Gandhi's Influence: Martin Luther King Jr.

Gandhi was thought to be, by most people, the most outstanding nonviolence practitioner. He inspired countless battles for peace, justice, and freedom. Gandhi used a racial perspective to his politics. He helped free India from Britain's rule, but he also had an intense influence on social movement around the world including civil rights, peace, anti-nuclear, women's rights, environmental rights, and human rights movements in the United Sates of America. Martin Luther King Jr. adopted and used his approaches to obtain equality for African Americas. King visited India in 1958 to take in the attitudes of the community that made Gandhi the great leader he was. King's visit inspired him with Gandhi's philosophy and he entered in the civil rights movement in the United Sates of America using the tools of nonviolence effectively. During the parade for the 20th birthday celebration of Martin Luther King Jr., Shashi Tripathi, the new Indian Consul General in New York City, described King as the "spiritual son" of the Mahatma. Gandhi fought for Independence of India and with its independence, India became the second biggest functioning democracy.

King and Gandhi shared many of the same beliefs including the idea that by not protesting one was agreeing to wrong. Many times King repeated the Mahatma's words, "Non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as cooperation with good." They both taught that nonviolence was not only effective, but also the only religious method. In both of their careers, they struggled to put together politics and religion without compromising either of them. King's aspirations were to change society, its structure, its evils, and its balance of power. Gandhi was more appealed to self-realization and the personal acceptance of God.

When King was asked what he obtained during his visit in India, he said he was, "more convinced than ever before that nonviolence resistance is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom." King's 1963 march on Washington is usually compared with Gandhi's Great Salt March in its creative presentation and astonishing organization. Gandhi's spirit lead people and made them resolutely believe in common goals which is important to the success of resistance. It was maybe the most importance notion that King adopted from him.

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