Gandhi inspired a whole generation of Americans: Meera Shankar

Gandhi inspired a whole generation of Americans: Meera Shankar

Indian Ambassador to the United States Meera Shankar

Delivering the 26th Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Lecture in san Diego, California, Shankar said the India's Father of the Nation was influenced by the developments in the United States at that time.

"A remarkable flow of ideas between India and the United States helped shape Mahatma Gandhi's ideas which in turn provided a new paradigm for political movements in the US," Shankar said in her address. The event was organised by the San Diego Indian American Society.

"Henry David Thoreau's idea of civil disobedience influenced the evolution of Gandhiji's concept of 'Satyagraha', or "Truth Force", which became the defining principle of India's freedom struggle moulding a colonized people into a potent movement for freedom," Shankar said.
"Gandhiji and his life in turn influenced and inspired a whole generation of Americans in the civil rights movement, including one of the great American leaders of our time, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr," she said in her speech.

Both Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Shankar said demonstrated that power need not come from the barrel of a gun, or might from wealth, that truth and perseverance, or 'Satyagraha', can be more lasting and effective.
While Gandhiji fought the injustices of apartheid in South Africa or the colonial rule of the British in India, he willfully suffered punishment for violating the laws laid down by those regimes but refused to hate the perpetrators of those injustices, she said.

"He believed that Satyagraha or non-violent resistance appealed to the inner conscience which every human being possesses and, therefore, it had the unique capacity to change the mind-set of the oppressor," Shankar said.

She presented the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Scholarships to 17 meritorious students from various nationalities; being given by the San Diego Indian American Society. She also presented to four students AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) scholarship, which is given to children coming from families who do not have college education.

Earlier in the day, Shankar was presented with a "Key of San Diego" by the City Mayor Jerry Sanders. She also met the Chancellor of the University of California, San Diego Campus, Marye Anne Fox. The management guru, C K Prahlad, Marye Anne Fox, besides several eminent persons were present at the lecture function organized by the San Diego Indian American Society.

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