Mahatma Gandhi was the epitome of leadership. Those who criticized him during his lifetime failed to gain a higher stature than him. The reason is the vision of Mahatma Gandhi.
Gandhi’s primary goal was to get for India freedom from the British Rule. If it were only to drive the British away, a violent movement would have sufficed. But that violence would have continued more viciously thereafter, and that would have proved grossly counter-productive. The trait of violence that political leaders in various parts of India betray for petty reasons and many a times without any reason even now should be enough to convince any objective critique of those uncertain times. The sheer scale of differences in the society was unnerving; comprehending it required a superb leader who had a fair knowledge of the global developments and domestic strengths & weaknesses. While there were many educated and experienced leaders engaged on political missions, none had that kind of vision or comprehension as Mahatma Gandhi possessed. Had they it, they would have certainly established their leadership, as it was not dependent on the kind of support politicians struggle these days to garner to reach the top or remain afloat.
Mahatma Gandhi adopted the Non-Violent way of fighting the British not only as a weapon against the adversary (he would not like to call them enemy) but as a core principle of state policy when Indians would start ruling. In other words, for self-rule. Gandhi was the only person who believed in the power of non-violence as he had only a few followers in the beginning. But as he progressed, he succeeded in convincing the masses of the efficacy of his doctrine of non-violence. And he proved right in the end. The world has started appreciating Mahatma Gandhi’s doctrine of non-violence in the present century, which validates the view amply.
Gandhi made a practical assessment of the ground realities without indulging in high sounding economic jargon for improving the lot of the masses. He was right in noting that the people were afflicted by poverty, illiteracy, backwardness, superstition and unemployment. They could not have been made industrialists, entrepreneurs, factory owners or even industrial workers. But they needed to earn to buy their ration for two square meals. Exploitation started under the medieval kings only worsened under the British Rule. The problem was huge, and solutions were few. His creativity of launching khadi & village industries was a potent programme that revived village industries closed by the British only to push the industrial products by their factories. It created employment opportunities on the one hand and hit hard the economic interests of the rulers as their factories had no market for their products like cloth. It was a hugely successful programme that fired the imagination of the people, energised the sagging morale of the artisans, strengthened the freedom movement, united the people in to a nation, prevailed over petty prides in small geographical units, whether ruled by Raja, Maharaja, Nawab or those called British or other European territories within India. Wherever Gandhi’s message reached, the people awakened to the change and voluntarily embraced it. That was the magnetism of Gandhi.
Had there been no Mahatma Gandhi to steer the ship in those very turbulent times, and his critics the only leaders, India would never have got its independence, because the British were cleverly manoevering those voices of dissent to delay and ultimately deny freedom to India. The British knew that they would succeed if somehow Gandhi was removed from the scene.
Sadly, they failed. Mahatma Gandhi won. He also won the highest respect of the people who loved him as a Great Soul or Mahatma (in Hindi language).
We pay homage to the Father of the Nation today. We remember him respectfully for giving us the courage, fearlessness and non-violence of speech, deeds or thoughts.
We invite the global community to join us today in remembering him!