NEW DELHI, India — Among the many Indians who welcomed Gov. Phil Murphy on his trade overseas mission to the country was Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee, the daughter of Mahatma Gandhi’s youngest son.
“I say hearty welcome to the governor of New Jersey and the first lady,” the 85-year-old told NJ Advance Media at a Monday evening reception with Murphy.
“I’m so happy all of you are coming and I believe you want to work with India,” she said. “I hope it is beneficial to us as much as it’s beneficial to you.”
Gandhi Bhattacharjee was a surprise guest at the evening event where Murphy announced his administration is opening a trade office in the country with the goal to lure businesses here to the Garden State.
“We are happy he has come,” she said.
Gandhi, India’s foremost freedom fighter who preached non-violence, had four sons. Gandhi Bhattacharjee met with Murphy at the event after learning he’s visiting India and paid respect to Gandhi a day earlier at the Gandhi Smriti — the former home where Gandhi spent the last nearly five months of his life before he was assassinated outside the house.
She addressed the crowd at the evening event as India celebrates the 150th anniversary of her grandfather’s birth.
“It is the 150th anniversary of Gandhi, with whom I had the privilege of knowing,” Gandhi Bhattacharjee, who was nearly 14 when Gandhi was killed, said. “I think New Jersey and India will do wonders.”
As for her message for Indian Americans, Gandhi Bhattacharjee said: “I wish them all well. … I hope they do their country good and where they (live now) is also their country, so I hope in every sense we are together.”
On Sunday, Murphy visited the former house turned museum where Gandhi spent his final days. He was gunned down by an assassin shortly after he walked out of his room in 1947 to an open area behind the home for a prayer session.
The governor is here to meet with business officials to lure jobs to the Garden State.
Over the course of his week in India, he’s traveling to six cities for more than 50 meetings with at least 1,000 people from companies.