The father of the nation has inspired and influenced numerous people across continents, by his virtues of non-violence and peace. On the eve of Gandhiji's 144th birth anniversary, we list some of his most famous disciples.
Barack Obama: The first African-American President of the United States of America is a self-confessed Gandhian. During his presidential run, Obama in several interviews and speeches, said that he was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and considers him to be the apostle of peace. He has also stated that Americans owe Gandhi a lot for his teachings, ideals and principles.
Anna Hazare: Hazare followed in his guru's footsteps when he went on an indefinite fast to fight corruption. Like his idol, the Padma Bhushan winning social activist also uses non-violent methods to bring about change, leads a simple lifestyle, believes in 'brahmacharya' and is a vegetarian.
Martin Luther King Jr: King was the face of the African-American civil rights movement and rallied against racial discrimination and segregation. His pioneering efforts that were based on the principles of Gandhi, fetched him a Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. In order to learn more about his mentor, King also visited Gandhi's birthplace in 1959, which reinforced his belief in non-violence and made him fight harder for the rights of his people.
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Nelson Mandela: The former President of South Africa is a devoted fan of Gandhi and followed his example during the independence movement in South Africa. Often described as the Gandhi of South Africa, Mandela is an icon in his nation and his life also shares an uncanny resemblance to that of Bapu's.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Burmese opposition leader and General secretary of the National League for Democracy, Suu Kyi stuck to methods of non-violence during the democratic movement in Burma, much like Gandhi did during the Indian independence movement. This Nobel Prize winner was detained under house arrest for 15 years and was asked to leave Burma in exchange for her freedom. However she refused and stayed put till her eventual release in 2010.
John Lennon: The Beatles musician, who left a mark in the history of music with his tunes, was a disciple of the Father of the Nation. After gaining a notorious reputation as an abuser of women, he started mending his ways after being introduced to the teachings of Gandhi. One of his most iconic songs, 'Give Peace A Chance', was a result of this inspiration and became an anthem during the anti-war movement in the 1970s.
Al Gore: The former Vice President of the United States of America and staunch environmentalist, Al Gore drew from Gandhi's ideas to bring about a change. He even spoke of Gandhi's influence on him at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival in 2007 and urged others to spread peace.
Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan: Khan was an Afghan political leader known for his non-violent opposition to the British rule in India. He was extremely influenced by Gandhi, who was his close friend and guide. Popularly known as 'Frontier Gandhi,' he was involved in social activism and reform movements during the British rule and was one of the few men who strongly opposed to the Muslim League's demand for Pakistan.
Albert Einstein: The genius scientist who gave the world some of the most pathbreaking theories, regarded Gandhi as the most enlightened of all political men and urged others to fight evil by not participating in it. The father of modern physics even expressed his desire to meet Bapu, in letters exchanged between the two great men in the 1930s.