Half a dozen influential US lawmakers, including four Indian Americans, have moved a resolution in the US House of Representatives to posthumously award the prestigious Congressional Gold Medal to Mahatma Gandhi in recognition of his promotion of peace and non-violence.
Introduced in the US House of Representatives by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney from New York on September 23, the resolution (H R 6916) is co-sponsored by four Indian American lawmakers in the House – Ami Bera, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Ro Khanna and Pramila Jayapal.
Tulsi Gabbard, who is the current co-chair of the House Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans is also one the co-sponsors of the resolution, which has been sent to the Committee on Financial Services and Committee on House Administration for necessary action.
The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honour given by the US Congress and very few foreigners have been recipients of this award. Prominent among those include Mother Teresa (1997), Nelson Mandela (1998), Pope John Paul II (2000), the Dalai Lama (2006), Aung San Suu Kyi (2008), Muhammad Yunus (2010) and Shimon Peres (2014).
The announcement was made by Maloney during the popular India Day Parade in New York in August.
"Mahatma Gandhi's historic Satyagraha movement of non-violent resistance inspired a nation and the world. His example energises us to devote ourselves to the service of others," she said.
"His legacy inspired civil rights movements around the globe, from Martin Luther King's movement for racial equality to Nelson Mandela's fight against apartheid. As a public servant, I am inspired everyday by his courage and example. Let us all follow Gandhi's directive to 'be the change you wish to see in the world'," Maloney said.
"As India and the world commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, we applaud and greatly appreciate the initiative of Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney of New York for introducing legislation in the US Congress to honour the memory of the Mahatma, a person who inspired countless millions all over the world to take the path of truth, peace and non-violence," said Sandeep Chakravorty, Consul General of India in New York.