Gandhi was the proponent of nonviolence. He advocated that the success against oppressor can only be achieved when the one who is struggling makes himself stand on higher moral plinth than the oppressor. For this the means of the oppressed has to be different rather opposite of what the oppressor is adopting. Since oppressor adopts violence than the oppressed will be more successful if he adopts non violence as his strategy of dealing with the situation. He based his theory on ahimsa which does not advocate mere non violence but it also stress upon "absence of the desire to kill or harm" (Chapple 10). The philosophy is based on the love for all human even for the enemy. The concept was used to develop the Satyagraha policy which was an off shoot of ahimsa and required the unwavering stand behind one's ideals without harm to other and even without the feeling of hatred for others.
Martin Luther King was influenced by Gandhi's philosophy. He also was the advocate of non violence. To him humans through their evolution now should come across new methods to solve their problems within themselves. He said "nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time: the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. ...
That is why he said "the ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."
Malcolm X had a somewhat variant view than Gandhi and Martin Luther King. He was of the opinion that violence has to be adopted to fight violence. It may not be always but dependence of total non violence strategy will not lead to success. That was why he said "Our objective is complete freedom, justice and equality by any means necessary." However, it was not sheer violence which he professed instead he was of the opinion that violence should be adopted according to the necessity of the situation. To adopt violence for self defense was not "violence" but "intelligence".
It is evident that above mentioned three great men's philosophy can be categorized into two main philosophies. One policy of "nonviolence" i.e. of Gandhi and Martin Luther King the other one is of "selective violence" of Malcolm X. Here people might disagree and tag Malcolm X philosophy as violent and so was the opinion of his compatriot Martin Luther King. However, after going through the details of the modus operandi adopted by Malcolm X one can easily assess that he was advocate of "selective violence" instead of utter "violence". For our further