Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is widely recognized as one of the twentieth centuryБs greatest political and spiritual leaders. Honored in India as the father of the nation, he pioneered and practiced the principle of SatyagrahaБresistance to tyranny through mass nonviolent civil disobedience. While leading nationwide campaigns to ease poverty, expand womenБs rights, build religious and ethnic harmony and eliminate the injustices of the caste system, Gandhi supremely applied the principles of nonviolent civil disobedience, playing a key role in freeing India from foreign domination. He was often imprisoned for his actions, sometimes for years, but he accomplished his aim in 1947, when India gained its independence from Britain.
Due to his stature, he is now referred to as Mahatma, meaning Бgreat soul. Б World civil rights leadersБfrom Martin Luther King, Jr. to Nelson MandelaБhave credited Gandhi as a source of inspiration in their struggles to achieve equal rights for their people.
Gandhi s entire life story is about action, to bring about positive change. He both succeeded and failed in what he sought to do, but he always moved forward and he never gave up the quest for improvement, both social and spiritual, and both for individuals and for the Nation as a whole. Today, Gandhi is remembered not only as a political leader, but as a moralist who appealed to the universal conscience of mankind.
He changed the world. Gandhi s effect on the world was and still is immense. He also gave to the world a way of thinking about and acting upon value systems that profoundly influenced such important figures as Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. From a practical viewpoint, his focus on Swadeshi formed the core of India s industrial policy. Gandhi s success and continued reputation make him a leader worthy to learn from. All of us who aspire to lead ethically may never be like him. Gandhi s relevance, is more so today as many more are educated, articulate and ambitious. In such times, leaders can lead only if they not only have their content right but are also better people with a vision for themselves and others.
While Gandhi might have been managing the Indian freedom movement with a troop of comrades, he was actually leading a change of mindset that effected change in everyone who participated with him. One of his most admirable qualities was that he led by example and never preached what he himself was not willing to do. He was charismatic, but he was also deliberate and analytical. He was a transformational and transactional leader too. Mahatma Gandhi taught us that we can bring harmony to our world by becoming champions of love and peace for all. If all of us do our bit, to be like him in every relationship we forge at work and elsewhere, we have no doubt that our successors will inherit a better world.