On Monday, the 17th of January, 2011 is the Observance of Martin Luther King Day in the United States, a day that was established many years after Dr. King was assassinated. In honor of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr, I am reproducing a powerful part of one of his speeches, given in Montgomery shortly after his arrival from India.
If you ask people in India why is it that Mahatma Gandhi was able to do what he did in India, they will say they followed him because of his absolute sincerity and his absolute dedication. Here was a man who achieved in his lifetime this bridging of the gulf between the ego and the id. Gandhi had the amazing capacity for self-criticism. This was true in individual life, in his family life, and was true in his people's life. Gandhi criticized himself when he needed it. And whenever he made a mistake, he confessed it publicly.
Here was a man who would say to his people: I'm not perfect, I'm not infallible, I don't want you to start a religion around me, I'm not a god. And I'm convinced today that there would be a religion around Gandhi, if Gandhi had not insisted, all through his life: I don't want a religion around me because I'm too human, I'm too fallible, never think I'm infallible. And any time he made a mistake, even in his personal life, or even a decision he made in the independence struggle, he came out in public and said, "I made a mistake."
The rest of speech, along with other details of his India trip, can be found in his autobiography,
Live the dream of Dr. King every day. Learn from our mistakes and if not, at least we should be humble and courageous enough to ADMIT THEM, the first step in rectifying ourselves and our society at large.
Labels: Gandhi, Martin Luther King, nonviolence, respect