Forum for India Community Services (FFICS) Celebrates Gandhiji’s Birthday
Los Angeles, California, Oct.02, 2010
By Dilip Butani
Forum for India Community Services (FFICS) celebrated Mahatma Gandhiji’s birthday on October 2, 2010 at The Sanatan Dharam Temple, Norwalk, CA
Mayor of Cypress, and chief guest for the evening, Dr. Prakash Narain spoke on the origin of International Peace Day, also known as the International Day of Non-Violence, by United Nations proclamation on October 2, 2007. The purpose was to “disseminate the message of non-violence through education and public awareness.” Mayor Prakash Narain, M.D., described the universal relevance of Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence to bring about peace, tolerance, and understanding, as this changed not only India’s history, “but raised the consciousness of the entire human race.”
Mayor Dr. Narain introduced the keynote speaker, Dr. Ramesh C. Gupta, as an authority on the life and written works of Gandhiji. Dr. Gupta delivered an inspiring talk on the interactions of Mahatma Gandhi with various political and spiritual leaders of his time, in particular, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Dr. Subash Chandra Bose, Raman Maharshi, and Paramahansa Yogananda. He passionately explained how Gandhiji was first given the title of “Mahatma”, meaning “Great Soul”, by Rabindranath Tagore in 1932, and why the spiritual leaders recognized this as an appropriate term for him. Dr. Gupta further related hearing Subash Chandra Bose’s voice over the radio addressing Gandhiji with the phrase “father of our country” for the very first time. In addition, he expressed how Gandhiji’s life influenced him personally.
Dr. Ramesh Gupta retired 23 years ago as head of the toxicology lab at USC Medical Center. Since then he has been teaching children in the Los Angeles area a Hindi Language and Indian Culture class including Indian history and philosophy. Dr. Gupta is also Dr. Narain’s father-in-law.
State Bank manager Venkatesh Hegde spoke about Gandhiji and mentioned some important facts from Gandhiji’s life. Nitin Shah dressed up as Gandhiji also spoke and displayed his wonderful work of art on Gandhiji. Dr. Kailash Dhamija , Sheila Bhandari.and Veena Arora sang bhajans. Dr. Jay Shah, the Congress candidate and Bhikhubhai Patel were the other signatories present. A special ‘Kalash’ brought from Gujarat was honored on the occasion.
Speaking about the Organization, Executive Vice President, Dilip Butani mentioned that helping the families at that time of need is the greatest act of love and duty (dharma) of the community. Keeping this in mind, FFICS, was formed. . He further mentioned that, FFICS is a non-profit volunteer run charitable Social and Community Welfare organization dedicated to the social needs of the Indian community. It is designed as a social network in the Community to help the community to get the community involved. Then scope of services the FFICS proposes to provide needed financial & emotional support to the needed families at the time of death of their loved ones and bereavement; create a facility for the families to perform the funeral and religious rituals. It also aims at providing advisement to the elderly in the Indian community on matters relating to health screening, healthcare and hospitalization, legal and immigration issues, insurance matters, a recreational & library facility for the elderly. Lastly FFICS proposes in establishing a social network to assist elderly in the community to become active in community activities.
President Amrit Bhandari who was the main organizer emceed the program. Prakash Pancholi mentioned that that in spite being a brahmin; he always went to a Harijan home to drink water. He asked the audience to take an oath to follow Gandhiji’s principle in day-to-day life. Prof. Keshavlal Patel also spoke about Gandhiji.. Mohan Kumar, Geeta Ram and Shobhna Nandan took special care about the stage management and food. Dilip Butani proposed a vote of thanks.
The executive Committee has Amrit Bhandari as the President, Dilip Butani as the executive vice-president, Malli Varanasi as the secretary, Shobana Nandan as the joint secretary, Mohan Kumar as the treasurer, Padmini Iyer, Geeta Ram, Babubhai Gandhi, Prakash Pancholi and Keshalal Patel as the members. The Trust Board has BhikhubhaiPatel as the Chairman and R. Narayanaswami as the Co-Chairman.