A Comparative Analysis
of Gandhi and King
This chapter compares the similarities and differences between Gandhi and King. Although an entire book could be devoted to comparing these two great historical figures, this chapter will focus on their roles as political leaders, religious devotees, family men, and heroes.
King's leadership style contrasts quite sharply with Gandhi's. King was not the administrator Gandhi was. Both were master fund-raisers and Gandhi kept scrupulous books and financial records while King did not have the attention to detail as did Gandhi. But King's closest aides, who followed him out of a true belief in nonviolence as a philosophy of life and accepted him as their leader, did not expect King to be a great administrator: that was not his role. He was a dreamer, an orator, and a holy man of faith. According to one aide:
What else does he need to be? He's a symbol that there needs to be
a moral voice in America talking about the injustice and the in-
equity.… He doesn't need to know how to answer a telephone.
(Oates 1982, 286)