America’s legendary Civil Rights leader Congressman John Lewis introduced a bill in the House of Representatives to promote the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.
It also sought a budgetary allocation of 150 million dollars for the next five years. This Bill, which has the support of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is being considered as a significant landmark initiative by the United States Congress to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Welcoming the introduction of the Bill, India’s Ambassador to the US Harsh Vardhan Shringla said, it reinforces the close cultural and ideological bonds between India and the US.
Fifty years after Dr King’s visit to India in February 1959, All India Radio discovered a taped message by Dr King that emphasised the intellectual harmony between messages of Dr King and Gandhi on nonviolent social action.
Mahatma Gandhi, who employed the principle of Satyagraha, has come to represent the moral force inspiring many civil and social rights movement around the world, says the Bill. Among other things, the Bill proposes establishing a Gandhi-King Development Foundation, which will be created by the USAID under the Indian laws.
This foundation would have a governing council convened by governments of the United States and India and would oversee grants to NGOs in the areas of health, pollution and climate change, education and women empowerment, says the Bill.
The Bill also proposes the establishment of a Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative with an allocation of 2 million dollars for the next five years till 2025. It also seeks to establish a Gandhi-King global academy, which would be a professional development training initiative on conflict resolution.