gandhi-king-initiative-passes-us-house-committee

Context: The US House Foreign Affairs Committee passed the Gandhi-King Exchange Act and the bill is set to establish an exchange programme between the United States and India in order to share knowledge on and study the legacies of Gandhi and Luther King Jr.

About the Act

  • The bill was written by American civil rights icon John Lewis who recently passed away.
  • The Act empowers the US State Department, in collaboration with the Indian government, to set up an annual educational forum for academics and scholars from both the countries to focus on the legacies of Mohandas Karamchand ‘Mahatma’ Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.
  • The initiative also intends to begin a development training system on conflict resolution founded on the principles of non-violence of Gandhi, and establish a base to address social, environmental, and health concerns in India.

Significance: 

  • Civil rights movements and fight for equal rights has been the cornerstone of resurrected democracies like India and the United States of America. 
  • And this movement was built on ideologies and grit of stalwart leaders, such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.

Mahatma Gandhi

  • Gandhi helped free the Indian people from British rule through nonviolent resistance, and is honoured by Indians as the father of the Indian Nation.
  • There are five great contributions which Mahatma Gandhi gave to the world as follows:
    • New spirit and technique- Satyagraha;
    • The Emphasis that the moral universe is one and that the morals of individuals, groups, and nations must be the same. 
    • His insistence that the means and the ends must be consistent; 
    • The fact that he held no ideals he did not embody or was not in the process of embodying.
    • A willingness to suffer and die for his principles. The greatest of these is his Satyagraha.

Martin Luther King Jr. 

  • Martin Luther King Jr. was an African American minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968.
  • Among his many efforts, King headed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). 
  • Through his activism and inspirational speeches, he played a pivotal role in ending the legal segregation of African-American citizens in the United States, as well as the creation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Image source: Indian Express