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Gandhian philosophy inspired Mandela, Kennedy: Krishna

world Updated: Jan 30, 2010 21:04 IST

External Affairs Minister SM Krishna on Saturday underlined the contemporary relevance of the Gandhian philosophy, saying it had inspired some of the greatest leaders of our generation.

Paying floral tributes and releasing a souvenir on Mahatma Gandhi, to mark the 60th anniversary of the Indian Republic at the Gandhi statue in Tavistock Square in London,he said "Gandhiji fought for truth, justice, equality and equity."

Gandhi was also inspirational to several icons like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr and John F Kennedy, Krishna said.

"Kennedy believed in Mahatma Gandhi's teachings. It is with a sense of great respect that we have gathered here to pay our tributes, our respect to a great human being, a great leader of mankind."

Recalling his meeting with the great leader, Krishna said, "I had the greatest fortune of meeting the Mahatma in 1946. As a teenager, I went, as part of a delegation led by Ramakrishna Mission Swamiji to attend Gandhiji's prayer at the Birla Mandir."

After meeting the Mahatma, Krishna, a teenager, was so impressed with him that he handed over his ear rings to him, sources told PTI.

Gandhi, the apostle of peace, fought for certain principles and inalienable rights of mankind but never hated anybody, Krishna said. "He wanted a balanced, inclusive and just society."