Washington: As the world celebrates International Day of non-violence, US President Barack Obama on Friday said America has its "roots in the India of Mahatma Gandhi."
"His teachings and ideals, shared with Martin Luther King Jr. on his 1959 pilgrimage to India, transformed American society through our civil rights movement," Obama said on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Americans owe enormous gratitude to Gandhi, he said.
"The America of today has its roots in the India of Mahatma Gandhi and the non-violent social action movement for Indian independence which he led," Obama said in a statement.
On behalf of the American people, Obama said he wants to express appreciation for the life and lessons of Mahatma Gandhi on the anniversary of his birth.
"This is an important moment to reflect on his message of non-violence, which continues to inspire people and political movements across the globe," he said.
"We join the people of India in celebrating this great soul who lived a life dedicated to the cause of advancing justice, showing tolerance to all, and creating change through non-violent resistance," Obama said.
As the world remembers the Mahatma on his birthday, Obama said: "We must renew our commitment to live his ideals and to celebrate the dignity of all human beings."
Last month Obama had said that if given a chance he would love to have dinner with Mahatma Gandhi.
Obama expressed his desire in response to a question from a student Lilly during his discussion with 9th graders at Wakefield High School in Arlington Virginia where he, accompanied with the Education Secretary, gave a national speech welcoming students back to school.
Obama called for students to take responsibility and to learn from their failures so that they succeed in the end.
"Hi. I'm Lilly. And if you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be," Obama was asked by one of the students.
"Dinner with anyone dead or alive? Well, you know, dead or alive, that's a pretty big list," Obama responded amidst laughter.
The next moment he was serious. "You know, I think that it might be Gandhi, who is a real hero of mine,"
Obama said. "Now, it would probably be a really small meal because he didn't eat a lot," he said amidst laughter.
But Mahatma Gandhi is someone who has inspired people across the world for the past several generations, he said.
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