Mahatma Gandhi made all the difference in the world: Nancy Pelosi

The speaker spoke at length about Gandhi’s influence on Dr King and the relevance of his ideals to the present world and one of the gravest of all challenges facing it now, climate change.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar presents a statue of Mahatma Gandhi to the US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi during celebrating his 150th birth anniversary, in Washington.(ANI Photo)
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar presents a statue of Mahatma Gandhi to the US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi during celebrating his 150th birth anniversary, in Washington.(ANI Photo)
Updated on Oct 03, 2019 10:54 PM IST
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Washington | ByYashwant Raj

Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi said on Wednesday America was in debt to India for the strength and inspiration its civil rights movement against racial discrimination, and especially its iconic leader Martin Luther King, drew from Mahatma Gandhi.

“Mahatma Gandhi made all the difference in the world in our country,” Speaker Pelosi said at a Gandhi anniversary event, adding, referring to King being inspired by Gandhi’s concept of of satyagraha and non-violent struggle that he brought back from a visit to India in 1959.

“That is a debt we owe to India,” Pelosi added.

She called the anniversary event, co-hosted by the Indian Embassy at the Library of Congress on US congress campus, “very personal to me” recounting her own introduction to Mahatma Gandhi’s beliefs and ideals when she was a “little girl” in school in the 1950s.

“‘Who do you think you are, Mahatma Gandhi?’,” Pelosi said a teacher had asked her then. Pelosi did not know who Gandhi was at the time and went to the library and read up every book on him stored there. And there were several already, she added with a sense of wonder as it had only been a few years since his death.

The speaker spoke at length about Gandhi’s influence on Dr King and the relevance of his ideals to the present world and one of the gravest of all challenges facing it now, climate change.

“Just as the torch passed from Gandhi to Dr King,” she added,, “the torch now belongs to all of us.”

Pelosi may have picked up the relevance of Gandhi for the climate change battle from External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who speaking before her, had said, “Today, if there is one challenge that Gandhiji would like us to focus on, (that would) be climate change.”

Jaishankar had outlined Gandhi’s influence on many of the socio-economic policies of the Modi government before and went on detail the role India played in stitching up the Paris accord bringing together the many disparate parties and for launching the internal solar alliance.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2022