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Mahatma Gandhi is widely recognized as a spiritual, religious, and political leader as well as the founder of non-violent civil disobedience that influenced the world positively. The complexity of Gandhis life requires special attention to his personal and public endeavors which are a pure reflection of his personal traits. Stanley Wolpert wrote the accurate chronicle of the leadership excellence of Indias Great Soul, Mahatma Gandhi. The purpose of the following paper is to analyze the theoretical framework for Gandhis leadership style based on Wolperts Gandhis Passion.
In the introduction, the Wolpert provides detailed background to discuss this historical and political figure. He compellingly compares Gandhis long-suffering life with the suffering of Jesus Christ on the Cross (Wolpert, 2001, p. 3). In fact, the word suffering is defined as passion which implies mind control and freedom from prejudice. Another interpretation of the term is the Sanskrit word tapas referring to the great power that can engender abiding faith and cause divinity of life (Wolpert, 2001, p. 3). Wolpert approached the study of Gandhis life more as a polemicist rather than a scholar. In his comprehensive work, he provides not only the historical evidence of the leaders impact on democratic politics and religious values but also implicitly pays homage to his outstanding personality that transformed the world. Based on the analysis of the 90 volumes of Mahatma Gandhis Collected Works, the book provides a sympathetic evaluation of his own idiosyncratic philosophy, leadership, and lifestyle.
The trajectory of the leaders life was the result of his passion because he was determined to sacrifice his comfort in order to comprehend the divine truth. From his early campaigns aiming at eliminating racial discrimination in South Africa and continuous efforts to stop British rule in India, the leader emerges as a significant political and religious figure obscured by the inner conflict between his political ambitions and the moral. It is worth admitting that Hinduism, Christianity, and Buddhism had a profound influence on Gandhis beliefs and values. He highlighted the primacy of love for ones enemy as the most powerful mechanism that can encourage a change in any conflict: Gandhis emphasis on the primacy of moral principles and nonviolence above any and all material ends and his faith in God as Truth and Love immortalize his global legacy (Wolpert, 2001, p. 266).
Primacy of ethics in any leadership is essential as long as it creates a strong relationship with a high level of trust and motivation (Dhiman, 2015). Gandhis leadership style is an excellent example of the values-based philosophy that focuses on such ideals as truth, justice, love, and freedom. He with his strong opposition to prejudice and oppression encouraged the Indian nation like no other leader since the times of Buddha. By helping people to perceive the world through the prism of moral values, the leader cultivates the potential in others encouraging universal positive social change (Busch & Murdock, 2014). Gandhi inspired such influential global leaders as Martin Luther Kind, Nelson Mandela to demand racial equality and justice using non-violent civil disobedience. His exemplary principle-centered leadership style helped his followers to realize their potential; therefore, Gandhi fostered spiritual prosperity of the whole society.
Mahatma Gandhi was a truly transformational leader for he created the shared vision to guide the social change through morale and inspiration (Nongard, 2014). Furthermore, he used transformational leadership principles while fighting for Indian liberation and drew international attention to the unjust actions of the British Empire. Additionally, the Father of the Nation could foresee economic, political, and moral hazards of the modern world: the ability to visualize future trends and timely react to slight changes in the society made him an iconic leader in the best sense of this word (Avolio & Yammarino, 2013).
From the standpoint of a believer in non-violent civil disobedience, Wolpert claims that Gandhi strived to stop racial segregation and discrimination in a peaceful way which made him a genuine spiritual leader that will be remembered for centuries. Witnessing cases of gross injustice in South Africa and experiencing racial discrimination himself forced Gandhi to adopt leadership as a vocation. In the situations, when he was treated less favorably, he committed the act of civil disobedience, as he considered this method to be the giant force that would drive the meaningful change in the society. The leader decided to alter himself first in order to produce the desired change in the world. Thus, influenced by high moral principles, he chose the life of simplicity that is free of any material goods.
As a leader, I would like to work, lead, and live in the alignment with the moral principles and values in order to ignite the potential in my followers. Gandhis exemplary leadership demonstrates that a true leader should alter not only professionally but also personally. Therefore, it is important to enhance such virtues as justice, forgiveness, tolerance etc. creating an ethical climate both at home and at work. Nonetheless, the most severe shortcoming of Gandhis leadership is the lack of realism. He rejected to see the realities of imperfect human nature which sometimes did not allow him to successfully corroborate with his adversaries. Non-violence and pacifism should not result in masochistic surrender but instead should be based on mutual interests and goals.
To sum up, the book Gandhis passion lingers on Gandhis valuable and generous legacy that he left to the world. The author promotes a certain view of Gandhi being a saintly eccentric figure that dramatically changed political and ethical foundations of the entire nation. His selfless service to the community and self-sacrificing spirit continue to win active support and admiration from the global political and religious leaders. His leadership style embodies the values-based and transformational governance that positively influence the followers and, therefore, his leadership continues producing a valuable change.