IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 18th Jan
“The whole secret of a successful life is to find out what is one’s destiny to do, and then do it.” —Henry Ford
EDITORIAL HUNT #319 :“Martin Luther King and his Contribution | UPSC ”
Varaprasad S. Dolla
Martin Luther King and his Contribution | UPSC
Varaprasad S. Dolla is Professor in Chinese Studies, School of International Studies, JNU.
Bridging the gulf between dream and reality
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s ideas and his movement have enduring appeal, including in India
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 1 : History : Society
“When will you be satisfied?” And he answered it saying, “We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity.” Discuss the contributions of Martin Luther King in West Societies and impact on India. -(GS 1)
- Why we remember visionary leaders ?
- Martin Luther’s Dream
- The civil rights movement
- Way Forward
- REMEMBERING VISIONARY LEADERS : Celebrating the lives of visionary leaders who left an indelible imprint on thought and action not only refreshes our memories of their transformative impact but also rekindles hope.
- BLACK LIVES MATTER OLDER VERSION : Reflecting on the legacy that Dr. King left in setting the U.S. on the path to a more inclusive society and polity assumes significance in the context of persisting racism leading to the death of innocent African-Americans.
- GLOBAL APPEAL : As Americans celebrate his life in the U.S., it is befitting to reflect on his lasting legacy in India too, focusing particularly on the ideas he articulated and the movement he led, which have enduring and universal appeal.
DR. KING’S DREAM
- INCLUSION : If there is one idea that captures the essence of Dr. King’s contribution, it is his dream of an inclusive America.
- DREAM TURNING REALITY : Though the election of Barack Obama as the first African-American President in 2008 was a major stride towards the fulfilment of this dream, Dr. King’s dream was much more grandiose in its breadth and scope.
- VISION : In his 1963 oration at the Lincoln Memorial, Dr. King eloquently unpacked his vision for an inclusive and equitable America, which is famously remembered as the “I have a dream” speech.
- AGAINST SLAVERY : Acknowledging the contribution of President Abraham Lincoln who signed the Emancipation Proclamation that set the African-Americans free from slavery.
- RACIAL INJUSTICE : Given persisting racial injustice even after a hundred years since 1863, he gave a clarion call saying: “Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.”
- INFLUENCED BY : The Gandhian method of nonviolence burst forth beautifully when he cautioned his community not to “satisfy the thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”
- IDEOLOGY : He believed in: “It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed… that all men are created equal.”
THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT
- SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTIONS : Dr. King’s contribution to the Civil Rights Movement was remarkable. There have been many African-American leaders who have propagated the message of freedom and dignity since the mid-19th century.
- ADDING PURPOSE : Among them, Dr. King was unique; he changed the very architecture of the movement. He added flesh to these insightful ideas by leading a relentless and nonviolent movement.
- MASS PROTEST : The 381-day Montgomery bus boycott demonstrated the potential for nonviolent mass protest and galvanised the Civil Rights Movement.
- UNIFYING FACTOR : Right through the movement, Dr. King strived to be the conscience and unifier of a nation that was deeply divided on racial lines.
- BRIDGING THE GAP : He bridged the gulf between the dream and reality. Dr. King’s major contribution to the U.S. in general is in invigorating the benchmarks of equality, justice and dignity.
- IMPACT : The power of these illuminating ideas and the tenacious movement eventually resulted in a number of path-breaking laws such as Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965.
- AWARD : In the process of realising this glorious dream he was jailed almost 30 times, his house was bombed, he was stabbed once, and finally assassinated.
- BETTER AND INCLUSIVE AMERICA : He sacrificed his life for the dream of a better and inclusive America. Both in life and death, he was a beacon of hope for America.
- May India, where there are continuing atrocities on the Dalit, tribal and minority communities due to a hierarchical social structure, as well as the marginalised communities across the world, draw inspiration from Dr. King.
Thus we all can strive for a more inclusive, just and equal society.