New York City Mayor Eric Adams invoked the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi in a recent address honoring India’s 77th Independence Day.
Gandhi 2.0: Speaking at a flag-raising ceremony in front of New York’s Financial District on Tuesday, Adams drew parallels between his own aspirations and the iconic Indian leader‘s philosophy.
“I am Gandhi-like,” said Adams in front of a crowd. “I think like Gandhi. I act like Gandhi. I want to be like Gandhi… I want to be the modern-day Ramayana and say that we can lead against the forces of evil and take us in the next direction on who we are.”
Revered leader: Recognized by many as the father of India, Gandhi pioneered and practiced the principle of Satyagraha — the practice of nonviolent civil disobedience to resist tyranny. Gandhi’s peaceful approach played a key role in freeing India after nearly a century of British colonial rule.
Being Gandhi on modern issues: Recalling his experience in India, Adams shared his encounter with the footprints marking Gandhi’s final steps before his assassination. He speculated on how Gandhi would respond to current issues, stating that if Gandhi were alive today, he would champion the cause of migrant seekers, confront gun violence, address homelessness and tackle the challenges posed by illegal drugs.
Humanitarian-driven governance: Adams pointed out the necessity of transitioning from passive admiration to active implementation of Gandhi’s philosophy. He emphasized the importance of becoming “Gandhi-like” by advocating for humanitarian actions, engaging with pressing social problems and embodying compassion in dealing with the marginalized and vulnerable.
Adams’ address also featured recognition of the significant contributions of Indian Americans in his administration. Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi, Commissioner of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Dr. Ashwin Vasan, Commissioner Rohit Aggarwala and Deputy Commissioner for the Mayor’s Office for International Affairs Dilip Chauhan were among those commended for their impact on city governance.