Mohandas Ghandi organized the independence of India from the British through non-violent protest. This man of great integrity earned the respect of the people of India, attaining the title of Mahatma (Great Soul), by practicing what he said and thoughtfully saying what his conscious dictated, guided my moral principle.
His priority was the wellbeing of a group of people, Indians, and was willing to sacrifice himself so that people would arise above the brutal instincts of violence. The people viewed him as a sage, his words as wise, and with such respect that they followed his advice. They overcame violent urges against an imperial occupier AND the confrontational instincts of two religions. Following Ghandi's words, they achieved their goal.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led the Civil Rights Movement in the United States through non-violent civil disobedience, like Ghandi, to highlight the injustices of the legal system. His movement was against a system that judged people based on their culture and the color of their skin.
The civil rights movement and discrimination based on race and culture exists today and will continue to exist for generations, until the wisdom of tolerance is proven to everybody. There is much work to be done.
It is signifcant that both men were deeply religious.
Where is the Ghandi or MLK, Jr. of today?
Our world is facing an economic descrimination. Powerful corporations, working in their own self interest, willingly or ignorantly deny economic opportunity to others. The scene is reminiscent of the US in the 1920s, but certainly not limited to this country. We are bound by the best interest of the "shareholder".
Whereas Ghandi and MLK, Jr. represented groups that were easily identyfiable and had the ability to be organized, the economically oppressed do not share such characteristics. In fact, many Indians and African-Ameircans fall in this category. They are common in their access to numbers, or their lack thereof. Limited by access to information, by those who control information and use it for their gain.
Where is the leader with such grace and eloquence, calm determination, moral integrity, where is the leader that can unite the world? What is the form of non-violent civil disobedience that can highlight an injust system? What can you do in an active fashion to promote the kind of society that you desire, to be the change you want to see, as Ghandi said.