Thursday, 15 March 2012

Great Leaders of the World Who Inspired the Humanity

Martin Luther King Jr.: He was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia, US. He was the leader of the American Civil Rights Movement. During the initial years of his career, he became active in the Civil Rights Movement. He famously led the Montgomery Bus Boycott and was instrumental in founding of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He was the youngest person to receive the Nobel Prize for his work in fighting racial discrimination with non-violent measures, at the age of 35. He gave a religious angle to his struggle against poverty and opposition to the Vietnam War.

On the evening of April 4, 1968, while Martin Luther King was standing in the balcony of Lorraine Motel, he was shot. He underwent a surgery after which he was declared dead. His assassination resulted in a wave of riots across many cities. According to his biographer, his heart was that of a sixty-year-old man when he died. This apparently indicates the stress that he had to undergo during his struggle for civil rights. He is still remembered as an influential orator and one of world's greatest leaders.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi: Born on October 2, 1869 and popularly known as Mahatma Gandhi, this leader was a prominent figure in the Indian Independence movement. He pioneered 'Satyagraha', which was an unarmed revolt against injustice. He, for the first time ever, laid and followed the principles of fighting against injustice by the use of non-violence. He headed the Indians in the 'Dandi March' and the very famous 'Quit India Movement', which proved groundbreaking for the Indians in the attainment of freedom. 

After assuming the leadership of the Indian National Congress in 1921, he advocated women rights and strongly opposed inequality. He was instrumental in ending the untouchability that prevailed in India during those times. Throughout life, he stood by non-violence and truthfulness. He led a modest life and fostered simple living and high thinking. The values and principles of his life continue to inspire a large section of society. He was assassinated on January 30, 1948. He is commemorated for his values of non-violence and his birthday is celebrated as the International Day of Non-Violence.

Adolf Hitler: Born on April 20, 1889, Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician who led the Nazi Party. He was Chancellor of Germany and Fuhrer of Germany. As a child he wanted to become a painter and he later described himself as a misunderstood artist. His efforts to gain formal training in art and earn recognition as a painter were in vain. Hitler had always admired Germany and longed to live in a real German city. He was active in the First World War and emerged as a leader of the Nazi Party in Weimar Germany.

Under his leadership, the Nazis brutally assassinated their antagonists, restructured the State economy and established a fascist dictatorship. The German attack on Poland in 1939 caused the outbreak of World War II. Hitler's racism caused the deaths of millions, the event acknowledged as the Holocaust. During 1945, Germany was in a bitter state of war. To add to the misery, the Red army invaded Berlin. Possibly the intolerable stress and pressure that Hitler went through, caused him to commit suicide. The death of this world leader brought a turbulent life to an end.

Eleanor Roosevelt: Born on October 11, 1884 in New York, Eleanor Roosevelt grew up to become the First Lady of the United States in 1933. She completed her formal education in 1902 and became engaged with Franklin Roosevelt, the fifth cousin of her father. They married on March 17, 1905. Later in 1921 when Franklin suffered from paralysis of his legs, his wife Eleanor stood by him through those difficult times and it was due to her encouragement that he could return to politics. She worked towards reforms in education and was active in the women's suffrage movement. She brought about reforms to the lives of the African-Americans.

After the demise of her husband in 1945, Eleanor had to step down from the position of the First Lady. In the following year, she chaired the UN Human Rights. She drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, thereby establishing equality in society. She worked for the uplift of the underprivileged and opened the doors of hope for many. Her death on November 7, 1962 meant the loss of an able diplomat, activist and a great leader.

These were only a few of those eminent leaders in the world history who led the masses, gained appreciation and also faced controversies. They shall be remembered for years to come.

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