General Studies Paper 4 (Ethics): Life & Teachings

Gandhiji & Martin Luther King

IAS Junior Mains Answer Writing June-Sep 2019 Schedule (Click Here)


Syllabus: General Studies Paper 4 (Ethics)


Discuss the relevance of life and teachings of Gandhi and Martin Luther King in today’s era?



Gandhi and Martin Luther king fought for rights of their people through similar set of principles such as nonviolence, Truth , Equality among every individual and abolition of discrimination in their homeland. Gandhi spearheaded the freedom movement in India after fighting for the rights of native South Africans. Luther King is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience. They both negotiated the darkness of conflicts using the human values of consciencenon-violence, Truth, Equality of all by taking on oppression and discrimination, prejudice and injustice.



        The relevance of the life and teachings of the great stalwarts is very high in today’s era

  • Truth:
    • In today’s post truth era, where social media rules the ICT, there are increased incidents of fake news, doctored videos, radicalization through fake propagandas etc.
    • Spreading of fake news through various social medium is very common nowadays. Such trends are causing serious social disorders.
    • The acknowledgement of truth, emphasised by both leaders, is the much-needed solution of such wrong-doings.
    • Truth should be verified about such information and then accepted. It is a responsibility of every citizen to be responsible to curb spreading of lies and hatred.
  • Equality:
    • Many traditions and customs which hurt the equality, dignity, fraternity of the human being are present in India like caste discrimination, honour killings, banning women from entering sacred places, manual scavenging etc.
    • Non cooperation and resistance to such indiscriminate ideas is necessary and it is already visible.
    • The vision of equality, of a true democracy could be realized through the work of these two great leaders. 
    • The use of non-violent means to achieve morally endowed ends like demand for justice against irresponsible, unacceptable government e.g. Arab spring, Anna Hazare’s movement etc.
  • Culture of peace:
    • Today, the world is suffering from immense crisis from many sides. Crimes, conflict, hatred and distrust between one community and another, insecure environment among minorities, hunger, unemployment, poverty and literacy, refugee crisis, ethnic violence, terrorism, etc., all these altogether make a grave danger to peace.
    • Today, slaughtering of innocent people on the ground of religion is not an uncommon thing. Gandhiji, on the other hand, was a proponent of the fight against social discrimination and divisions through religion and caste. People should not forget the wisdom of sympathy towards all religions
    • Resistance through non-violence and appeal to the conscience of perpetrators can bring change.
    • Compassion is necessary for victims, minorities, fellow humans and other earth creatures.
  • Educational values:
    • Gandhiji’s education philosophy also emphasised on environment, conservation, kindness for animal, focus on villages hence which brings out concept of all round development of individual and society which is required in today’s world.
  • Self-determination and Courage:
    • In the fast-paced world today, many farmers, students are bogged down by desperation of failures, fall in to depression and even commit suicides.
    • There is a need of self-determination, courage and resilience to face the failures and bounce back.
  • Simplicity and Sustainability:
    • Climate change effects are being seen across the world with many ramifications.
    • The ideals of simple living, minimalistic and non-materialistic lifestyle and respect for the nature are imperative today.



The teachings of Gandhi and King will remain a moral compass for the generations to come. Violence has been destroying the childhood of many innocents in various parts of the world. Destructions in Syria, Afghanistan are symbols of lost civilizations. Through non-violence, both Gandhi and King had given a night vision for these darkest hours. Hence, the visions of these two leaders are relevant today more than ever. The need of the hour is to inculcate such values in individuals through value based education, moral parenting and socialisation.


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