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Business News/ Politics / ‘Sacred warrior, most enlightened’: Einstein, Mandela, others on Mahatma Gandhi amid PM Modi's controversial remark
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‘Sacred warrior, most enlightened’: Einstein, Mandela, others on Mahatma Gandhi amid PM Modi's controversial remark

PM Modi claimed that Mahatma Gandhi's global recognition was influenced by the 1982 British-Indian historical film ‘Gandhi’. Here is what world-renowned figures Nelson Mandela, Albert Einstein and Martin Luther King Jr have said about the Father of the Nation.

In this file photograph dated April 11, 1947, Mahatma Gandhi (centre) visits the Viceroy of India Lord Louis Mountbatten and his wife Lady Edwina Mountbatten at their residence in New Delhi. Premium
In this file photograph dated April 11, 1947, Mahatma Gandhi (centre) visits the Viceroy of India Lord Louis Mountbatten and his wife Lady Edwina Mountbatten at their residence in New Delhi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a recent TV interview, stated that Mahatma Gandhi was unknown to the world until the 1982 movie ‘Gandhi’, starring Ben Kingsley, was released. The statement comes ahead of the last phase of the ongoing Lok Sabha Elections 2024. 

PM Modi, sharing his observations from his world tours, revealed that the world's recognition of Mahatma Gandhi was significantly influenced by Richard Attenborough's movie 'Gandhi'. He also pointed out that while figures like Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr were globally renowned, the Indian government could have done more to promote Mahatma Gandhi's legacy, which has resonated across the world. 

ALSO READ: 'Koi nahin janta tha Mahatma Gandhi ko…': PM Modi's big claim amid Lok Sabha election

However, the stalwarts of activism that PM Modi mentioned during his TV interview had made several statements on Gandhi, even before the 1982 movie was released. 

Let's take a look:

Martin Luther King Jr

After the arrest of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King led the 381-day boycott that would make him famous. Of the nonviolent direct action technique, he said, “Christ showed us the way, and Gandhi in India showed it could work."

On January 30, 1958, Dr Martin Luther King Jr wrote an article for the Hindustan Times. “In our struggle against racial segregation in Montgomery, Alabama, I came to see at a very early stage that a synthesis of Gandhi’s method of non-violence and the Christian ethic of love is the best weapon available to Negroes for this struggle for freedom and human dignity. It may well be that the Gandhian approach will bring about a solution to the race problem in America," he stated in the article.

ALSO READ: Was Mahatma Gandhi unknown before the 'Gandhi' film? A look at his famous statues worldwide

Martin Luther King Jr emerged as a towering figure in American history, distinguished by his role as a Christian minister, activist, and visionary political thinker. 

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela was celebrated as a stalwart of South Africa's anti-apartheid struggle. The first president of South Africa had said that Mahatma Gandhi was a “sacred warrior". 

Mandela said Mahatma Gandhi combined ethics and morality with a steely resolve that refused to compromise with the oppressor, the British Empire.

Albert Einstein

In 1939, eminent scientist and theoretical physicist Albert Einstein wrote a letter to Mahatma Gandhi. In the letter, Einstein used various adjectives and phrases to praise Gandhi, such as “unsupported by any outward authority", and “the convincing power of his personality".

ALSO READ: Rahul Gandhi's dig at PM Modi's ‘nobody knew Mahatma Gandhi’ remark: 'Only a student of Entire Political Science would…'

“I believe that Gandhi’s views were the most enlightened of all the political men of our time. We should strive to do things in his spirit: not to use violence in fighting for our cause, but by non-participation in anything you believe is evil," Einstein had written in the letter. 

Einstein called Mahatma Gandhi's pacifism an “instinctive feeling" based only on his “deepest antipathy to every kind of cruelty and hatred," rather than any “intellectual theory." His politics often paralleled those of fellow intellectual giant and anti-war activist Bertrand Russell.

Romain Rolland

French dramatist and novelist Romain Rolland, in his introduction to the French edition of Young India, said, "If (Jesus) Christ was the Prince of Peace, Gandhi is no less worthy of this noble title." Mahatma Gandhi visited him at Villeneuve in Switzerland, on his way to India after attending the Round Table Conference in London in 1931.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sayantani
Sayantani is a Chief Content Producer with Livemint. Her interests are politics, war, and conflict. Off-duty, she explores cultural history and the 'Pedagogy of the Oppressed'
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Published: 29 May 2024, 05:02 PM IST
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