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Civil Rights Leader John Lewis Joins ‘Ahimsa’ Documentary (EXCLUSIVE)

Ramesh Sharma and John Lewis
Courtesy of Distant Horizon

Leading Black U.S. congressman John Lewis has joined “Ahimsa – Gandhi: The Power of the Powerless,” the upcoming documentary on non-violent political struggle.

The film was produced to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth and tackles issues including race relations, the under-trodden members of society, and restoration of human rights. Coming at a time when the Black Lives Matter movement has pushed America’s racial inequality problems to the top of the agenda, the film also explores how Gandhi’s message inspired the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S., including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Congressman Lewis.

Acknowledged as one of the most courageous people the civil rights movement has known, Lewis says Gandhi’s message of commitment and non-violence instructed his own journey. Lewis was the youngest person to speak at the 1963 March on Washington. He recently said that the killing of George Floyd moved him to tears. “Gandhi’s teaching spoke to us. It said in effect when you see something that is not right, not fair, not just – you have a moral obligation to do something, to say something,” says Lewis in the film.

“John Lewis has devoted entire his life battling for justice, dignity and human rights for the underserved and the oppressed in the U.S., but he has never ever deviated from the path of non-violence and Ahimsa,” said the film’s director Ramesh Sharma. Ahimsa is the principle of non-violence which is shared by the Hindu, Buddhist and Jain creeds. “Congressman Lewis is an inspiration and a role model not just for Americans but for those fighting for justice all over the world.”

“Ahimsa” is written, directed and produced by Sharma, with producers Anant Singh, Xavier Couture, Jean Luc Berlot, Uma Gajapati Raju, Sanchaita Gajapati Raju and is executive produced by Michela Scolari, Simmran Bedi and David Traub.  International sales are handled by Singh’s Distant Horizon.

The film is edited by Yamini Upadhye and cinematography is by Nitin Upadhye. The film features the song, ‘Ahimsa’ performed by U2 and A.R. Rahman.