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Gandhi a 'man of all times and places': US Congress

world Updated: Oct 16, 2009 11:33 IST

IANS
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The US Congress has passed a resolution congratulating the visionary leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, which enhanced the rapidly deepening friendship between the United States and India.

Unanimously passed by the US House of Representatives Thursday, the resolution also acknowledges and commends the Indian leader's "unique and lasting role in the establishment of the state of India and its democratic institutions, which will be revered for generations to come."

With American lawmakers describing Gandhi as a "man of all times and places", Democrat member Eni Faleomavaega introduced the resolution recognising the 140th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi.

"While much has been said about the great works of Gandhi's life, it is important that we never forget that without Gandhi, the fates of what is now the world's largest democracy, India, and the oldest democracy, the United States, would likely be far different," he said

"Though his life was cut tragically short by an assassin's bullet, his legacy is seen in the over 1.5 billion people who inhabit the free and independent countries of the Indian subcontinent and by our own embrace of the principles of non-violent political action, unity and religious tolerance within the United States," Faleomavaega said.

Mahatma Gandhi served as an inspiration for a movement that ended the rule of the British Raj and created a free and independent Indian state, he said.

"But of equal significance, especially to us in this Chamber today, Mahatma Gandhi inspired the American civil rights movement that hailed one of America's most remarkable social and political transformations," Faleomavaega added.

Republican member Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said Gandhi believed and developed the distinctive philosophy of non-violence. This philosophy has influenced so many great figures of world history from Nehru to the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr to Aung San Suu Kyi, she said.

"As a recent biographer noted, fundamentally, Gandhi was a man of vision and action, who asked many of the most profound questions that face humankind as it struggles to live in a community," she said.

"As a man of his time who asked the deepest questions, even though he may not have had all of the answers, he became a man for all times and all places."

Remembering Gandhi as one of the most revered people of the last century, Republican Ed Royce, said, the "Mahatma is remembered for his efforts to build religious amity. Above all else, however, Gandhi worked tirelessly to free his nation and helped direct India into a new era of democracy."

Having travelled to India during recent elections, he was witness to the largest democratic display the world has ever seen, Royce said adding, "I would have to say that Gandhi himself would indeed have been proud of how far his nation has come... We are here today to help keep the spirit of Gandhi alive and to remember his remarkable achievements."