June 25, 2022

Rao Pens Editorial on Gandhi for ‘Great Lives’ Lecture

Professor of Communication and Chair of the Department of Communication and Digital Studies Anand Rao

Professor of Communication and Chair of the Department of Communication and Digital Studies Anand Rao

Professor of Communication and Chair of the Department of Communication and Digital Studies Anand Rao penned an editorial on the life of Mohandas K. Gandhi, also known as Mahatma Gandhi, in The Free Lance-Star in advance of his ‘Great Lives’ lecture on Thursday, March 11. The lecture can be watched here.

WHILE touring India in 1959, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. visited Mani Bhavan, the house where Mahatma Gandhi had lived in Mumbai. It was in this home that Gandhi launched his Indian movement for truth and nonviolence, called satyagraha.

The home had been turned into a museum, and the upstairs room where Gandhi had slept still held his mattress and shoes. When King visited, he asked if he could spend the night in that room, saying, “I am not going anywhere else. I am going to stay here, because I am getting vibrations of Gandhi.”

The curators pulled two cots into the room, and Rev. King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, spent the night next to Gandhi’s mattress. Soon after, King told All India Radio that he had decided to adopt Gandhi’s methods of civil disobedience as his own.

Gandhi’s philosophy of satyagraha inspired development of our own civil rights movement. Dr. King returned from his trip to India committed to employing a Gandhian strategy of nonviolence.

But Dr. King was not the only civil rights leader to follow Gandhi’s philosophy. While Dr. King was introduced to Gandhi and his practice of nonviolent protest in the late 1940s, James Farmer started following the teachings of Gandhi as early as 1940. Farmer employed the techniques and practice of satyagraha in the first civil rights sit-in in Chicago in 1942. Read more.