Washington, Oct 16: In a post 9/11 world where violence is celebrated, Mahatma Gandhi’s strategy of non-violence continues to inspire struggles across the world, says Indian Ambassador to the US Nirupama Rao.
“The influence of Gandhi has by no means ceased,” she said delivering the annual Martin Luther King Jr Mahatma Gandhi Lecture, ‘Gandhi for our Century: the Message enduring’ at the Howard University here Tuesday.
“His political action strategy, the well planned and executed application of non-violence, continues to inspire struggles across the world,” she said.
“The management of diversity with courage and foresight is also an important lesson from Gandhi that we must learn.”
“The zig zag of interconnected existence between African American communities in the US and the people of India to end discrimination and domination by one race against another makes for a fascinating and compelling history,” Rao said.
Citing a Sri Lankan friend, Radhika Coomaraswamy, the ambassador noted that in a post 9/11 world “the art of negotiation and the spirit of compromise are given much less value”.
“We have come to celebrate violence,” she said.
“Increasingly, the idea of a ‘commons’ where people of the world share and include rather than exclude or marginalise has escaped us,” Rao said asserting “this is not the world Gandhi lived and died for”.
“We must address this deficiency, this shortcoming with a sense of urgency and seriousness,” she said suggesting that the best way to help ensure that Gandhi’s message “would be enduring is to apply his thoughts and his principles in our daily lives”.
Noting that “the trend where religion divides rather than promotes harmony and provides a breadth of vision is becoming all too prominent,” Rao said: “Gandhi would have fought such senselessness, and we must do so.”
“We have to cut off the chain of hate,” she said citing American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, whose struggle was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi.
An interactive photo wall depicting the intersection of the lives and works of Mahatma Gandhi and King was also opened at Howard University Tuesday. Viewers can explore the background details of photo exhibits using their smart phones.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)