Mahatma Gandhi 150: World leaders influenced by Bapu
New Delhi, Oct 2: India and the world is celebrating 150th birth anniversary of 'Father of the Nation' Mahatma Gandhi. The man who won the freedom with his staunch belief in non-violence has left indelible impact on the tallest leaders from every generations.
Even after one and a half century he walked the earth, governments recognize his contribution to peace and non-violence. Half a dozen influential US lawmakers, including four Indian-Americans, have moved a resolution in the US House of Representatives to posthumously award the prestigious Congressional Gold Medal to Mahatma Gandhi in recognition of his promotion of peace and non-violence.
Albert Einstein and Gandhi were big admirers of each other and exchanged letters frequently. Einstein once said, " Generations to come, it may well be, will scarce believe that such a man as this one ever in flesh and blood walked upon this Earth." called Gandhi "a role model for the generations to come" in a letter, writing about him. "I believe that Gandhi's views were the most enlightened of all the political men in our time," he said.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Deeply influenced by the works of Gandhi, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, said, " From my background I gained my regulating Christian ideals", he later said, " From Gandhi, I learned my operational technique". "Christ gave us the goals and Mahatma Gandhi the tactics," said Martin Luther King Jr.
Ho Chi Minh
Vietnamese communist revolutionary leader, Ho Chi Minh, was also an admirer of Gandhi: "I and others may be revolutionaries but we are disciples of Mahatma Gandhi, directly or indirectly, nothing more nothing less," he said.
Nelson Mandela, great leader of the South African people and another giant of the 20th century anti-colonial struggle, often cited Mahatma Gandhi as one of his greatest teachers: "Gandhi's ideas have played a vital role in South Africa's transformation and with the help of Gandhi's teaching, apartheid has been overcome."
In an address in honour of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela ahead of the 100th anniversary of his birth, Obama made a plea to his audience to preserve democratic freedoms as the key to peace. "Let me tell you what I believe. I believe in Nelson Mandela's vision, I believe in a vision shared by (Mahatma) Gandhi and (Martin Luther) King, and Abraham Lincoln, I believe in a vision of equality and justice and freedom and multi-racial democracy built on a premise that all people are created equal and are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights.
In 2009, when Barack Obama was visiting Wakefield High School in the US, a ninth grader asked the would-be President: "If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?" Obama chuckled and answered: "Well, dead or alive, that's a pretty big list. You know, I think that it might be Gandhi, who is a real hero of mine."