Gandhian Values Recognized
Originally Published at Peace and Conflict Monitor on: 10/20/2003
Mary King, Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at the UN-affiliated University for Peace (UPEACE), a global institution whose main campus is in Costa Rica, is the winner of this year’s Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation International Award for promoting Gandhian values outside India. In January 2004, Dr King will also become Visiting Research Fellow at the Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford.
Mary King is a prize-winning author, political scientist, and a well-known civil rights leader in the USA. As a student, she was one of the few white staff who worked alongside the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (no relation), in the crusade for racial justice. She won a 1988 Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Book Award for her book “Freedom Song: A Personal Story of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement” (New York, William Morrow, 1987), an account of her four years working in the U.S. civil rights movement.
During the Carter Administration, Mary King had worldwide responsibility for the Peace Corps, VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), and other national volunteer service programmes. Since then, she has specialised in international relations and her work has taken her to 120 developing countries during the past two decades.
In 1999, UNESCO published Mary King’s latest book “Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr: The Power of Nonviolent Action”. This book was re-published in New Delhi in 2002, by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. This internationally recognised volume covers nine contemporary non-violent struggles of the 20th century that were shaped and informed by Gandhian theories and methods, and which often brought about significant social and political reforms for justice and human rights in different regions of the world. The sweep of non-violent movements, which Mary King records, testifies to the potential for non-violent direct action as an effective political strategy, and one with growing relevance as an alternative to military interventions and approaches based on violence. As she points out, non-violent struggle places ethics and practicality in balance, and, as a result of its contemporary use, military manuals, political lexicons, and world maps have had to be revised. President Jimmy Carter has acclaimed the book as UNESCO’s gift to the twenty-first century and the pursuit of human rights, freedom, and justice.
Having worked with former President Jimmy Carter for more than thirty years, Professor King has since 1984 participated in some of his peace-building efforts and served as his special adviser on the Middle East. In this capacity, she has acted as President Carter’s envoy to business and political leaders of the region. Mary King regularly speaks publicly on issues of non-violent resolution of conflict in numerous forums.
Throughout her adult life, Professor King has been an advocate for the empowerment of women as agents for social change. In April 1966, Liberation Magazine of the War Resisters League published “Sex and Caste”, co-authored with Casey Hayden – one of the generative historical documents of the modern women’s movement and gender studies – a manifesto that arose from discussions among women staff in the Student Non-violent Co-ordinating Committee (SNCC), the civil rights organisation with which she worked for four years in the states of Georgia and Mississippi. Her efforts for the advancement of women were crystallised when she chaired the Committee of 51.3% during the 1976 Carter Presidential Campaign, a policy and strategy arm of the campaign that sought to increase the participation of women in the U.S. political system.
Dr King is also Distinguished Scholar at the American University Center for Global Peace in Washington DC. She is married to Dr Peter G Bourne, professor of international health, author, and Fellow at Green College, Oxford.
The Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation Awards will be presented at a special function to be held in Mumbai on Tuesday, 4 November 2003. Previous winners of the International Award are:
Mr. Pierre Parodi of France for 1988, Mr. Danilo Dolci of Italy for 1989, Mr. A.T. Ariyaratne of Shri Lanka for 1990, Mr. Charles Walker of U.S.A.for 1991, Dr. Homer A. Jack of U.S.A. for 1992, Prof. Johan Galtung of France for 1993, Mrs. Gedong Bagoes Oka of Indonesia for 1994, Srimati Kamala of U.S.A.for 1995, Prof. Adolfo De Obieta of Argentina for 1996, Dr. Young Seek Choue of Korea for 1997, Kumari Jharna Dhara Choudhury of Bangladesh for 1998, Professor Sir Joseph Rotblat of England for 1999, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu of South Africa for 2000, and to Dr. Satish Kumar of U.K. for 2001.
Jamnalal Bajaj, “Gandhi’s Fifth Son”
The late Shri Jamnalal Bajaj was a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhiji called Jamnalal his ‘fifth son.’ Jamnalalji was a loyal member of the Indian National Congress. He was appointed Treasurer of the Congress in 1920 and continued in this post for over two decades till his untimely death in February 1942. Jamnalalji took active part in the freedom struggle and courted arrest on several occasions. He was imprisoned for a total period of five years. However, constructive work was his main forte. He devoted himself to all the activities included in the Constructive Programme propounded by Gandhiji. Special mention must be made of Jamnalalji’s pioneering efforts in the field of Go Seva (Cow protection), uplift of Harijans, propagation of Hindi, spread of khadi and development of village industries.
For the “Muslim Gandhi” see: