As I read the passages from the homework on the Indian Nationalist Movement, one of the things that I noticed was that Gandhi evolved into a powerful leader. According to the assignment (pg. 17): “[b]y 1920, Gandhi was recognized as the most powerful leader in India. He was known and revered by millions of villagers and was popular even in the Muslim community.” These sentences made me think about what makes someone become a powerful leader and about what makes someone become “known and revered by millions.” Gandhi had the know-how and the ability to understand the situation in that moment. When Gandhi returned to India from South Africa in 1914, he recognized that in order to help the masses of India improve their living conditions he would first have to unify them. Building on his early organizing experiences in South Africa, he brought together farmers, textile workers and other groups in non-violent campaigns for better pay and improved working conditions. Later, in helping India develop a nationalist identity, Gandhi inspired the Indian people to join together in demanding and ultimately attaining independence from Great Britain.
Not only did Gandhi strive to better his country, but he also strove to better himself. According to his autobiography My Experiments with Truth, Gandhi sought to improve his own understanding of the world by reflecting on his actions in the past, acknowledging his faults and flaws, and pledged to deny himself material items so that he could be and feel more in common with the people of India. This made people love Gandhi more.
When I think about Gandhi and all that he achieved, I see him as a great leader. What characteristics do you feel made Gandhi a strong and beloved leader? Are these characteristics found in leaders today? Which ones? What characteristics do you think true leaders have?
Below is a picture of Gandhi, inspiring fellow countrymen.