How Gandhi’s ideas were adopted by Martin Luther King in the 1960s

by carl on October 21, 2013

Gandhi-statue-and-crowd-Oct-2-2013-RBefore the sit-in movement began in 1960, Martin Luther King, Jr. had known little of Mohandas Gandhi’s nonviolent campaigns and strategies for freedom in India. But the American Friends Service Committee helped him visit India to learn much more. And Bayard Rustin, a Quaker civil rights worker, persuaded King to give up the gun he had kept at home. Since then, Gandhi’s ideas and strategies have inspired millions in nonviolent campaigns worldwide.

On September 29, three days before Gandhi’s birthday, more than 100 people came together to attend the dedication of the statue of the great man in front of the River Building at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.

The statue was dedicated by Tsewang Namgyal, the Deputy High Commissioner of the Republic of India and followed by the second annual M.K. Gandhi lecture. The lecture was given this year by Professor Vinay Lal of the University of California at Berkeley on “Gandhi’s religion and the politics of Hinduism.”

Before Gandhi began his famous salt march, he wrote the Viceroy of India, Lord Irwin, and sent him a message telling him “This is what I propose to do,” Lal explained.

“This was quite extraordinary because when military men begin their campaigns, they never tell their opponents their campaign plans,” Professor Lal added.

Gandhi’s religion was based on an openness to all other religious beliefs, even atheism. “That was one of the reasons Gandhi changes his message later in life from ‘God is Truth’ to ‘Truth is God,’” Lal explained.

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