Indian Americans to mark Gandhi anniversary with Satyagraha in Washington on Feb. 1

Young India’s sit-in outside Indian embassy to stress need for nonviolent responses.

The Indian American community in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area plans to hold a sit-in Satyagraha at Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in front of the Indian embassy on Saturday Feb 1.

Marking the Indian freedom leader’s January 30 death anniversary, the event organized by policy advocacy group Young India encourages participants to remember Gandhiji’s non-violent protests in the wake of current political atmosphere in India.

Talking about the silent ‘Gandhi Remembrance’ sit-in at the Gandhi Statue, Rohit Tripathi, one of the organizers, told the American Bazaar, “We are calling it a Satyagraha because we are emphasizing that, as Gandhi said, your means are as important as your end.”

“We are focused on a methodology. A methodology of soul force that incorporates our innate beliefs and commitment to nonviolence – in word and deed. Just like the nonviolent responses to the latest string of legislative action in India.”

On if they feel that in the current day political scenario the values of Gandhi are under threat, Tripathi says, “Fundamentally, most people are undereducated about Gandhi’s holistic methodology for transformation.”

“Protesting is a small part of it. And it comes after all other avenues have been exhausted,” he said. “So, there is a need for us to be educated, including me, on the methodology that was almost perfected by the civil rights movement here.”

“The biggest piece missing today is the granularity with which an overarching vision for India and other progressive democracies needs to be articulated that contextualizes the protests beyond the misgiving or grievance of the day,” Tripathi said.

“Of course, these grievances and their piling on is creating an untenable situation for the oxygen needed to sustain a true democracy but actions have to add up to a whole,” he said. “We are committed to working with civil society in developing, disseminating and eventually realizing that common goal of dignity and liberty.”

On the message they want to send through the sit-in, Trpathi says, “The message is that mass participation can only be achieved through nonviolence.”

Let’s make ourselves examples of that and stand in solidarity with every individual that is challenging any ideology of domination. At the end of the day, ideologies of domination detract from addressing core challenges of economic marginalization, political neglect and institutional ignorance.”

What: Satyagraha

Where: Gandhi Statue, Indian Embassy, Washington, DC

When: February 1, 2020 at 11am

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