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India Consulate Chicago hosts ‘Pravasi Diwas’

Pravasi Diwas
Honorable Consul General Dr. Ausaf Sayeed with Dr Prakasham Tata and Mr Porus Dadabhoy.

Chicago, US: The Consulate General of India, Chicago, on January 8, hosted ‘Pravasi Diwas’ at the Consulate premises. ‘Meet the Media’ event was also organized on the occasion.

Addressing the gathering, the Consul General of India Dr. Ausaf Sayeed lauded the contribution of the Indian American Diaspora towards the overall development of India. He further urged them to engage with the Government of India through website and participate in the GOI’s Flagship Programmes such as ‘Make in India’, ‘Skills India’, ‘Swatch Bharat Abiyan’, ‘Digital India’ and ‘Green India’.

Freelance journalists, journalists from print and Audio-visual media organizations, community leaders, and representatives of major Indian-American socio-cultural organizations in the Greater Chicago had participated in the event.

Speaking about the activities of the Consulate planned for the year 2016, the Consul General stated that they would concentrate their efforts towards “strengthening the political, economic, cultural, educational, and people-to-people relationships between India and the US Midwest.”

Pic 1The Consulate is scheduled to undertake initiatives like the visit of trade delegations from US Midwest to ‘Invest Karnataka-2016’ to be held in Bengaluru and participation of business delegation in ‘Make in India Week’ to be organized in Mumbai.

The Consulate is also scheduled to organize ‘Emerging Markets Conference’ in May and 2nd US-India Healthcare Summit in June, this year. Apart from this, the Consulate will also involve itself in cultural activities like screening of the film ‘India Awakes’, and showcasing of Indian performing arts through “Kala Utsav 2016’.

Three local organizations, ‘Pratham’, ‘Bharathi Theertha’ and ‘India Development Coalition of America’ shared their experiences of working on socio-economic and developmental projects in India as part of the Parvasi Bhartiya Divas. A special message from the India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi for Vishwa Hindi Divas (World Hindi Day), which fell on January 10, was relayed to the audience.

Two new Consuls – Mr Desh Bandhu Bhati and Mrs. Rajeshwari Chandrasekaran were introduced to the Indian-American community by the Consul General. The event ended with a vote of thanks by Mr. OP Meena, Consul (Community Welfare).

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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