Smita Shah; Recognizing the Legacy of Mahatma Gandhi

During the annual Legacy of Mahatma Gandhi luncheon held this year, the Mayor of Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, issued a proclamation and named October 2nd Mahatma Gandhi Day in the city. This was in recognition of the 150th anniversary of his birth. It was also done to acknowledge his long-lasting legacy as well as the deep roots of the Indian culture in Chicago.


The luncheon held by Smita Shah, the Chair of the Chicago Sister Cities International Delhi Committee, was attended by Senator Dick Durbin, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, First Lady Amy Eshelman, and Andrea Zopp, the CEO of World Business Chicago. This year’s luncheon marked its fifth year of honoring Mahatma Gandhi, a man who inspired civil rights movements worldwide.


Smita Shah is the founder of the Legacy of Mahatma Gandhi luncheon, an idea she says came out of the recognition that Chicago had a wide range of communities. The program allows people to get to know the Indian Community of the city and be able to determine how everyone can have an impact on improving other people’s lives by working as a team, through the Mahatma Gandhi’s recognition.


Delhi, being a sister city to Chicago, shows the firm relationship between India and Chicago and the cultural importance of the developed Indian American community to the city. In 2014, Smita Shah helped in leading the Delhi Committee of Chicago to create the Annual Legacy of Mahatma Gandhi Luncheon. This luncheon was formed in order to honor the long-standing exchange of ideas between the United States and Mahatma Gandhi. It also acknowledged the essential principles of non-violence and truth.


Mahatma Gandhi is known throughout the world for his non-violent philosophy. He is also known as an advocate for every individual, including the disenfranchised and the poor, as well as championing the causes of equality, education, and economic opportunities.


He is frequently named among the twentieth century most influential individuals. He is also recognized as a father of the nation in India, which proves that one man is powerful enough to bring down an empire, using ethics and intelligence to make a difference in today’s world. This shows the importance of resolving disputes/conflicts through peaceful means.


Mahatma Gandhi was closely connected to a significant number of Americans and got inspired by the essay on the “Duty of Civil Disobedience” by Henry David Thoreau. This essay changed his thinking on the subject as well as to him, influencing many African American leaders, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Howard Thurman, and Benjamin Mays.


Chicago has an energetic and vibrant Indian American community that has made an impact when it comes to the development of the city throughout history. The community still continues to do so, and these ties have created a strong bond between Delhi, India, and Chicago since 2001. Learn more:


About Smita Shah


Shah is the Chief Executive Officer and the President of SPAAN Tech, Inc. She is a PE (Professional Engineer) who is licensed in multiple states with extensive education in Business and Engineering from Oxford University, MIT, and Northwestern University.

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