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Congressional Tributes to Mahatma Gandhi

Young India asked several members of the United States Congress to reflect upon the 75th Anniversary of the Salt March and the inspiration which Gandhi has provided them.

Congressman Gary L. Ackerman (D, NY-5), Democratic Co-Chair of the Congressional India Caucus

Remembering the Salt March
Today’s newspapers are regularly filled with headlines referring to India’s advancements in business, technology, science and entertainment, so it is difficult to believe that only 75 years ago today Mahatma Gandhi led 78 activists on the famous 200 mile long march to protest the British Salt Tax.

The 23 day journey demonstrated to the world the power of civil disobedience and encouraged countless followers across India to defy British colonial rule by the simple act of making salt. The genius and simplicity of Gandhi’s protest is considered the turning point in the struggle for Indian independence.

Here in America, Gandhi’s non-violent methods were adopted by Dr. Martin Luther King as African-Americans struggled for civil rights in the 1960’s. Dr. King’s efforts led to significant changes to ensure that all Americans are equal under the law.

As we reflect on the 75th anniversary of Gandhi’s historic march, we can see examples across the globe of the power of his ideas wherever people peacefully pursue change or fight injustice.

Congressman Rush Holt (D, NJ-12)

Mahatma Gandhi’s Salt March on March 12, 1930 had repercussions far outlasting the immediate goal of protesting British Salt taxes for India. With this protest and his general philosophy towards non-violent civil disobedience, Gandhi inspired generations of people to seek change in their own lives. In these days where politics can seem a stagnant struggle between parties and with more and more people throughout the world turning towards violence as a means to solve their problems, the memory of Gandhi and his views can act as a welcome reminder of the power of change of which people are capable. His faith in the power of an individual to improve the lives of those around them and his willingness to sacrifice himself to advance shared ideals are only two lessons that we can learn from Gandhi’s legacy. As a member of the House of Representatives, both dedication to personal ideals and a faith in the capacity of individuals for political change are of the utmost importance in my life.

Congressman Jim McDermott (D, WA-7)

I cannot think of a single day in my 16+ years in the United States House of Representatives when I have not drawn upon the teachings and writings of Mohandas Gandhi to help guide me. So much of what Gandhi said and wrote inspires me, but I would offer two quotes in particular:

  • “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
  • “An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”

True visionaries like Gandhi profoundly- and positively- influence our world for generations far beyond their mere mortal, physical presence on Earth. Still, I can’t help but believe that our world would be much better off today if Gandhi were still here to guide us.

Congressman Joe Wilson (R, SC-2)

I am writing to commend Young India's celebration of the 75th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi's initiation of the Salt March, which led to the movement creating India's independence and freedom.

March 12, 2005 marks an important date for the people of India. Gandhi's philosophy and tenacity helped to inspire the people of India achieve their independence, giving them the freedom to determine their own destiny. Now, India is a rising economic power, where its people continue to benefit from the Constitutional freedoms Gandhi helped to create. Mahatma Gandhi proved to the world that freedom and independence can be achieved by any nation. His writings, actions, and leadership continue to inspire millions of people around the world even today. As the people of the Middle East strive for freedom and fight tyranny, Gandhi's struggles can serve as an example of how so much can be achieved through a freedom movement using non-violence as its principle motivating factor. Once again, I would like to commend you and Young India for your dedication and recognition of Gandhi's leadership. I have enjoyed working with you, and I look forward to working with you and Young India in the future.

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