From Barack Obama to Albert Einstein: Mahatma Gandhi inspired famous personalities around the world

How Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy inspired famous personalities around the world.

On Gandhi's 152nd birth anniversary...

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, who was born in 1869 in India, inspired millions of people with his philosophies and principles. Gandhi followed the path of truth and non-violence and led the successful campaign for India's independence from the oppressive British rule. 

On Mahatma Gandhi's 152nd birth anniversary, read how he inspired politicians to lead mass movements for civil rights of oppressed groups around the world, also motivated famous personalities like Albert Einstein and John Lennon.

(Photograph:AFP)

Nelson Mandela

Anti-apartheid activist and former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela drew inspiration from Gandhi's principles and referred to him as his role model. Mandela, who led his country's journey to independence, was dubbed as the 'Gandhi of South Africa'. 

It is worth noting that Mandela and Gandhi never met, but both the leaders followed similar philosophies during their political struggles, ie, truth (satya) and non-violence (ahimsa).

(Photograph:AFP)

Martin Luther King

The famous activist and revolutionary during the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King was inspired by Gandhi. He advocated non-violence and inspired millions of African-Americans to fight for their rights. 

He once said, "Christ gave us the goals, and Mahatma Gandhi tactics."

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Albert Einstein

German-born theoretical physicist Albert Einstein once said: "I believe that Gandhi's views were the most enlightened of all the political men of our time."

One of the greatest physicists of all time Einstein and Gandhi admired and respected each other. They also wrote letters to each other. 

Einstein praised Mahatma Gandhi's principles of non-violence in his letters and audio recordings addressed to the Indian freedom fighter. The letters were dated back to 1931, even before World War II began.

Excerpts from one of the letters, translated from German, read: "You have shown through your works, that it is possible to succeed without violence even with those who have not discarded the method of violence."

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John Lennon

Gandhi's principles were, and still are applicable in all fields as John Lennon, the British musician and member of one of the most popular bands of all time, The Beatles was inspired by Gandhi. 

Several media reports mentioned that John referred to Gandhi as an influence on his music. 

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Barack Obama

Former US President Barack Obama opened up about his fascination with Mahatma Gandhi on several occasions, he also mentioned it in his book "A Promised Land". Obama praised Gandhi for "successful non-violent campaign against the British rule became a beacon for other dispossessed, marginalised groups". 

The former US President was once asked by a kid from Wakefield High School in 2009, that if he could have "dinner with anyone, dead or alive", who that person would be? 

Obama had answered: "Well, dead or alive, that's a pretty big list. You know, I think that it might be Gandhi, who is a real hero of mine."

Obama had once revealed that Mahatma Gandhi's portrait was hanged in the Senate office to remind that the real results come from people. 

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Al Gore

Former US Vice-President Al Gore talked about Gandhi's values and teachings, relating it to the global warming. Al Gore acknowledged Mahatma Gandhi's influence on him. 

He once said, "Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy of satyagraha can be translated to mean truth force. It is this truth force which can help us to fight this battle honestly and with people's participation."

(Photograph:AFP)

Aung San Suu Kyi

Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi once said that Gandhi had been one of the major influences in her life, while addressing students at Columbia University in New York in 2012. 

On February 1, the military seized control of Myanmar and detained elected leader Suu Kyi and members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party. 
 
Ever since mass protests have been taking place across Myanmar. 

(Photograph:AFP)

Dalai Lama

Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama talked highly of Gandhi philosophy and principles and also once told how Gandhi inspired him. While addressing a discourse on 'Ancient Wisdom, Modern Thought' at the University of Mumbai in 2011. 

Lama had said, "Several international personalities are inspired by Mahatma Gandhi's principles of non-violence and harmony, which were born in India. They have understood India's values."

"Non-violence and religious harmony are the two treasures of India. I feel people should learn religious harmony and non-violence from India. The country is a role model for others for non-violence and religious harmony," he had added. 

Another source quoted Lama as saying, "I have the greatest admiration for Mahatma Gandhi. He was a great human being with a deep understanding of human nature. His life has inspired me."

(Photograph:AFP)

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