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.