Coinciding with the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, US lawmakers on Wednesday (October 2) introduced bipartisan resolutions in the Congress to commemorate the memory and legacy of the apostle of peace.
In the Senate, it was introduced by Senators Ted Cruz and Robert Menendez, while in the House of Representative it was introduced by Congresswoman Grace Meng.
The Senate resolution recognises Gandhi’s decades-long struggle for Indian independence from Great Britain, and his pioneering of non-violent protest as a means of political change which helped to liberate millions of Indians, and inspiring peaceful activists around the world, including Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.
The resolution supports the ideals and goals of the International Day of Non-Violence and calls on all Americans to observe it. “Gandhi’s unwavering commitment to peaceful dissent inspired countless others not just in India but around the world,” Cruz said.
“His life, sacrifices, and legacy continue to be a light around the world, calling attention to the tyranny and injustice that dictators seek to conduct in darkness. Let us honour him by continuing to encourage and support all of those seeking to be free,” he said.
“I am proud to lead this resolution which honours Gandhi, a man whose memory is held with such reverence around the world. Gandhi was the great spirit that led India’s people to freedom,” Menendez said.
“As we honour his towering legacy as a champion of human rights and democracy, we also draw inspiration to face our own challenges today all around the world, Menendez added.
“Equal rights for women. Equal rights for minorities. Equal rights for the LGBT community. Protection of the environment. As we mark this momentous 150th anniversary of Gandhi’s birth, let ourselves recommit to the values that he preached and embodied,” he said further.
Meng said Gandhi was a monumental civil rights and spiritual leader who demonstrated that peaceful protests can bring change. “We honour his legacy with a resolution that calls on all to recognise his important contributions to the world,” she said.
“Our own civil rights heroes, like Dr Martin Luther King, were influenced by Gandhi’s work and it is critical that we strive each day to change the world in a peaceful manner. I urge all Americans to join me in marking International Day of Non-Violence,” Meng said.
“On the 150th anniversary of Gandhi’s birth, I celebrate the profound legacy of his teachings of non-violence and civil disobedience — in the land of my birth and the land I now call home,” Indian American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal said in a tweet.
Congressman Andy Levin said Gandhi’s philosophy and practice of nonviolent resistance inspired some of the most powerful social justice movements in modern history. “May we honour him on his 150th birthday by living out his commitment to peace, integrity and equality,” he said.
“Gandhi is a hero, not just to India, but to the world. You may never know what results come of your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no results,” tweeted Congressman Eliot Engel, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
US Commission on International Religious Freedom Commissioner Tony Perkins joined people across the world in celebrating the life of Mahatma Gandhi, a dedicated champion of nonviolence and religious tolerance, including religious freedom for all, In a statement said.
“Through his example of embracing the fundamental human right of religious freedom, he fostered an environment of religious freedom and diversity. Gandhi’s 150th birthday is an opportunity to reflect upon these timeless and universal principles,” said Perkins.
“Mahatma Gandhi changed the course of world history,” said USCIRF Commissioner Anurima Bhargava. “As we commemorate Gandhi’s 150th birthday, we must recommit to Gandhian principles in India and in many societies where religious minorities are currently being expelled rather than embraced,” she said.