Mahatma Gandhi

Topics: Indian independence movement, Martin Luther King, Jr., Leadership Pages: 3 (1113 words) Published: January 24, 2013
In 1978, James McGregor Burns wrote about the dearth of leadership. "One of the most universal cravings of our time is a hunger for compelling and creative leadership." McGregor Burns’ search for "moral leadership" reveals the tragedy of leadership studies- the confusion of leadership with power. Traditionally, leaders have been defined as those who hold power; allowing presidents, prime ministers and military generals, regardless of their accomplishments, to be considered leaders. Leadership studies have been further detracted from "moral leadership" because of the confusion of leadership with management. John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, and Bill Gates are considered leaders for the economic power they amassed. The confusion of leadership with power and leadership with management has led to a model of leadership that is Machiavellian (manipulative), hierarchical, authoritative, impersonal, elitist, and self-interested. The person I believe to be the greatest leader of the twentieth century exhibited none of the qualities named above. This person held no official political title; he commanded no army and he amassed no great wealth. He did, however, have tremendous influence. This truly exemplary leader derived his power from the conscious citizenry. The leader I am referring to is Mahatma Gandhi. Instrumental in the Indian Independence movement, Gandhi’s influence extended beyond the borders of India to the rest of the world. Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence inspired millions, including the great American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. A simple, pious man, Gandhi identified with and won the hearts of India’s most politically and economically marginalized people. He spent his life fighting to overcome modern forms of enslavement and oppression- caste oppression, religious hatred, gender oppression, and, what he saw as the worst form of violence, poverty. The purpose of this essay is to outline Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence and it’s influence...
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