History has witnessed thousands of wars while what the world really needed and still needs is peace. There have been activists who have preached peace and have blessed us with the world we have today. These are the people who have come forward and led movements to make the world a better place to live in.
Today, on the occasion of International Day of Peace, let us remember some of these peace activists who used their power and influence for good:
Martin Luther King Jr
The man who led the Civil Rights Movement in the United States is synonymous with peace activism. His ‘I have a dream’ speech took the world by storm and through the Civil Rights Movement, he put an end to the segregation of African Americans throughout the States.
He believed in protesting peacefully and led famous movements like Montgomery Bus Boycott and made the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 possible. He got the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 but was sadly assassinated in 1968.
Speaking of the Civil Rights Movement, it would be a disservice to not mention Rosa Parks, also known as the 'the first lady of civil rights'. The lady who refused to give up her seat for a white passenger and went on to play a pivotal role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, she became an international icon for resistance.
All words would fall short when it comes to describing Gandhi’s role in the Indian Independence Movement. However, what made him stand out as an activist was his peaceful approach. He believed in protesting peacefully and led movements like Civil Disobedience Movement, Dandi March and Satyagraha Movement.
Not only did he lead India to independence, but his ways also inspired leaders and activists throughout the world and propagated the idea of protesting peacefully. Apart from the Indian Freedom Struggle, he led movements against the oppression of the minorities like Harijans and Dalits in India.
He spent 27 years in jail for the protests he did in South Africa, and even after that, when he was released, the passion for fighting against the oppression of the people of colour did not go away and he continued to do so till his last breath.
He went on to become the first black President of South Africa and got a Nobel Peace Prize to his name. He broke social barriers and dedicated his life to fighting against apartheid. His legacy still lives on and right now, we are in the Nelson Mandela Decade of Peace, as declared by the United Nations.
She is someone who dedicated her life to look after the poor and underprivileged. She has utmost compassion for others and throughout her life, she became a mother for all, for everyone who needed someone to look after them.
With nothing to gain from her efforts, she was not inducing some revolution, rather, she did her bit in making the world a better place for the sake of her love for god.
Throughout the world, her efforts were recognised and gained momentum and she went on to win a Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and several other prestigious accolades.
He is a religious leader who preaches peace and has worked against China’s influence over Tibet. In one of his visits to Cornell University, he talked about “A Human Approach to World Peace” and won over the audience. Even though there is nothing particularly revolutionary in his ways, wherever he goes, he promotes peace and compassion.