Mahatma Gandhi is revered the world over as one of history’s most transformative and inspirational figures.
Throughout his life in South Africa and India, Gandhi was a fearless campaigner for the rights and dignity of all people, whose constant and unwavering promotion of non-violence as a tool to win over hearts and minds has forever left its mark on the world.
He was a rebel
Born Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in Porbandar, India in 1869 — he was later nicknamed “Mahatma,” for “great soul”.
After an arranged marriage at the age of 13, Gandhi rebelled against his deeply religious upbringing by smoking, eating meat and even stealing. By age 18, he set sail to London to study law.
A fledgling law career in India would eventually send the 24-year-old Gandhi to South Africa. It was here that he witnessed the deep-seated discrimination and racial segregation of South African society.
He was petrified of public speaking
However, the man known today for his calm, courage and compassion in the face of oppression was not always comfortable before the crowds.
The spiritual leader and father of Indian independence in fact suffered for much of his life from an acute fear of public speaking.
Gandhi’s glossophobia, as it’s known, was so severe that when he faced a judge for his first court case as a young lawyer, he froze and fled from the courtroom in a panic.
Over time, Gandhi managed not only to overcome his fears, but to turn them to his advantage. His unease at speaking made him an excellent listener, whose humility and empathy allowed him to channel the dreams and aspirations of the masses.
His hesitancy with words taught him the power of saying more with less — and today, these words, inflected with the heart and wisdom that have made him an international icon, continue to inspire countless millions across the globe.
He left a mark
Mahatma Gandhi left his mark on the world in more ways than one. The leader of India’s independence movement achieved remarkable feats through a form of non-violent civil disobedience that would inspire millions around the world.
World leaders, scientists, philosophers and even entrepreneurs have drawn inspiration from Gandhi, whose spiritual significance was just as profound as his role in liberating India.
Perhaps the biggest turning point in young Gandhi’s life occurred on June 7, 1893, where he was thrown off a train station by a white man after he refused to move to the back of the car. That would prove to be Gandhi’s first, but certainly not last, act of civil disobedience.
By 1906, Gandhi had organized his first mass civil disobedience campaign in South Africa. He would spend the next 9 years fighting for Indian rights in the country before returning home to fight for Indian liberation.
He was murdered
Although a pacifist, Gandhi was murdered by a Hindu extremist who resented the leader’s tolerance of Muslims following the declaration of Indian independence.
A man who had spent his life preaching nonviolence was killed by a semiautomatic pistol at point-blank range.
Gandhi is today remembered for his commitment to pacifism, peaceful protest and simple living. He single-handedly inspired millions of people to action, preaching a message of love, tolerance and avoiding greed.
For those reasons he inspired civil rights movements from Apartheid South Africa to the United States and is today remembered as one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century.
Quotes from Gandhi
“A man is but a product of his thoughts. What he thinks he becomes.”
“Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
“Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.”
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
“Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love.”
“The future depends on what you do today.”
“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”
I would love to know which is your favourite quote. Simply reply to this blog and let me know and I will email you back personally to thank you.
Thoughts for the week:
- Gandhi used his fear of public speaking to his advantage by learning to speak less and he became a great listener.
- He changed a negative into a positive.
- He faced so much adversity, but he had that indomitable will to keep going.
- This week think about Gandhi’s quotes and see which resonate the most with you and apply those in your life.
Well that’s it for this week have a wonderful weekend and stay positive.