Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta visited India in early 1959 and travelled extensive throughout the sub-continent (a few years before King attained global fame). At one point, King famously said he came to India as a pilgrim not as a tourist.
In 2009, All-India Radio uncovered a taped speech King delivered in India, which highlighted his debt to Indian independence leader
Mahatma Gandhi, who inspired his approach to non-violent resistance.
Sadly, King would meet the same fate as Gandhi – murdered by an assassin’s bullet.
Here are two segments from King’s India speech*.
“Since being in India, I am more convinced than ever before that the method of nonviolent resistance is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for justice and human dignity. In a world since Mahatma Gandhi embodied in his life certain universal principles that are inherent in the moral structure of the universe, and these principles are as inescapable as the law of gravitation.”
“Many years ago, when Abraham Lincoln was shot - and incidentally, he was shot for the same reason that Mahatma Gandhi, was shot for, namely, for committing the crime of wanting to heal the wounds of a divided nation - and when he was shot, Secretary Stanton stood by the dead body of the great leader and said these words: Now he belongs to the ages. And in a real sense, we can say the same thing about Mahatma Gandhi, and even in stronger terms: Now he belongs to the ages. And if this age is to survive, it must follow the way of love and nonviolence that he so nobly illustrated in his life. And Mahatma Gandhi may well be God's appeal to this generation, for in a day when sputniks and explorers dash through outer space and guided ballistic missiles are carving highways of death through the stratosphere; no nation can win a war. Today, we no longer have a choice between violence and nonviolence; it is either nonviolence or nonexistence.”
*Source: National Public Radio.