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ISW Organizes Candlelight Vigil For Mumbai Victims

Raj Melville

On Thursday December 4th, The India Society of Worcester (ISW), in coordination with the Commonwealth’s Asian American Commission, organized a Candlelight Vigil on the steps of the Worcester City Hall to remember the victims of the Mumbai attacks. Nearly 200 people braved the cold and rain to hear the Mayor of Worcester, Konstantina B. Lukes say, “The people of India are bound in terror with the people of the United States”. She urged the crowd to “To raise our voices louder than the weapons”.  She was followed by Frances Manocchio, Director Human Rights, City of Worcester.


ISW Vice President, Ragini Seth, opened the ceremony by reading a touching poem “Where the mind is without fear” by India’s Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore and thanked the community for coming out in strength to show their solidarity and support for the people of Mumbai. Dr. Sahdev Passey remarked in his introduction that the world needs to see what was happening in places like Worcester where people gathered to show support regardless of their religious or cultural upbringing.  Following a moment of silence, Usha Verma, ISW Crisis Committee Chair, sang the Shanthi Paath followed by a rendition of Mahatma Gandhi’s favorite, Ragu Pati Raghav.


The gathering was addressed by leaders from six different religious communities, all of whom stressed the oneness of all human beings, and emphasized that senseless acts of violence against defenseless civilians could never be justified. The speakers included Rabbi Seth Bernstein from Temple Sinai, Bhai Gupal Singh who is the Granthi from the Milford Sikh Gurudwara, Tahir Ali representing the Worcester Islamic Centers, Rev. Vicki Woods from the Wesley United Methodist Church and Jamshed Dubash representing the Zoroastrian community. Navjeet Singh representing the Sikh community and Farookh Ansari representing the South Asian Muslim community also spoke.

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