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Telangana IT minister honors Gandhi legacy at Atlanta’s Dr. King Jr. Historical Site

BY RAVI R. PONANGI

Atlanta, GA, June 6, 2024: Amidst a gathering of the Atlanta community, the IT Minister from Telangana, India, Duddilla Sridhar Babu, offered floral tributes to Mahatma Gandhi on Tuesday, June 4, at the revered Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Historical Site. Adorning a life-size bronze statue of the iconic leader, located within the historical site, the minister honored the enduring legacies of both Gandhi and Dr. King.

After garlanding the giant statue of Mahatma Gandhi, the minister said, “Certain messages are timeless messages. Martin Luther King’s and Mahatma Gandhi’s messages are very relevant. They are fresh to every age in every generation. Sometimes it becomes even more relevant.”

Earlier, Executive Director Antony Thaliath of GFUSA welcomed the gathering and invited Chairman GFUSA Subash Razdan to preside at the solemn service arranged in honor of the visiting Minister at the Gandhi Statue.

Razdan reminisced the nostalgic memories of the installation and the dedication/unveiling of the Gandhi Statue by Ambassador Andrew Young in 1998 on a cold blistering January morning with over a thousand in attendance. He thanked the Indian Embassy, India Council for Cultural Relations, various community organizations, as well as the National Park Service, for making the installation of the Gandhi Statue in Atlanta a reality. This monument (Gandhi Statue) has served as a beacon and linkage with Dr. King Jr. for non-violence and peace for a million tourists who visit the King Park annually.

Ravi Ponangi, a well-known journalist and the media director of GFUSA, took the stage to introduce Sridhar Babu, emphasizing his significant role as a senior minister overseeing Information Technology, Electronics & Communication, Industry & Commerce, and Legislative Affairs within the Government of Telangana state, India. Notably, Sridhar Babu holds a prominent position as one of the senior-most leaders in the Telangana Congress Party. Born into a distinguished political family, he is the son of the former Speaker of the Andhra Pradesh Assembly, Sri D. Sripada Rao, a notable figure in the Indian National Congress. Beyond politics, Sridhar Babu’s talents shone bright on the cricket field during his student days, representing esteemed institutions like Nizam College and the University of Hyderabad. Ponangi lauded him as a dynamic, highly educated, and exemplary leader of our times.

The minister with members of GFUSA and guests in front of the Ebenezer Baptist Church where MLK Jr. preached.

Babu also visited Freedom Hall, Gandhi Room, King Room, Eternal Flame, the famous Ebenezer Baptist Church, King’s birth home, and visitors center, and laid wreaths at the Crypts of Dr. King and his wife Mrs. Coretta Scott King. The minister enthusiastically visited all exhibits in the Gandhi Room and Visitors Center. The King center officials honored the visiting Minister Sridhar Babu.

The resplendent and majestic life-size statue of Mahatma Gandhi was sculpted by Padmasri Ram Sutar adorns the entrance of one of the most revered National Parks. This National Historic Park in downtown Atlanta, composes of the Gandhi Statue, the King Visitor Center, the revered Ebenezer Baptist Church, the King Crypts, The Eternal Flame, the King Center (Administrative Building), the Freedom Hall (which houses the Gandhi Room), and the King Birth home.

The minister in front of the birth home of Martin Luther King Jr.

In his Vote of Thanks, Razdan remarked, “Atlanta is a city of peace and social justice because of Dr. King and his respect for Mahatma Gandhi message of Satyagraha. We are grateful for the partnerships of the National Park Service who facilitated the installation of the Gandhi Statue in 1998, the Embassy of India for arranging the donation of the Gandhi Statue in 1997, the King Center, and the invaluable role of Mrs. Coretta Scott King in promoting Gandhi’s awareness by establishing the Gandhi Room in the Freedom Hall of the King Center in 1987 and now presently the unflinching support of the Consul General of India.”

Paying homage at the crypts of Dr. King and his wife Mrs. Coretta Scott King.

The Gandhi Foundation of USA: The Gandhi Foundation of USA (GFUSA) was founded on October 26, 1997, as a non-profit, tax-exempt foundation under section 501-c-3 of US laws to create and promote educational and awareness programs to inform the general public on the non-violent philosophies and practices of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. GFUSA assists the King Center in improvements pertaining to the Gandhi Room (at Freedom Hall). Likewise, assist National Park Service (NPS) for the Gandhi Statue at the MLK Historic Site in Atlanta. GFUSA provides a myriad of socio-cultural activities in order to communicate and disseminate the non-violent philosophy of Gandhi and King, including annual observance of the Gandhi and Dr. King birth anniversaries respectively.

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