Mahatma Gandhi’s Legacy

Mahatma Gandhi was a historic figure who demonstrated to the world how love and forgiveness could conquer violence. His philosophy of understanding caused an upheaval in Indian history and sent ripples of change in global politics decades after his death. Gandhi was a common man, but his uncommon acts and philosophy of peace made his life extraordinary. Today, his name is mentioned by global leaders with reference. His name will always be bound up with the liberation of India from the British empire and other nonviolent movements after his death. Gandhi’s influence in India was especially felt after his death in political, social, and religious matters. In many instances, his philosophy of satyagraha, or nonviolent resistance, was demonstrated. It is certain that a thousand years from now, his legend will only grow in scope, and future generations will speak about his martyrdom for India and for love. 

Martin Luther King

Historians widely accept that the civil rights movement in the United States in the nineteen sixties is Gandhi’s greatest legacy in global politics. Scholars feel that the origins of the nonviolent movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King had its origins in Gandhi’s satyagraha. Well before King’s time, Gandhi prophetically remarked that “it may be that through the Negroes, the unadulterated message of non-violence will be delivered to the world.” Because of this, King referred to Gandhi several times in his autobiography. Following Gandhi’s example, he dedicated himself to non-violence despite being continuously threatened and provoked. He had immersed himself completely in Gandhi’s philosophy. There were groups within King’s African-American followers who wanted to retaliate with violence, but King addressed these groups and stopped them from responding to violence with violence. Gandhi’s philosophy had clearly made its way into the African-Americans’ fight for equality, just as Gandhi had forecasted. Like Gandhi, King believed that civil disobedience was not a refusal to act but a courageous means of the determined. He was convinced that Gandhi was correct when he said that civil disobedience required complete fearlessness. And so, King fought for African-American equality using Gandhi’s philosophy of passive resistance. The accomplishments of the American Civil Rights movement could not have been possible without Gandhi’s teachings that lived on after his death. As King once said, “Christ gave me the message, Gandhi gave me the method.”

Nelson Mandela

In 1894, Gandhi established the Natal Indian Congress to fight for the rights of Indian merchants in Natal. The purposes of Natal Indian Congress inspired Nelson Mandela, who fought against apartheid in South Africa and became its first president. Mandela was deeply influenced by Gandhi’s march from Transvaal to Natal in 1913 to protest against the Immigrant Regulation Act. He was equally moved by Gandhi’s Salt March in 1930 as a nonviolent opposition against the cruel salt tax imposed by the British government. 

Women’s Rights

Gandhi believed that women deserved to enjoy the rights enjoyed by men, and he preached this belief to Indian society. Today, much still has to be done to allow women to enjoy equal rights as men, but Gandhi had begun the movement. It is now not shocking to see Indian women actively participating in the upper levels of politics and society, shoulder to shoulder with men. This is exemplified by women like Indira Gandhi, the author Arundhati Roy, the politicians Mamata Banerjee and Uma Bharati, the lawyer and politician Sushma Swaraj, and several others. Because of Gandhi, Indian women now enjoy more social rights and have acquired leverage in entering political careers. It is expected that the place of women in Indian society will only improve in the following decades.

Aung San Suu Kyi

Gandhi’s legacy and influence reached the Burmese politician and diplomat Aung San Suu Kyi. Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. He holds Gandhi as one of the most powerful inspirations that touched her life and urged people to read the Indian reformers’ written works. According to Aung San Suu Kyi, Gandhi was an extraordinary person, and anyone who immersed himself in Gandhi’s works will only be more amazed at what kind of a philosopher of peace he was. 

Legacy of Love and Forgiveness

It is said that a great man’s deeds reach far and wide across time and space, and it could be that Gandhi’s influence is beyond those recorded in history. However, it is a great testament to his name that global leaders have acknowledged the influence of his philosophy. Gandhi’s life and philosophy of non-violence have been a source of inspiration for common people who do not have much control over politics. However, because of Gandhi, individuals everywhere have learned that they have collective power and that the ways of love and understanding can always be used for their cause. Gandhi has shown the world that an ordinary man like him can use the power of truth to fight for human dignity. The world will always be reminded of Gandhi’s words — “An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.”