Mahatma Gandhi was one of the most prominent figures of Indian nationalism during the process of Indian independence from the United Kingdom. He was responsible for introducing novel strategies of peaceful disobedience and rejection of armed struggle at the time of decolonization. His ideas were finally successful for his political movement.
But, beyond this, Gandhi became one of the great symbols of pacifism during the twentieth century, along with other characters such as the American Martin Luther King or the South African Nelson Mandela.
During his life, abruptly interrupted by his murder in 1948, Gandhi’s phrases were cited worldwide as life lessons. In addition to being politically pacifist, Gandhi advocated the rejection of violence against animals and was a champion of a vegetarian diet. His thinking is still widely valid today, and many people continue to consider it a moral and ethical reference.
Gandhi’s image is that of light, extremely thin person, yet he achieved inconceivable goals thanks to his willpower and dedication.
- Live as if you will die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
Constant training and learning were one of the pillars of Gandhi’s life, which ended his days with a vast knowledge of different disciplines.
- What we are doing to the world’s forests is nothing more than a reflection of what we are doing to each other.
Gandhi’s pacifist thinking also included animals and all nature, which he considered part of a whole.
Gandhi never accepted that violence could be a means to achieve peace. For him, the end never justified the means.
- An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.
In a society like that of India in the 50s, in which a circle of inter-ethnic violence began, Gandhi appealed to forgiveness and to flee from revenge.
- My life is my message.
Gandhi practised the old rule of preaching by example and decided to live exactly what he advocated for others.
- Watch your thoughts, for they will become your words. Watch your words because they will become your actions. Take care of your actions, because they will become your habits. Take care of your habits, because they will become your destiny.
Gandhi argued that the changes began with oneself and, in turn, these should be reflected in the most insignificant details of everyday life.
Although violence has historically been seen as an expression of strength, Gandhi turned the concept around and related it to fear and weakness.
- I guess leadership once meant muscles, but today it means getting along with people.
Gandhi’s image is far from that of the classic mass leader. This simple, sickly-looking man managed to become the leader of one of the most powerful nationalist movements of the entire twentieth century.
Gandhi lived a hard life, in which he had to survive many hardships, but he always declared that he was a happy person because he managed to be consistent with his way of thinking.