Mahatma Gandhi – Leader v/s Parent

Gandhi 1

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is remembered as a colonial agitator, social reformer, religious thinker, passive resister, prolific writer and prophet.

He has a unique global status even after sixty eight years of his death. This political leader worked in three different countries – Britain, South Africa and India.

His thoughts on unique form of protests (Satyagraha), untouchability, and revival of handicrafts, self sufficiency and religious traditions have inspired numerous leaders like Nelson Mandela, Aung San Su Ki and Martin Luther King Jr.

According to famous historian Ramchandra Guha, “Gandhi and Lord Rama, enjoyed a long life and is enjoying a vigorous after life”. They both travelled long distances, spent long periods in exile, had loyal and very supportive wives whom they didn’t treat with trust and understanding that they deserved.

Gandhi’s relation with his eldest son Harilal shows him in a very poor light as a father. Harilal always believed that his father was autocratic and self loving. At twenty one, he wrote to his father, “You didn’t allow me to measure my capabilities, you measured them for me”. It shows that the world leader failed as a father.

With his children, he was the traditional overbearing patriarch – making them do what he intended for them. Imagine, Gandhi got the best of education without any interference from his parents (they were dead before he went to London to study Law) but as he became disenchanted with modern professions, he didn’t permit his sons to receive modern education.

As he had embraced celibacy, he expected his sons to do the same. He wanted his second son Manilal to make up for the deference shown by his eldest son, Harilal. He said to Manilal, “It is my desire to see you esteemed in India as a brahmchari of highest order, your conduct so naturally well disciplined that it cannot but produce an impression on others”

Gandhi placed his career and cause above marriage & family.

As a leader, he loved reverence from his friends, had highest expectations from himself and always acted what he preached.

Gandhi 2




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