Greet The Mahajan Family

Residents of the Memorial Villages since 1976 and co-founders in the conception and creation of the Eternal Gandhi Museum Houston.

The Eternal Gandhi Museum Houston (EGMH) is an inspiring and informative new addition to Houston’s vibrant museum scene. It is a state-of-the-art museum that is the first of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. It is dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, his life story, and his message of Truth, Nonviolence, Peace, Love, and Service. The museum is situated in an architecturally impressive new building containing a series of interactive galleries that will appeal to all ages. The museum highlights various world leaders and their journeys depicting the power of peaceful resistance to settle conflicts nonviolently. The goal is to encourage visitors to embrace these values in their own lives.

Memorial Village Residents Devinder (Dev) Mahajan and his wife Dr. Sushma Mahajan along with EGMH Cofounders and other Trustees have been instrumental in the conception and creation of this unique new Museum. Living in Houston since 1976, they have long been active in their community and over the years have received many accolades for their service. Most recently Cry Child Rights and You honored them. This nonprofit organization is a powerful advocate for underprivileged children addressing their rights, education, welfare, and overall development.

Dev moved to the United States in 1960 to attend The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor to pursue a degree in Engineering. He was encouraged in this career by his father whose successful business had been lost during the family’s forced relocation during the Partition of India in 1947. The Partition was a time during Indian Independence when the British split the country into Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan causing millions of people to migrate across the country. Upon completing his master’s degree at Michigan Dev returned home to get married. He and Sushma were introduced by family members and were married in 1966. Sushma had already completed medical school when they married. The new couple moved to Cleveland where Dev started working and Sushma completed her residency specializing in Pathology. They had two daughters and when work moved them to Houston in 1976, they chose the Memorial Villages as their home because of the good public schools. After over 47 years in the same home, they still love the neighborhood for its green leafy streets, peaceful atmosphere, and convenient proximity to everything that Houston has to offer. 

Building a Museum
Dev and Sushma became involved in the creation of the Eternal Gandhi Museum when they met Atul Kothari at the celebration of Janmashtami, the anniversary of the birth of Lord Krishna. Atul had founded the Mahatma Gandhi Library and had a booth set up featuring the Autobiography of Gandhi and books about his life. Dev admired the library display and asked Atul if he would like to set up a similar booth at their Temple, Arya Samaj Greater Houston. They were planning a celebration of Non-Violence Day on Gandhi’s birth anniversary on October 2nd. Mahatma Gandhi Library started celebrating “Thousand Lights for Peace” every year around October 2nd with participation from all different nationalities and organizations. This chance meeting led to close friendship and collaboration between Mahatma Gandhi Library and Arya Samaj Greater Houston.

Atul is a co-founder of EGMH and his visit to the Gandhi Museum in New Delhi in 2016 is what started them all on this journey. He was offered interactive museum exhibits to be displayed in Houston if he could build a space to house it. EGMH applied to the Houston Endowment Foundation for funds to help them in their quest to build the first museum devoted to Gandhi outside of India. The Houston Endowment recommended that they hire a museum consultant. Their consultant Brian Crockett visited India for initial research and was so inspired and transformed by what he saw and learned that he became determined to help them achieve their vision. 

The third co-founder is Dr Manish Wani whom Atul met when the Doctor attended a charity auction for the Indo-American Charity Foundation and purchased a Charkha (spinning wheel) favored by Gandhi. Atul contacted him because he wished to borrow it for his Mahatma Gandhi Library and the rest is history! 

The three co-founders each brought their own expertise to the project. Dev’s engineering background helped with finding architects and a construction firm, Atul is a CPA and Dr Manish is a great speaker and presenter. Getting into the museum business proved to be challenging and a little overwhelming but they were determined not to compromise on quality. They along with other Trustees worked together to raise funds and oversee the project over many years from 2016 to the opening in 2023. 

Grand Opening
The Eternal Gandhi Museum Houston opened in August 2023. They have received elementary and middle school tours from local public and private schools. Many senior visitors from local retirement homes have also loved the museum and there have been visitors from out of town who have heard about the museum in the press, on NPR, and through Tripadvisor reviews. 

RDLR Architects created an inspiring and beautiful modern space to explore the life and message of Gandhi. The RDLR team visited Gandhi’s Ashram in India for inspiration which is reflected in the museum’s design. The exterior of the building encircles a statue of Gandhi which was donated by the Indian Government. Placed around the statue are tributes to five Nobel Peace Prize winners who chose to adopt Mahatma Gandhi’s ever-lasting legacy of nonviolent conflict resolution in their work of social justice - Martin Luther King Jr., Betty Williams, Mairead Corrigan, Lech Walesa, and Nelson Mandela. 

Solid Light Inc. designed and built the impressive museum exhibits in their Louisville, Kentucky warehouse, transported them to Houston, and installed them in the new building. Designed with input from a museum consultant and an educational consultant, and built by TDK Construction, EGMH is filled with interesting and interactive exhibits that are colorful and engaging. There are many photographs, videos, and media to explore. It would make a great school field trip or a family day out. 

A Tour of the Museum
The museum is a peaceful and inspiring place. The tour is divided into galleries which take the visitor on a journey of discovery. The entry lobby focuses on Humanity’s Challenges with video montages of present-day difficulties such as poverty, pollution, racism, and war. The next gallery, His Journey, focuses on the early life of Gandhi from his childhood in India under British Rule to his university years studying Law at University College, London. Gandhi’s career as a lawyer took him to South Africa where he was dismayed to discover the brutal and unfair treatment inflicted upon people of color living under the policy of racial segregation known as apartheid. This was the point in his life when he decided to devote himself to fighting injustice with non-violent methods of resistance and refusal. 

In 1914 Gandhi returned to India after 21 years of practicing law in South Africa. Upon his return, he decided to live a life of simplicity with few possessions and began weaving on the Charkha Wheel every day for both meditation and self-sufficiency. 

In 1925 Gandhi published the “Seven Social Sins” inspired by a sermon he had heard at Westminster Abbey: Wealth without Work, Pleasure without Conscience, Science without Humanity, Knowledge without Character, Politics without Principles, Commerce without Morality, Worship without Sacrifice.

For him it was not enough to resist active violence alone, he also believed in the danger of passive violence and its harmful effect on society. It was an indictment which still resonates today. EGMH features many such thought-provoking quotes and ideas, highlighting that Gandhi’s message is still relevant and important today.

The British still ruled over India in an unjust and discriminatory fashion. In 1930 Gandhi became frustrated by the British imposition of a tax on salt which led him to start The Salt March in protest. Many people joined the peaceful march, and it was successful in forcing the British to reconsider their moral basis for ruling India and other colonies. Gandhi campaigned over many years for Indian Independence from British rule, suffering periods in prison and hunger strikes in protest. In 1947 Independence was finally won with neither side firing a single shot. His peaceful and successful protests made him a worldwide icon for Justice and Equality. 

The second gallery, Our Journey, of the museum focuses on recent leaders who have campaigned for Justice and Peace including Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Greta Thunberg, and Malala Yousafzai. It is here that the unique goal of this museum space can really be appreciated. The exhibit shows that people from all walks of life at many different stages and ages can lead non-violent protests for positive change in the World. This section leads the visitor into the third and final gallery, My Journey. The visitor is encouraged to look inward and consider how the museum’s message has inspired them. “Be the Change” booths are available for visitors to make a digital postcard of positive personal goals to help make a difference. 

Dev and Sushma have always been inspired by a desire to give back to the community and to their adopted country of the United States which they feel has allowed them to work hard, earn a decent living, raise a family and flourish. This museum represents their desire to preserve and keep alive the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi to solve conflict non-violently. This Museum celebrates and highlights the universal values of Truth, Nonviolence, Love, Service, and Peace and seeks to educate and inspire visitors of all ages. 

Visit to learn more.