Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869 – 1948) is commonly mentioned as one of the most fascinating leaders in history. Through his policy of nonviolent civil disobedience, he encouraged all nations of India to act together for a common cause: freedom. Gandhi’s revolutionary ideas, as well as his persistence to realize them, make him a true example of what leadership is all about. A true leader brings people together despite of their differences; stays true to the cause regardless of the intimidations, and inspires changes in a greater perspective.
Identity is more than a concept necessary for identification and administrative procedures; it is a characteristic encoded in each and every one of us. The national or ethnic identity arises from history, culture, tradition, community, and feeling of belonging into a specific group. The British occupation in India could not erase this inseparable urge that binds the individual with the group. Although the main purpose of his campaign was liberation of his nation, he expanded its principles and affected women’s rights, poverty, injustice, and ethnic intolerance. Gandhi possessed one of the main virtues of true leaders: he united different generations, religions and political parties for a single goal.
Mahatma Gandhi was a charismatic person. He was intelligent and influential, but humble at the same time. One of the most important reasons for the success of his campaign was the fact that he didn’t succumb under the intimidation of the authorities. He managed to express his personal views and start a mass movement with series of nonviolent actions that resulted with India’s independence in 1947. Leadership is more than an ability to persuade followers through speeches; Gandhi deserved respect by his actions. He understood the poor masses of India and acted towards their liberation from economic servitude.
The influence of Gandhi’s nonviolence campaign went beyond the borders of India. He inspired millions of people and leaders from other countries, including Leo Tolstoy, Martin Luther King, the Dalai Lama, and Liu Xiaobo. Today, Gandhi’s actions of voluntary sacrifice for a greater cause seem like utopia to the masses. Unfortunately, his efforts to preserve the unity of Hindus and Muslims in India were far less successful than his campaign for the country’s liberation.
As a true leader, Gandhi managed to inspire millions of people to act together against oppression. His authentic teachings remain as a proven recipe for change. Humanity is never left without outstanding leaders who personify universal qualities in their pure form. Unfortunately, the masses are not always subjective to the right values. Gandhi couldn’t bring a revolution by himself; it’s the people who need to join together and recognize such an authentic leader.