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STUDENTS' PROJECTS > SHORT STORIES FOR EVERYONE > Gandhi : Beyond India
 

Gandhi : Beyond India

But even before this, in fact in his own life time, Gandhi had made an impact in other countries. The outbreak of the First World War led peace activists to openly and resolutely oppose war and war efforts. A group of people known as "Conscientious Objectors" objected to a war conducted by his or her nation, on grounds of principles. They objected to "Conscription" or compulsory enlistment in the army as the most extreme form of coercion.

Out of the war came groups such as International Fellowship of Reconciliation, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, War Resisters' League and Quaker Service Groups - all of which tried to carry forward the idea of peace in political and international life. The leaders were committed to peace and social justice and objected to war and violence as tools of injustice. These movements received powerful impetus from Gandhiji and his followers who, from 1919 challenged British rule with innovative forms of action, without violence, programmes for economic self sufficiency and mass civil disobedience.

Later, African leaders fighting against colonial rulers were inspired by Gandhiji - Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, also known as Gandhi of Ghana, used his techniques of nonviolent satyagraha. Gandhiji's views on rural development and decentralization inspired the concept of Ujaama villages in Tanzania, introduced by Dr Julius Nyrere. Dr Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia too, was deeply influenced by Gandhi's concept of Satyagraha, and nonviolent resistance. Dr Nelson Mandela is a living example of one who was deeply influenced by Mahatma Gandhi. In the USA, even though slavery was abolished in 1861, Jim Crow laws and segregation had reduced negroes to second class citizens. By 1930s, Gandhian techniques had begun to attract negro ministers involved in the struggle for racial equality and justice. Gandhi had predicted: "It may be through negroes that the unadulterated message of nonviolence will be delivered to the world." It was the dynamic personality of Martin Luther King (about whom we shall tell you more in forthcoming pages) that gave it practical shape in the American Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s.