The Apostle Of Ahimsa.
The very word Ahimsa or non- violence conjures up Mahatma Gandhi., who used Ahimsa effectively against the oppressors instead of violence and hatred to achieve freedom to India.
Passion for truth.
Even from his child hood Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi had a passion for truth. The story of Satya Harishchandra, who gave up everything for the sake of truth, had a profound impact on Gandhi. At that early stage Gandhi’s thoughts were so firm and unwavering, that his commitment to truth and integrity remained unshakeable unto the last.
Our elders said,’ one practical thought is always better than thousand impractical thoughts.’ Which is why, our thoughts should be practical. Thoughts without practicality is an exercise in futility. In this respect, one wonders, how Gandhi identified the practicality aspect of his thought at such an young age and adhered to his thoughts religiously all along his life.
Just think, how much thinking goes in to the preparations you make before going on a holiday. What should be the mode of transport, Bus, car, plane or sea. Then we turn our attention towards economic factors. And then towards the convenience aspect. And the list goes on.
Now come to think of it. We give such an importance to a small holiday trip. How much planning and thinking is necessary do you think for a life’s journey?
Decision making is an Art.
Decision making is such an Art with several complexities , even the most seasoned decision makers too falter and fumble at times. Hence, it’s evident, none is assured of 100 % right decisions. But we can endeavor to commit fewer mistakes by devoting more time and energy to observe the situation and circumstances.
Decision making is directly connected with the level of confidence in you. A person with confidence in his abilities will have a very clear picture of his aims and objectives.
No scope for ambiguity.
Just take a small example. Those who make a simple list of the things to be bought in the market, will finish off their shopping in no time .And those who are without a plan will waste their time plagued by indecisiveness and un certainty.
This is all to drive home the point, ‘Decision makers are Destiny makers.’
A Decision that changed the destiny of a Nation
Everybody knows the fact that India was invaded by several rulers of several countries in the past. All the invaders not only plundered the country, but made us slaves and we were subjugated for centuries. Seeing this dismal condition of a Nation with a fabulous heritage many attempts were made to regain the past glory of India. But none succeeded in getting the freedom to India
In the year 1888, a young man Mohan das Karamchand Gandhi, from Gujarat went to London to study Law. He came back to India in 1891 after finishing his law education. In the year 1893, he has been entrusted the job of representing an Indian firm in Durban, South Africa.
Gandhi’s sojourn in South Africa was an eye-opener for him. The racial discrimination of the English rulers was so appalling, that Gandhi, who never thought of his own country’s slavery thought about the atrocities committed by the British rule for the first time .The fact that people were made slaves in their own country made him sit and think.
He found lot of similarities between the people of South Africa and India. Both were crushed under an alien rule. Both were suffering silently. But why? That question haunted Gandhi day and night.
The last straw.
Once , Gandhi was travelling by a train in a first class compartment. A white man who was also travelling in the same compartment could not tolerate the bitter fact that a black man is also travelling in the same compartment in par with him. The white lifted Gandhi’s suit case and thrown it out on the platform. Then, he has thrown out Gandhi also. In that humiliating condition , wisdom dawned on Gandhi.
Gandhi thought, ‘This white man thrown me out of the railway compartment. But, I’ll see that all whites are thrown out of my Country.’ Note, that it was not angry outburst with vendetta in Gandhi's mind. It was a decision which Gandhi wanted to make as the guiding principle for the remaining part of his life.
Though he spent a duration of 21 years in South Africa, not a single day passed without the thought of. ‘How to get back my country’s independence.’
At last in 1915, Gandhi set his foot on the soil of India.
This turned out to be an epoch making event in the independence movement of India.
What Gandhi is made of?
Gandhi never proved his leadership qualities, before he plunged in to independence campaign. Then what made him so confident ? What made him to give up a lucrative profession and plunge into an unknown realm?
Influenced by Henry David Thoreau.
The main inspiration behind Gandhi’s action to plunge in to Indian independence movement was, He happened to read an article written by Henry David Thoreau , The name of the article was ‘Resistance to Civil government.
Gandhi was well convinced that through the movement of Civil disobedience, he can carry on the fight with the mighty British empire I India. The principle is simple and very effective. Above all, it’s a passive resistance, which doesn’t need any arms. There is no scope for violence.
Innate leadership qualities
Gandhi was a born leader. His firm belief in, ‘Service before Self.’ Stood in good stead and made him a natural leader. Owing to this reason, he always laid stress on Responsibilities rather than on Rights. Gandhi ‘s commitment to service owes its origin to his quality of ‘ Pro-activity.’ That means, he cannot remain as a mute spectator to any sort of injustice perpetrated by mean minded oppressors.
Hears inner voice
Gandhi always believed that inner voice is the mouth piece of one’s conscience. You can deceive hundreds of others, but never your conscience. Owing to this reason, Gandhi, in his book. ‘My experiments with truth’, without any hesitation, he has clearly and openly accounted all the mistakes he committed.
Gandhi felt that every leader should learn to listen his inner voice and follow its diktats. This crates a trust in the followers. And a leader with such followers can conquer the world.
inventor of a new weapon
The credit of inventing a new weapon to defeat the opponents however strong they be, goes to Gandhi. Gandhi knew the might of his opponent. To defeat him and get back the lost freedom of India is no small a task. But Gandhi is not a person to be cowed down by the physical strength of his opponent.
He invented a new weapon, ‘non- violence’ or Satyagraha to face the ego and might of the British. Satyagraha doesn't believe in using any form of violence. A person who believes and practices Satyagraha will never indulge in inflicting injuries on his opponent. Through his non- violent protests, a ‘Satyagrahi’ appeals to the reason of his opponent.
Gandhi said, Satyagraha intends to bring a change through the suffering of ‘Satyagrahi’.
Dandi March, Salt Satyagraha , Burning the foreign goods are a few victories credited to ‘Satyagraha.’ The Britishers were perplexed seeing the behavior of Satyagrahis. They bore the lathi beatings silently. They neither protested nor turned violent against the British Police forces.
To everybody’s surprise, he won the freedom to India using his newly found weapon.
‘De Di Hqmein Azaad bina Khadg bina Dhal
Sabarmati Ke Sant Tu ne Kar diya Kamal.
(O, the saint of Sabarmati, what you have done is magic. You gave us the freedom without using a sword or an armour.- Kavi Pradeep.)
Gandhi visualized long before he decided to come to India, what India needs. He realized that India needs ‘Swaraj’, the power of ruling themselves. ‘Swaraj’ is the source from which, the entire Gandhian Philosophy emerged out. Gandhi has seen ‘Swaraj’ as the starting point for achieving ‘Self – Reliance’ in economic, social and moral spheres. And the most heartening feature of ‘Swaraj’ was it’s equally applicable to individual or the institution. Society or state.
His moral and ethical strengths.
Gandhi’s belief that a leader should lead by example is visible in all the spheres of life. A leader according to Gandhi is one who hears his followers. He never believed in thrusting is own one-sided views on his followers.
It’s the general belief that a leader is one, who is in power. But in the case of Gandhi. He never held any position. But he had the entire nation at his back. The reason for this is that Gandhi is a leader from all the conventional leaders. He is a learner first and a leader last.
A great CEO
A Chief Executive Officer of an organization, is not a mere head. A CEO is the one who knows the aims and objectives of the organization. He knows how to make them work in order to take the organization in the path of progress. He knows how to involve and motivate the people who work for the organization. Akin to this, Gandhi stood as a Beacon of light to the people of the nation and led them all as a single unit in to the paths of success.
Image : Author's creation
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