Mahatma Gandhi, as a ‘Political Guru’ in the New Millennium

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“Anyone who says they are not interested in politics is like a drowning man who insists he is not interested in water”

Political leaders worldwide are recognizing Mahatma Gandhi, the respected leader of the Indian independence movement, as an icon of politics. During his leadership in the struggle for independence, Gandhi exemplified certain political strategies inspired from his spiritual philosophy that hold significant relevance in today’s political arena. He is regarded as a master strategist and an exceptional leader whose ideas and strategies hold great significance for the political domain, especially in India.

Mahatma Gandhi was an ideal political guru. Non Violence and Truth were the two key components of his creed. The Mahatma inspired the common man, an average Indian to follow his principles and led the masses to win the fight for independent India. Creativity and Innovation, initiated on moral authority flowing from his “inner voice” (his term for ‘conscience’), constituted the bedrock of whatever campaign he embarked upon. Further, he believes that “Powers of love is thousand times more powerful than the power of violence.”

Gandhi’s concept of Non-violence and his high moral standards are what today’s leaders must emulate in order to have the advantage in the political domain. His concept of a transparency can be compared to a public policy, where individual can optimise the benefits of the policies standing last in the queue.

Mahatma Gandhi as a Political Guru: His views and Opinions

Gandhi as saying, “The world we must strive to build needs to be based on the concept of genuine social equality in it, the prince and the peasant, the wealthy and the less well-off, the employer and the employee are on the same level. Political, social and economic progress cannot mean that few people charge ahead and more and more people are left behind.”

Gandhi was not just a leader, but was more of a spiritual one. He experimented by mixing spirituality with politics and led to independence India. Here are Gandhi’s trait which can be use in the political arena.

Satyagraha

  • It is a powerful force that arises from Truth, love, and Non Violence. Truth encompasses both love and determination, making it synonymous with force. Kindness often elicits a better response from people compared to the use of physical force. By embracing the principles of Satyagraha, modern political leaders can bring about transformation and empower individuals without resorting to coercive methods commonly seen in British times. Gandhi envisioned a future that integrated spirituality, morality and practicality. Through his unwavering commitment to his vision, he successfully led others.

Shared Vision and Core Values

  • In his role as a skilled strategist, Mahatma Gandhi possessed the ability to effectively cultivate a vision that would be embraced by a large number of individuals. One of Gandhi’s most notable accomplishments was his ability to connect with people on a personal level.
  • He embarked on extensive travels across the nation, aiming to establish a collective vision of independence among individuals residing in various regions of the country. Through his “Walk the Talk” approach of actively engaging with the masses through rallies, dharnas, padhyatra’s, and nonviolent demonstrations, Gandhi made sincere efforts to establish a deep connection with the common people.
  • For today’s political leadership, the lessons Gandhi provides is that when they conceive a political vision for the society they need to think for the future and define values that will help to achieve the same.

Self-Reliance

  • Gandhi’s main objective was to promote self-sufficiency within the villages of India. He believed that the path to Indian independence should start from the grassroots level, where each village would function as an independent republic with absolute authority. These villages would exchange information and resources with other villages for items that were not available locally. Similarly, modern political parties should focus to achieve self-reliance or Atmanirbhar by collaborate and share information with other stakeholders to enhance technology and productivity. Gandhi acknowledged the interdependence between the individual and the society.

Transparency

  • Truth and transparency are the hallmarks of Gandhian philosophy. This holds good eminently for the government, too. For a government to be effective and enduring, it has to be an open book, subjecting itself to public scrutiny. Ethics and honesty, by which Gandhi set store, are among the critical elements of a successful government. “Ethics today are undermined in every sphere. Government is about accountability and transparency.”

Public Relations Network

  • Gandhi possessed an impressive network of public relations and maintained a favourable relationship with the press. For instance, can be seen in the Dandi March. If Gandhi had gone there quietly, it would just not have made an impact. Gandhi orchestrated an event that captured the popular imagination of the time. He had a total understanding of the human psychology and used it along with his public relation skills. Despite facing opposition from his colleagues, Gandhi made the decision to march to Dandi and make salt. The British government disregarded his actions, believing that he would fail and become a laughingstock among his people.
  • However, the march itself, along with the symbolic act of making salt, united the entire country and greatly unsettled the British administration. The effects of the salt march echoed throughout India, leading to a significant increase in followers from all segments of Indian society and garnering attention from around the world.

Though Gandhi lived many years ago, his leadership principles must be considered by the political organisations and the government for the benefits of the masses. His high moral standards are what leaders should strive to achieve. Further, his belief in Non Violence is a principle that must be understood by all political parties in order for them to lead a diverse country. Government must emphasise toward a more equal and fair opportunities where every people contributes to the countries’ vision. A common value system must exist among the political parties and a clear sense of honesty and trust must permeate throughout.

Source: Newsweek

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