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Vibrant Mahavir Jayanti Festivities Enliven Indian Consulate in NY


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NEW YORK, NY- On Saturday, May 20th, 2023, the Consulate General of India, NY, and International Ahimsa Foundation Inc. co-hosted the celebration of Mahavir Jayanti, which marked Lord Mahavir’s 2621st birth anniversary. The event took place at the Ballroom of the Consulate General of India in NY and also commemorated India’s yearlong initiative, Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, which celebrated 75 years of India’s independence. Approximately 200 people attended the program.

The event was graced by several dignitaries and community leaders. The Keynote Speaker, Hon. Dr. Varun Jeph, Deputy Consul General of India, emphasized the importance of incorporating Lord Mahavir’s message of Ahimsa (non-violence) and Satya (truthfulness) into our lives. Congressman Gregory W. Meeks sent his best wishes via video message, highlighting how the occasion brings the community together to honor Lord Mahavir’s principles of non-violence and peace. Former Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney stressed the significance of the teaching “Live and Let Live” in today’s world. NYS Assemblyman David Weprin was represented by his Chief of Staff, David Sprea, and Ms. Miosotis Munoz, Deputy Commissioner of External Affairs, NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigration Affairs, also attended the event, mentioning Mayor Adams’ belief in non-violence. Democratic District Leader Gurdip Singh Narula was also present.

The event featured esteemed guest speakers, Samniji Nirdeshika Kamal Pragya and Samniji Karuna Pragya, who delivered enlightening talks on non-violence and received appreciation for their profound insights. Dr. Neeta Jain, Founder and President of International Ahimsa Foundation Inc., spoke about Lord Mahavir’s teachings and stressed the importance of passing these teachings to the next generation to create a world of peace and harmony.

During the event, four distinguished individuals were honored with the “Ahimsa Award” for their remarkable contributions to society. Dr. Ashok Shaha MD, Mr. Arvind Vora, Ms. Sweta Jain, and Ms. Kavita Bafana were recognized for their achievements, inspiring the young attendees. The awards and a NYS Assembly Proclamation were presented by Hon. Deputy Consul General Dr. Varun Jepj, Dr. Ravi Goyal (Board of Director, IAF), Dr. Neeta Jain, Mr. Amarjyoti Jain (Vice President, IAF), and Mr. Rajeev Pandya (Chair Advisory Board, IAF).

The International Ahimsa Foundation Inc., established in 2012, aims to spread the message of non-violence and peace based on Jain teachings worldwide. Through discourse, peace-building activities, and civic involvement, the foundation promotes non-violence and peace teachings across cultures, inspiring students and the general public to contribute to a better world.

The event was emceed by Aditi Lamba and commenced with the American National Anthem sung by Michelle DellaFave, followed by the Indian National Anthem performed by Dr. Smita Guha. A skit titled “Color of Thoughts and Their Impact” was presented by young Jains under the direction of Surbhi Pandya. Additionally, two mesmerizing performances, “Mahavir Sa Mujko Banjana Hain” and “Garaj Garaj Aaj Megha,” were showcased by Little Ustad Arts, directed by Kavita Bafana and Vanita Kothari. Mr. Rajeev Pandya, Chair of the Advisory Board of IAF, expressed gratitude to sponsors, media partners, and volunteers.

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