Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr:
The Power of Nonviolent Action
2nd edition, New Delhi: ICCR/Mehta Publishers, 2002
Orig. Paris: UNESCO Publishing, 1999
his is a remarkable introduction to many of the contributions of M. K. Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., and others, to the development of nonviolent action in the twentieth century. It is highly recommended, both to those holding a belief in principled nonviolence and those exploring the history of nonviolent struggle. Gene Sharp, Senior Scholar
Albert Einstein Institution
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Mahatma Gandhi started his adult life as a shy law student, yet he went on to provide dynamic leadership for eight historic struggles—including the independence of India from British colonialism, against the caste system, and to counter the maltreatment of women. Through his grasp of the power of Truth, Gandhi experimented with building justice, human rights, and democracy in a manner that would leave no bitterness—always the legacy of violence. Martin Luther King, Jr., neither seeking nor wanting leadership, had to be cajoled into becoming the leader of a bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, that would change the face of the United States. The success of the Gandhian strategies that King adopted made him, ultimately, the moral leader of his country and resulted in one of the world’s foremost documents on nonviolent struggle. For decades prior to King’s emergence, however, African-American leaders had traveled to India to meet with Gandhi and learn his techniques for wielding the power that left no thirst for revenge. Tutors schooled in the Indian independence campaigns went to Montgomery, persuaded King to put down his gun, and taught him Gandhi’s insights into revolutionary nonviolence. Transmitted mostly by word of mouth, the wisdom of Gandhi and King has been employed by any number of peoples and recent popular movements—including the Poles, East German, Czechs and Slovaks, the Burmese, Palestinians, and recently the Tunisians, and Egyptians. Nonviolent struggle places in effective balance both ethics and practicality, and as a result of its contemporary use, military manuals, political lexicons, and world maps have had to be revised. This book looks at nonviolent political strategy and change in the twentieth century by chronicling some of its theorists, their strategies, and their struggles, and in one section, by comparing the words of Gandhi and King.
Author Mary King covers nine contemporary nonviolent political movements in which Gandhian strategies were influential. In 1988, she won a Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for Freedom Song: A Personal Story of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement (1987), an account of her four years working in the student wing of the U.S. civil rights movement alongside the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr (no relation). Professor of peace and conflict studies at the University for Peace, affiliated with the UN, King is also distinguished scholar at the American University Center for Global Peace, in Washington, DC, and a Rothermere American Institute Fellow, University of Oxford, United Kingdom. During the Carter administration, King had responsibility for the Peace Corps ― then in sixty countries. An expert on nonviolent strategic action in political conflicts, King holds a Ph.D. in international politics from the University of Wales at Aberystwyth.
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