New Delhi: The legacy
of Martin Luther King Jr lives on in India's inclusiveness,
cultural plurality, ethnicities and in the spirit of freedom,
members of DilliNet, an online bridge connecting the expatriate
community of the capital, said while sharing their India
The members of Dillinet met over the weekend to pay a musical
tribute to Martin Luther King, an avowed Gandhian, on his 82nd
birth anniversary. King's birthday, however, is being officially
celebrated by the US government Jan 17. Born on Jan 15 in 1929,
King, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, was assassinated on April 4,
Inspired by Gandhi's ethos of non-violence, King, who led the
movement for civil rights, liberties and racial bias in US,
visited Mahatma Gandhi's birthplace in 1959. It deepened his
understanding of non-violent resistance. In a radio address made
during his final evening in India, King said: "Since being in
India, I am more convinced than ever before that the method of
non-violent resistance is the most potent weapon available to
oppressed people in their struggle for justice."
King became the youngest recipient to get the Nobel Peace Prize in
1964 for his work to end racial segregation. At the time of his
death in 1968, he was battling to and poverty and trying to stop
the Vietnam war.
"I have a dream - to see India welcome people of all shades with
open arms. It is one of the few inclusive nations in the world
where there is space for almost everyone," founder of Dillinet,
Jacek Rataczak, a Polish professional, told IANS quoting Martin
Luther King Jr.
"Delhi on its own is a melting pot of cultures. On Dillinet, there
is even more complexity. There are communities within a community
- Asians, Africans, Australians, Americans and Europeans. We want
to give them a chance to celebrate their traditions in their own
way and present them to the people here," he said.
Dillinet manages bring global cultures on a common ground with
Indian culture without any "racial or geographical barriers" with
its frequent food walks, culture modules and familiarisation
tours. The forum has 800 members. "Being in India is a strange
experience," Rataczak, who has been in the capital for three
"After the first two weeks you want to write a book, it is so
intense. But after two years, you cannot say a single valid
sentence. India is so many things," the avid traveller and
part-time DJ explained.
In all this, he sees the "greater philosophy of Martin Luther King
and Mahatma Gandhi". "Amid the chaos, there is peace in India," he
For Hyderabad-based Alexandre, a social worker and economic
analyst from Brazil, "India though characterised by constant
demographic shifts and myriad mini-cultural nations manages to
hold itself as a cohesive entity". It is at the root of the King's
political and cultural philosophy, the Brazilian said.
"I am working on a paper on internal migration in Orissa, Andhra
Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The incidence of migration is high in the
Indian society, but it is funny that when Indians migrate to a
different state, they move to a new country because the language
and culture are different. In Brazil, we have a lot of migration
but everyone speaks Portuguese. Chances of segregration are
minumum," Alexandre said, substantiating his claim with an example
from his work.
For Diana Cobaleda, an intern from Colombia, "the spirit of Martin
Luther King resides in India's religious freedom". "The country
has so many religions and they all co-exist. I love the Sikh
religion, I will carry memories of the religion and cultural
symbols like Punjabi wedding bangles and 'bindis' with me when I
But she laments the country's colonial hangover. "When I was in
Colombia, I thought of India in terms of the Taj Mahal, Maharajas
and yoga, but later I realised how differently Indians perceived
the white skinned people. It's crazy. At parties, we (the whites)
are invited so that they come to see us as if we are extraordinary
people," Diana told IANS.
"I think Indians must get over the colour complex and learn to
reconcile that white people are no different than the coloured
races. Martin Luther King taught equality of colours," she said.
Yasmin, a business developer from France and a part-time Bollywood
dancer, feels the heart and soul of India live among the
marginalized in the villages. "Every time, I visit a village to
perform, the love of the people touch me." It reminds of the great
American-African visionary's dream- "to liberate all".