By Neil khurana
My two most important role models that influence me on tolerance. The first role model that has greatly influenced me on tolerance is one that many have heard of, Mohandas Gandhi. He was born on October 2, 1869 in western India and was a national leader who strongly believed in non-violence. As he grew up he followed the principle, "Hate the sin not the sinner". He also followed "Forgiveness is the ornament of brave". The great poet Rabindranath Tagore gave Gandhi the great title, "Mahatma", which means "Great Soul". During his life Gandhi had founded the Satyagraha Ashram for his family and co-workers near the textile city of Ahmedabad.
When a family of untouchables asked to live in ashram, Gandhi kindly admitted them. Orthodox Hindus believed this polluted them. As funds ran out, Gandhi was ready to live in the untouchable slum if necessary, but an anonymous benefactor donated enough money to last one-year. To help change people's attitudes about these unfortunate pariahs, Gandhi renamed them "Harijan" or "Children of God".
Gandhi showed how someone could win allegiance, "not merely by the cunning game of political fraud and trickery, but through the living example of a morally exalted way of life". He was the catalyst if not the initiator of three of the major revolutions of the 20th century, the revolution against colonialism, racism and violence.
Gandhi used nonviolence not only at the individual level but also on the social level for abolition of untouchability, picketing, and non-co-operation. He firmly believed that nonviolence must be lived in day to day life. Gandhi worshiped God through the service of man and looked upon all human beings as but the manifestations of God himself.
Gandhi was assassinated by an outraged Hindu on January 30, 1948 at a prayer meeting; with his last breath Mahatma chanted the name of God.
My second role model is Martin Luther King, Jr. He was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. He helped people fight for their dreams and promoted tolerance, diversity and unity among all people like Gandhi had done. He was educated at Morehouse College in Atlanta and the Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, PA. Later he went on to earn his Ph.D. in theology from Boston University.
His message touched the hearts of so many because it was a universal message. He fought for freedom of the oppressed people in America, and he spoke out on injustice on behalf of people everywhere. Dr. King was a dream seeker. He had a vision of the way this world should be, and the vision included the coming together of all races, nationalities and classes.
King led people from all walks of life in an effort to promote tolerance, diversity, service to the community, and unity among all people. His heroic, nonviolent mission to change the status quo in the United States, has made him a role model for all and has permanently etched out his place in history.
In 1959, King made a visit to India, and he credited Gandhi's example of passive resistance. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Was more then a powerful orator, a courageous leader and a Nobel Prize winner. He left behind a enduring legacy of peace and toleration that will influence future generations in this country and throughout the world. Dr. King lived his life with courage and love. His message of hope, peace and tolerance sent a message to all people, for all time. "Dr. King encouraged people to build bridges of friendship and co-operation to other communities. He knew that or relationships to one another a bother and sister goes deeper then our racial, ethnic or religious identity." On April 4, 1968, he was murdered by an assign on the balcony of his motel.
The beliefs and practices of both Gandhi and Dr. King clearly prove why I chose them as my two most important role models for tolerance.