Washington: Radical extremists today are countering Mahatma Gandhi 's teachings with "hate, violence and war", an eminent Indian-American entrepreneur said as he cautioned community members that such ideology could make democracy a distant memory.
"Without Mahatma Gandhi, there would have been no Republic Day for India and without his influence on others, the United States and the world would be a far different place," said entrepreneur and philanthropist Frank Islam in his key-note address to the India Republic Day celebrations here as community members gathered in large numbers.
"As you know, Gandhi's teachings centred on love, non-violence and peace. In 2016, radical extremists are countering Gandhi with preachings of hate, violence and war. If they are successful, Republic Day in India and in places around the world that celebrate democracy will become a distant memory," Islam said.
63-year-old Azamgarh-born Islam was awarded the Uttar Pradesh Ratna Award earlier this month to recognise his achievements and outstanding contributions in a foreign country.
Indian-Americans, with their connections to both India and the US, should try to understand that values of a free society can prevent that apocalyptic vision, said Islam.
"This is our responsibility as concerned citizens. It is my responsibility. It is your responsibility. It is our responsibility as citizens with connections to two great nations and republics - India and the United States," he said.
Islam founded IT firm QSS in 1994 with him as the sole employee and expanded it to over 2,000 employees and sales of USD 300 million before selling it in 2007.
He has donated USD 2 million to alma mater Aligarh Muslim University for construction of a new school of management, and currently heads the FI Investment Group, a private investment holding company that he established in 2007.
The event was organised by National Council of Asian Indian Associations in partnership with over 15 community organisations representing a cross-section of the Indian-American Community.