As I am sat here in India on the birthday of Gandhi it would be remiss of me not to write a post about one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century.
I am a big fan of Gandhi, his philosophy and his approach to leadership.
Interestingly his philosophy on non violence was inspired by author Leo Tolstoy who wrote ‘A Letter to a Hindu’ in which he said only by using love as a passive weapon could India overthrow colonial rule. This was the same Tolstoy who also wrote War and Peace.
Gandhi took this philosophy and added non violent force and compromise, in order to bring an end to British rule.
However, my favourite story about Gandhi is the one about the little boy who ate too much sugar.
During the 1930’s, a young boy had become obsessed with eating a lot of sugar. His mother was very upset with this. But no matter how much she scolded him and tried to break his habit, he continued to satisfy his sweet tooth. Being totally frustrated, she decided to take her son to see Mahatma Gandhi who was the boy’s idol.
She had to walk many miles across the country, for hours under scorching sun to finally reach Gandhi’s ashram. There, she recounted her difficult journey and shared with Gandhi her unpleasant situation:
“Bapu (Father), my son eats too much sugar. It is not good for his health. Would you
please advise him to stop eating it? “
Gandhi listened to the woman carefully, thought for a while and replied:
“Please come back after two weeks. I will talk to your son.”
The women looked confused. Then she took the boy by the hand and went home. She made the long journey home and in two weeks time made it once again as Gandhi requested. When they arrived, Gandhi looked directly at the boy and said:
“Boy, you should stop eating sugar. It is not good for your health.”
The boy nodded and promised he would not continue this habit any longer. The
boy’s mother was puzzled. She turned to Gandhi and asked,
“Bapu (Father), Why didn’t you tell him that two weeks ago when I brought him here to see you?”
Gandhi smiled and whispered in her ears.
“Mother, that time I was not qualified to advise the little one
Because I too, was same like him, eating a lot of sugar myself two weeks ago.
“You Must First Be The Change You Want To See In This World” – Mahatma Gandhi.
Now thats leadership!