Mahatma Gandhi never got an opportunity to visit USA and carry out a Peace Walk on its streets. But now he will.
Mahatma Gandhi has influenced leaders and people of America as much he did every where else. He kept special contact with people in USA through his letters to them. Gandhi was aware of his fan following amongst Americans. As he admitted in one of his letters to President Roosevelt in August of 1942-
I have in America perhaps the largest number of friends in the West – not even excepting Great Britain. British friends knowing me personally are more discerning than the American. In America I suffer from the well-known malady called hero worship. The good Dr. Holmes,33 until recently of the Unity Church of New York, without knowing me personally became my advertising agent. Some of the nice things he said about me I never knew myself. So I receive often embarrassing letters from America expecting me to perform miracles. Dr. Holmes was followed much later by the late Bishop Fisher 34 who knew me personally in India. He very nearly dragged me to America but fate had ordained otherwise and I could not visit your vast and great country with its wonderful people.
Dr Holmes had even gone to the extent of calling Gandhi ‘Christ of Today.’
Just last year ‘American Gandhi’ was embraced with huge publicity in India and abroad. No, I am not directing your attention to Martin Luther King, but Bernie Meyer, who stayed in India for 50 days and carried out many a peace march in many countries of the world. He dresses up like Gandhi, and at the age of seventy does have lot of energy. Meyer thrust himself into activism in 1965 as a young Catholic priest after being raised in a Cleveland Ohio working class family. After raising a family of three, he now spends his time portraying Mahatma Gandhi and spreading the word of peace around. On his trip to India in 2005, he was lovingly given the name ‘American Gandhi’. He maintains a blog of his peace marches.
How many more Gandhis to come?
On May 1, Dermot Butterly will leave Los Angeles to walk across the United States dressed as Mahatma Gandhi, to remind many of the inspiration of Gandhi, and help “an extraordinary group of young people” in the small village of Soro, in Orissa India.
The funds collected during the march will help in building a school, a hospital, and also offer offer help to flood victims and orphans.
The little village of Soro, has been facing extreme poverty and floods. We are coming together to help them get by and build a center where the children can learn, so that they can help to improve the lives of their community…
…Along the way I will be sharing the inspiring words of Mahathma Gandhi, and helping to raise money for the children of Soro, India.
Butterly or rather Irish Gandhi is scheduled to arrive at the White House in Washington DC on November 5, 2008. Here is a video-