Gandhi ''spiritual godfather'' of modern democracy:Jesse Jackson

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New Delhi, Jan 28 (UNI) Describing Mahatma Gandhi as the ''spiritual godfather'' of modern democracy, famed US civil rights activist Jesse Jackson today said he had combined faith, vision and spirituality to beqeath a legacy of ''non-violent emancipation'' to the world.

Rev Jackson lavished praise on the Father of the Nation and said the US was indebted to him as his model of ''inclusive democracy'' had inspired Martin Luther King(Jr) and paved the foundation for a democratic America where African-Americans could vote.

''The democratic movement led By King and inspired by Mahatma Gandhi was for a universal and inclusive democracy where women, coloured people and untouchables had a role,'' he told reporters here.

Fighting external aggression was not enough if it was not running parallel with a struggle against internal oppression, he said and cited Mahatma's Gandhi's battle against the British and untouchability.

''When one thinks of modern democracy and an end to colonialisation and occupation, at the end of the spring of hope is the Mahatma,'' He said India was a strong and stable country, providing a global framework for democracy to the world.

''At the root of democracies and freedom movements across the world is India- the world's largest democracy- and at the heart is America -the world's superpower- they have been inspired by the Gandhi-King doctrine,'' he added.

He said both Christianity and Hinduism preached about being ''free from fear''.

Jesus Christ had called upon his followers to cast off fear and even Mahatma Gandhi asked the people ''not to be afraid''.

The Mahatma-King brand of democracy envisaged a world without fear of aggression, slavery, starvation and poverty, Rev Jackson said.

''We should make efforts to redistribute health and security not fear,'' he said.

UNI RR SK RN1954

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