Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed on Wednesday that nobody knew of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi outside India before a movie about his life was made, reported ABP News.

In an interview with the television news channel, the prime minister said: “In the last 75 years, was it not our responsibility to let the whole world know of Mahatma Gandhi? I am sorry but nobody knew of him. It was only after the movie Gandhi was made, is when people started getting curious about the personality.”

The prime minister seemed to have been referring to director Richard Attenborough’s 1982 biographical film on Gandhi.

Modi said that Gandhi’s work was on par with South African anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela and American civil rights activist Martin Luther King.

“But I am saying this after roaming the world,” said Modi. “That Gandhi, and through Gandhi, India should have received attention. The philosophy of Gandhi can be a solution to several problems plaguing the world today.”

Both Mandela and King have written about Gandhi’s influence on their activism.

Gandhi is revered as a leading figure of India’s independence movement against British rule. He is popularly known as “The Father of the Nation”.

In October 2019, to mark the 150th anniversary of Gandhi’s birth, 87 countries including Turkey, the United States, Russia, Iran, Uzbekistan and Palestine, released postal stamps to commemorate the leader. As of 2008, a total of 150 countries had issued postal stamps to honour Gandhi.

Barack Obama, the first black President of the United States, has also spoken on several occasions about the influence that Gandhi had on his life. In his book A Promised Land, Obama wrote that his fascination with India largely revolved around Gandhi, whose “successful non-violent campaign against the British rule became a beacon for other dispossessed, marginalised groups”.

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