Mohandas K. Gandhi was born in Asia, educated in Europe, and matured in Africa but never visited the Americas, yet it would be a dim perception to conclude that his message was restricted to a few continents.
His impression on the USA is indelible. President Barack Obama stated in India in 2010 that he would not have been president had it not been for Gandhi and the message he shared with America and the rest of the world.
Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chavez also followed his tactics.
Indentured servants who were sent as laborers from India to replace slaves on the many plantations across Caribbean and Guyana (British Guiana) commencing on May 5, 1938, concerned Gandhi based on his own experience in South Africa.
His emissary was Rev. C. F. Andrews, referred to in the movie “Gandhi” as Charlie, visited British Guyana in 1929 as the guest of the British Guiana East Indian Association. During his three months’ sojourn, Andrews listened to the children of India living in Guyana and Surinam who turned out in huge crowds to hear him speak in Hindi, making them nostalgic for Mother India. His report, “Impressions of British Guyana 1930,” revealed similar problems among the East Indian communities in South Africa, Fiji, and even India, some of which bedevil these nations even today.
These include child marriage, illiteracy, non-registration of religious marriages resulting in children deemed illegitimate; nominal priests not qualified to raise the moral standards of the society leading to gross superstitions and demoralization; religious conversion, government encouraging missionary work instead of practicing religious neutrality; absence of Indians in the civil services and in the police forces who did not speak or understand the Indian language or customs; buildings unfit for human habitation; overcrowded classrooms with few girls; Hindu and Muslim children compelled to say Christian prayers in government-aided schools; few Indian teachers in Christian run schools since many refused to change their religion in order to be employed; non-registration of voters particularly East Indian women who could not read not write the form which was only in English; poor race relations.
Leaders like Pandit Ramsaroop Maraj and Dr. Jung Bahadur Singh, president of the British Guyana East Indian Association, impressed him.
In this age of terrorism, excessive materialism, and extreme climate change many statues are erected and annual events help to remember the messenger of peace. Gandhitopia.ca has put together a huge coffee table book, “Mahatma-Gandhi's Life in Colour.” Hopefully, with more educational material and activity, admirers can prove Einstein wrong by ensuring that posterity never doubts whether one of flesh and blood walked this earth.