Gandhi – The Power of Influence

Posted on June 11, 2010


‘He Ram’, the old man gasped, as his life ebbed from his body. A dull silence settled in the room, as the old man’s spirit fled, his life taken by an assassins’ bullet. ‘He Ram’ translated from the Hindu language, meant ‘Oh God’. Thus, Mahatma Gandhi, who had watched his nation unfold, had become a martyr, for the freedom of his people.

To his followers; he remained immortal in their hearts. His life, a testament to the power of influence, while showing respect for his fellow man.

Gandhi was a leader, who believed in ‘leadership by example’. Who’s famous words ‘Be the Change you want to see in the world’, are still quoted even today. In the next few minutes, I will highlight how this unassuming man became synonymous with peaceful protest, and whose philosophies were met with even fanatical acceptance by his followers.

Gandhi was born to a conservative family, and studied in England, where he trained to be a barrister. After unsuccessful attempts at setting up a practice in India, he relocated to South Africa, where he ended up being treated like he was a member of an inferior race. This experience no doubt shaped and molded him for the responsibilities he would shoulder in the near future. In South Africa, he saw the lack of human rights, meted out to Indian immigrants, and dedicated himself to the struggle.

Inspired by Christian teachings, and the works of Leo Tolstoy, he began teaching passive resistance to the South African authorities. This was after being imprisoned many times. His contributions led to the South African government granting concessions like recognizing Indian marriages, and abolition of the poll tax on Indian’s in South Africa. His philosophy was called satyagha meaning ‘truth and firmness’ in Sanskrit.

Later on, he moved back to India, to take part in a protest against a bill passed by the British occupants which would prevent Indian’s from voting in the elections. Gandhi began recruiting in his resistance against the British government, and satyagha spread, and in time became a formidable movement with millions of followers. Following the massacre of Indian’s at Amritsar, Gandhi organized a protest, with thousands of Indian’s squatting on the streets, refusing to move, even when beat by the police. He was arrested, but the British police were forced to free him.

Talk about influence! He was passionate about his beliefs, and he was able to sell this vision to his followers. We can see here the role of belief, and religion, as he was regarded as a holy man by his people, and millions were ready to follow him. He was a symbol of free India, dedicating himself to spirituality, eating just vegetables, fruit juice, and goat’s milk. His relationship with his wife became that of ‘brother and sister’, and he wore a simple loin cloth made from a spinning wheel he used in his advocacy for Indian’s to renew their indigenous industries.

During the struggle for India’s independence, Gandhi took on different fasts, which worked because if he had died, the country would have broken out in a revolution.. His most potent weapon against the British was fasting, and as such, they had to concede to his terms. We can see the power of influence he had, and how the belief his people had in him was so strong, he could literally force a revolution. After the termination of such a fast, he was assassinated by a Hindu fanatic, on his way to a prayer meeting.

Even up till now, his life has touched generations long after his demise.

His, was indeed a life of influence.

In conclusion, by briefly examining Gandhi’s life, we can see how one mans belief in his ideals, and unwillingness to compromise, ignited the faith of millions of people worldwide, even till today, to a point of almost religious devotion. Today, I challenge all of us, to hold on to our beliefs, even in the face of opposition, and remember, that like Gandhi, you also can make a difference.

If you are interested in unlocking the hidden leader inside you, then check out my new eBook: DIVE, on my website.

Ade Adebusoye is founder of Actualize International, a personal development/training company located in the Netherlands.
He can be reached via his website at

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