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Magna Carta inspired Mahatma Gandhi for liberty of land: David Cameron

London: The Magna Carta, hailed as the cornerstone of parliamentary democracy, inspired legends like Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela for liberty to their lands and people, Prime Minister David Cameron said today as Britain marked
IANS June 16, 2015 10:14 IST
IANS

London: The Magna Carta, hailed as the cornerstone of parliamentary democracy, inspired legends like Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela for liberty to their lands and people, Prime Minister David Cameron said today as Britain marked the historic charter's 800th anniversary.

UK's royalty converged at the famous meadow Runnymede, where King John had met disgruntled barons and agreed to a list of basic rights on June 15, 1215 under which the foundations of parliamentary democracy, human rights and the supremacy of the law over the crown were first enshrined.

However, the human rights the historic charter helped shape are at the centre of a modern political feud in the UK, with Cameron seeking to overhaul the rights laws and reduce the influence of Europe using the document's reference.

Queen Elizabeth II joined the British premier to commemorate the sealing of Magna Carta, the Latin for 'Great Charter' that was also an inspiration for the US Constitution.

Thousands had gathered at the riverside meadow, near Windson, Berkshire, for the commemoration.

Speaking on the occasion, Cameron said "Magna Carta went on to change the world" and inspired everyone from women's suffrage campaigners to Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.

"Think of India, of Gandhi, when he brought more rights to his people overseas. With his Indian Relief Act he declared he had something special: the 'Magna Carta of our liberty in this land',"he said.

"Think of South Africa ? of that courtroom in Rivonia. As Nelson Mandela stood in the dock, looking at a lifetime in prison, it was Magna Carta that he cited," he added.

The charter established the principle that the king was subject to the law, rather than above it, and stipulated that "no free man shall be seized or imprisoned... except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land."

Cameron said it was modern Britons' duty to safeguard the charter's "momentous achievement.