Rep. Krishnamoorthi seeks support for his resolution to mark Mahatma’s 150th birth anniversary

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) lights the ceremonial lamp at an event to mark Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary on Capitol Hill Nov. 27, 2018.

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Democratic Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi’s has said his bipartisan resolution (House. Res. 595) celebrating the life of Mahatma Gandhi and his enduring legacy on the icon’s 150th birth anniversary — that has been garnering dozens of co-sponsors, including several members of the India Caucus—is the perfect panacea the country needs in the current divisive and polarized political environment driven largely by the Trump administration and its acolytes.

Krishnamoorthi, who represents Illinois’ 8th District, which includes Chicago, said, “Mahatma Gandhi is one of my personal heroes and his dedication to public service is an inspiration, and even when faced with incredible hardship and injustice, he never wavered in fighting for freedom, dignity, and equality for all.”

Asked what was so special about his introducing this resolution, considering that it’s become almost a tradition each year with similar resolutions introduced by various other members of Congress, Krishnamoorthi told India Abroad, “At a time when our country is divided, the timing is extra special. We have to practice Gandhian principles and avoiding attacks on each other and also learning to have civil dialogue with each other as much as we possibly can.”

“I believe it’s good for everybody to come together on something as important as his life and his values, which we have to remember now more than ever,” he said.

Krishnamoorthi said, “Today, countless people fear the discrimination that has been sparked by our current leadership and it sometimes takes someone like Mahatma Gandhi to unify people around our common ideals and remind us of why we have to come together instead of diving apart, but unfortunately, our leadership right now is driving us apart.”

Hence, he added, “It’s the most appropriate time for this unifying message of Gandhi to be disseminated all across the country and the world, and as an Indian American member of Congress, it lends a special kind of appropriateness for me to have introduced this resolution.”

“As an Indian American, I feel a special responsibility to celebrate his life in the context of not only the world’s largest democracy, India, but the world’s oldest and modern democracy, America.”

He exhorted all members of the Indian American community to reach out to their respective lawmakers and urge them to co-sponsor the resolution “so that we can reach a critical mass and have the resolution approved by unanimous consent.”

“The most important thing right now is having more co-sponsors and people who can champion the resolution and move it forward,” he said.

Rep. Brad Sherman (D.-Calif.), a ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, said, “I’m proud to be an original co-sponsor of this congressional resolution to recognize the important contributions of Mahatma Gandhi by commemorating the 150th anniversary of his birth.”

Republican co-chair of the India Caucus, Rep. George Holding of North Carolina, also an original co-sponsor of Krishnamoorthi’s resolution said, “Mahatma Gandhi is among the most revered and impactful leaders of our time. His lifelong commitment to human rights, civil liberty, and freedom inspired countless millions across the globe.”

“As we mark the 150th  anniversary of Gandhi’s birthday, let us honor his enduring legacy and celebrate his monumental impact to peace, justice, and freedom worldwide,” he said.

India’s Ambassador to the United States, Harsh Vardhan Shringla also weighed in on the importance of Krishnamoorthi’s resolution, saying, “As we commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, we are once again reminded that his struggle for the pursuit of freedom, equality, and dignity for all through satyagraha finds resonance across generations and boundaries.”

All three of the other Indian American lawmakers, whom Krishnamoorthi affectionately calls the ‘Samosa Caucus’ –Reps. Ami Bera (D.-Calif.), Pramila Jayapal (D.-Wash.) and Ro Khanna (D.-Calif.) have also signed on as original co-sponsors.

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