New Delhi, Jan 29 (UNI) Describing Mahatma Gandhi as a dreamer who transcended his times, religion and country, American civil rights activist Jesse Jackson today said ''Bapu's legacy of changeless values in changing times'' could serve as a frame of reference for future generations.
''Even 60 years after his martyrdom, his dreams of democracy, peace and human rights are alive. Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King(Jr) were dreamers who marched to a different beat and heard a different sound,'' Reverend Jackson said while delivering the Gandhi Memorial lecture here.
He said dreamers like the Mahatma had visions which were 'bigger'' than their ethnicity, religion and country and were ahead of their times.
Leaders like Nelson Mandela and Dr King chose ''reconciliation instead of retaliation'' and Mahatma Gandhi could be called the spiritual godfather of these figures who sought to change the world, he said.
''Gandhi is the chief headstone at the fountain of hope..
death did not frighten him or deter his mission. He radiated a light that the darkness of death could not extinguish.'' The Mahatma's legacy of non violence should be remembered by all in the present context where disputes were leading to unrest, he said. ''Non-violence is a sign of strength not weakness of active not passive resistance.'' Rev Jackson said that for Mahatma Gandhi, ''ahimsa'' did not just mean non violence in action. ''Ahimsa also meant that one should not indulge in deeds that could offend people or harbour uncharitable thoughts even about an enemy.'' He stressed that ''freedom from fear'' was a common strain in the teachings of''Gandhi, Mandela, King and even Jesus Christ''.
The Mahatma's philosophy of ''ahinsa'' has great relevence today.
''Gandhi would have challenged the war in Iraq and the right to pre-emptive strike and the billions spent in a degenerate war..He would have wanted global investment in the poor,'' he said.
He dreamt of a world where the aim was to ''wipe out poverty not the poor'', Rev Jackson added.
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