India’s independence and Mahatma Gandhi go hand in hand. One can never miss Gandhi’s name while talking about the struggles for an independent India against Britishers. When Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi returned to India in 1945 as an expatriate lawyer in South Africa, India was struggling.
The overexploitation of peasants and urban labourers by big money landlords wrecked him. His ideal approach and belief were always against violence. His first act was to mobilise them in a protest campaign as social reform in India. In the next few years, Gandhi would discover unique ways and means to challenge British authority and revolutionise the existing economic, religious, and caste order.
In the meantime, the Gandhian way of struggle against exploitation turned into a political methodology. Gandhian ideology was praised and followed by many leaders of the world and inspired many revolutionaries around the globe. His revolutionary mythology helped the leaders and revolutionaries to bring about changes and social reforms.
Today on October 2, 2021, we remember Mahatma Gandhi on his 152nd birthday anniversary; we’ll be looking upon the notable world leaders actively inspired by the Gandhian model of ‘ahinsa’ and ‘satyagraha’.
Nelson Mandela was, in numerous ways, during his lifetime, a specialist of Mahatma Gandhi's way of thinking of Satyagraha. Mandela alluded to Gandhi as his excellent example and was roused by Gandhi to lead South Africa's freedom struggle. He was also indicated as the 'Gandhi of South Africa'. While Mandela and Gandhi never met, both were connected by energy to end abuse and achieve change and took up the reason for their particular colonised nations and their enslaved individuals, motivating them to oppose persecution. Gandhi's way of thinking and approach made a permanent imprint on Mandela, and it moulded his sociopolitical venture in South Africa.
Aung San Suu Kyi
Myanmar democratic icon Aung San Suu Kyi has described Gandhi as his most significant source of influence. In 2012 during her visit to Columbia University in New York, where she got a standing ovation, the 67-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner said she was inspired by Gandhi’s writings and strongly recommended that the students read his struggles and beliefs.
“Gandhi is somebody phenomenal. I think all readers should read about him, the more you read Gandhi, the more impressed you are by who he was and what he was,” he said. The influence of Gandhi's methodology has helped her in keeping herself disciplined as she moved ahead toward her goals during her years as a prisoner of conscience.
He is a Buddhist advocate for peace and freedom. From his exile in India, the religious and political leader the Dalai Lama has since 1959 stood at the head of the non-violent opposition to China’s occupation of Tibet. In 1956, when the Dalai Lama made his first-ever visit to New Delhi, his first stop was at Rajghat, the cremation ground of Gandhi. The Dalai Lama believed to be guided by Gandhian philosophy in his ongoing struggle for Tibetan independence. He believes that the only way to bring about reforms is to follow the path of non-violence.
Martin Luther King Jr
The African-American civil rights movement is one of the most noteworthy of American history. During his early days of activism in the 1950s, King hardly ever referred to Gandhi or his philosophy of non-violence. Later in 1947, he was introduced to Gandhi. He followed Gandhi’s philosophy very extensively in the civil rights movement, wherein the participants were given thorough training in the method, inspired by Gandhi philosophy and reforms.
Ho Chi Min
Vetanemes revolutionary leader describes himself as “half Lenin, half Gandhi.” A Vietnamese revolutionary leader of mid 20th century was primarily influenced by Gandhian thought of non-violence. “I and others may be revolutionaries, but we are disciples of Mahatma Gandhi, directly or indirectly, nothing more, nothing less,” he is believed to have said.