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Gandhi ..... the man who remade himself

Yesterday night (or rather early morning) we kicked off the El Dorado Film Festival with the screening of the classic 'Gandhi'. (btw El Dorado is the name of our hostel wing) I must be watching the movie the 3rd time but the last time I saw it was about 10 years ago, so yesterday's screening definitely gave me newer insights on the life and times of Gandhi. Also I have half read Gandhi's Autobiography - "My experiments with truth" about 2 months back and have just completed reading the life of 'New India's Mahatma' - dear APJ Abdul Kalam. All this combined gave me better understanding of lots of principles of leadership. (It isn't a coincidence that we watched the movie as an assignment from our Prof in the subject - Business Leadership)
I had been an antagonist of Gandhian ideas of non-violence in my teens. But as I grew older I realised that principled differences apart, none could overlook the fact that Gandhi was probably the only man who could lead 1 million people without exceptions. No other leader has ever had such a widespread and unchallenged appeal among the masses. How much did non-violence contribute to his appeal is questionable but one thing which I believe contributed heavily to Gandhi's popularity is his ability to led by example. I cannot imagine what grit a man might have to travel to sub-zero temperatures of London wrapped in a shawl and a loin-cloth, with a bamboo stick in his hands.
When you read his autobiography, you realise that Gandhi was not born great. He was just like all of us, all pumped up with his ego of being a barrister. But as slowly he realised the need for fighting for truth he started changing himself. He also realised soon that people wouldn't follow him and make sacrifices till he himself proved it; he started adopting the righteous way of life himself. He was totally unlike other leaders of those and even present times who would spend lavishly on their own self while they asked for sacrifice as great as life from the poor. I respect the man today for what he stood for and lived for all his life. His way of life is what we can still try to emulate. Even if his way of life seems out of place today, I think we at the least can adopt one priciple from his life - the leader must himself act as he expects his followers to act.
Thats a lot on gandhi. ... ...While Gandhi gave India the power of non-violence to fight injustice, Kalam bolstered the nation with his missiles. It is this military strength which has enabled us to be worthy of preaching non-violence in world arena. The world listens to us because we also are capable of nuclear strikes and command the respect to be heard on issues of peace. Expect a lot on Kalam, his life and Project management tips from him in my next post!!


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