Obama remembers Gandhi, and King, in Mumbai
U.S. President Barack Obama spent part of his first day in India visiting a museum dedicated to the memory of one of his heroes, Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, and walking in the footsteps of another, U.S. civil rights leader Martin Luther King, as he did so.
Obama and first lady Michelle Obama visited the Gandhi Museum in Mumbai on Saturday afternoon, located in a home where Gandhi stayed during his nonviolent campaign for India’s independence from the British.
The two Obamas were given a tour of the museum, stopping in the library in front of a bronze relief of Gandhi’s face to sign a guest book.
Obama wrote, “I am filled with hope and inspiration as I have the privilege to visit this testament to Gandhi. He is a hero not just to India, but to the world.” Mrs. Obama wrote: “This visit will be one that I will always remember. …” before signing it.
As he stopped to sign, Obama took note of another signature, from 1959, in another guest book. It was signed by King, who visited India in 1959, 11 years after Gandhi was slain, to draw lessons from the Indian leader’s nonviolent struggle to end 200 years of British rule.
Gandhi’s system of peaceful resistance was largely used by African-Americans as a model for the U.S. civil rights movement. King was shot and killed in 1968.
The Obamas will lay a wreath at Raj Ghat, Gandhi’s memorial, in New Delhi on Monday.
Picture credit: Obama visits Gandhi Museum in Mumbai on Nov. 6, 2010. REUTERS/Jason Reed.