King thanks the secretary of the Gandhi Smarak Nidhi for his hospitality in India and commends his “concise, and profound interpretations” of Gandhi, which "left an indelible imprint” on his thinking. After Ramachandran extended the initial invitation to King, the Nidhi co-sponsored the visit and assisted with the coordination of Kings itinerary.1
Mr. G. Ramachandran
Gandhi Smarak Nidhi
New Delhi, INDIA
Dear Mr. Ramachandran:
Ever since returning from India, I have been intending to write you, but an extremely busy schedule has stood in the way of my intention. I came back to the office and found a flood of mail that had accumulated in my absence, plus several organizational matters that needed my attention.
Words are inadequate for me to express my appreciation to you personally, and the Gandhi Smarak Nidhi for making my trip to India such a meaningful one. I will long remember the fellowship we enjoyed together, and the whole experience will remain in my thoughts so long as the cords of memory shall lengthen. I only regret that circumstances made it necessary for me to spend only one month in your great country, but I gain consolation in the fact that this does not have to be my last trip to India. I hope to return again when I can spend much more time.
I left India more convinced than ever before that the method of nonviolent resistance is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom and human dignity. In fact, there is no other lasting way. I have returned to America with a greater determination to achieve freedom for my people through nonviolent means. As a result of my visit to India, I believe that my understanding of nonviolence is greater and my commitment deeper. I have tried to get this message over America since I have returned to the country.
I might say to you that I was greatly impressed with your ability to interpret Gandhi. Out of the many people that I talked with in India, I left with the feeling that you had interpreted the life and teachings of Gandhi to us better than anybody else. Your clear, concise, and profound interpretations left an indelible imprint on my thinking. For this, I am deeply grateful to you.
You have my prayers and best wishes for continued success in the great work that you are doing through the Gandhi Smarak Nidhi. I was tremendously moved by the powerful, aggressive, and positive manner that the Gandhi Smarak Nidhi is going about to preserve the works and philosophy of the great saint. I will certainly want to keep in touch with you and your colleagues.
Please give my best regards to all of the fine people that it was my privilege to meet in India. I hope to get around to writing most of them personally very soon. Be sure to extend my best wishes to your charming and scholarly wife. It was a great delight to spend a few hours with her at Gandhigram.2 My wife, Coretta, and Dr. L. D. Reddick, join me in sending their best regards.
With warm personal regards, I am
Martin Luther King, Jr.
1. See Ramachandran to King, 27 December 1958, in Papers 4:552-553.
2. Ramachandran and his wife, T. S. Soundram, founded Gandhigram at Madurai as a rural college rooted in Gandhian principles.
MLKP-MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Boston University, Boston, Mass.