1000 Lights For Peace
By TRP STAFF
Mahatma Gandhi Library along with more than 100 organizations concluded Mahatma Gandhi Week 2015 with big fanfare on Sunday, October 4, 2015 at Miller Outdoor Theater in Herman Park. The evening celebrated 146th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi Jayanti, celebrated as 1000 Lights For Peace.
The 10th Annual 1000 Lights for Peace, was another huge success. Each year Mahatma Gandhi Library organizes month long activities culminating in celebration of Gandhi Jayanti on weekend following October 2nd, Gandhiji’s actual birthday.
The spirits of the Houstonians attending the program were truly visible during this auspicious celebration. The weather was picture perfect. The brilliant day started with the Walk for Peace with garlanding of a picture of Mahatma Gandhi and the lighting of the authentic 1966 Olympic Torch. The participants walked almost 5 kilometers around Hermann Park voting for peace with their feet and demonstrating that a life of peace is a daily steadfast commitment that requires the patience of a man trying to empty the sea with a cup. During the walk, many proudly displayed signs of Peace, Truth, Non-violence and Love spreading the message that resonated throughout the city of Houston.
Upon their arrival back at Miller Outdoor Theater, they were welcomed onto the main stage by a musical tribute from the talented Katy McMeans Junior High band, conducted by Mr. George Liverman.
The 1000 lights For Peace program, started promptly at 6pm with an invocation by Imam Mubasher Ahmad from Ahmadiya Muslim Community, Greater Houston, Rev Daniel Dominguez from Centro Familiar Cristiano in Sugarland, and Dr. Kavita Vachaknavee from Arya Samaj Greater Houston.
Aashish Jain, recent graduate from Northwestern University, was a commanding Master of Ceremonies and kept the evening flowing with historical perspectives on not only Mahatma Gandhi, but also prominent international social reformers including Cesar Chavez, Nelson Mandela, and Desmond Tutu.
The evening started with more than 100 adorable and talented children from Houston’s St. Catherine Montessori Catholic Choir directed by Tim and Mindy Snow. They brilliantly sang “Kumbaya” and “A Candle for Peace.”The Ballet Folkorico “Raices del Peru” of Houston performed the first International act of the evening.
Ananya Choudary winner of the 11 and over speech contest, inspired the crowd by reciting her winning speech titled “Does War Lead to Peace?”
The delightful children from the Ahmadiya Muslim Community wearing traditional dresses recited the poem “Lover for All, Hatred for None.” The next cultural item came from El Grupo Folklorico Internacional performing a colorful and rhythmic dance titled “Raices De Mi Tierra.” The students of the Anjali Center of Performing Arts, directed by Rathna Kumar, then performed a classical Indian dance “Seeking Peace”.
The crowd then welcomed the adorable Kareena Kamal who dazzled the crowd by presenting her winning speech from the 10 and under category titled “Bullying: My Perspective.”
Atul Kothari, founder of Mahatma Gandhi Library, presented a plaque of appreciation to volunteer Sesh Bala for his unconditional and everlasting dedication as coordinator of Walk for Peace.
Manish Wani, on behalf of the MGL board, was thrilled to announce the planning for the new Mahatma Gandhi Museum to be built in Stafford, Texas. The land has been secured and preparations are underway. The Mahatma Gandhi Museum design will unite site-specific elements with sustainable strategies to promote the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. The unique experience of the new museum will features galleries as separate structures staggered along the east-west axis and linked by an elevated walkway.
As the buildings meander through the narrow site, a series of green oases weave the galleries and breezy verandas, where visitors can linger and enjoy the water gardens. As visitors make their way through the museum, they constantly move between the galleries and the verandas. The goal is to provide a venue where children of all ages can enjoy, learn and recognize the importance of the values of peace, truth and non-violence and also, to offer a place for adults of all ages to reflect and understand the deeper meaning of non-violent truth as exemplified by Mahatma Gandhi.
The last international performance of the evening was a dynamic performance by the KoumonKe’le’ African Dance & Drum Ensemble, directed by Ms. Christina Gerard.
The Keynote Speaker for the evening, Rev. Howard Caesar, Senior Minister at Unity Houston, addressed the audience informing them about “peace starts with me” and encouraged all to think, 1000 Lights for Peace as Million Lights for Peace.
Rev Howard, presented the well-earned awards to more than the 30 winners of the city-wide contests held by Mahatma Gandhi Library.
The Gandhi Darshan Exhibit portraying the chronologic lifetime of Gandhiji with actual photographs from that era was also displayed at the Miller Outdoor Theater and was enjoyed by many visitors.
The spectacular evening concluded with the lighting of a candle by all in attendance and a pledge to observe peace in their own lives. The candle lighting quickly spread throughout The Miller Outdoor Theater blazing the city of Houston. The crowd reflected on the magical evening and how to emulate Mahatma Gandhi’s life listening to the soothing background music “Imagine” by the award winning Seven Lakes High School Orchestra from Katy, Texas.
To view and learn more about 1000 Lights for Peace, please visit gandhilibrary.org
For more information please contact Dr. Manish K Wani at 713-829-6979