Gandhi’s Spiritual Approach to Politics and Leadership
Born on 2 October 1869, Mohandas Gandhi emerged as an iconic political and spiritual leader of the 20th century in India. Devoted to truth and spirituality, Gandhi used a distinctive approach to leadership. For instance, he adopted Satyagraha, “holding onto truth” philosophy of resistance founded on pacification and truth to overcome evil. The Satyagraha was first conceived by Gandhi in 1906 in South Africa to address discriminative legislation passed by British Imperialists against Asians. The philosophy then spread to India and enabled Gandhi to achieve India’s independence (Swaraj), among many other accomplishments such as women’s rights ethnic and religious harmony. Gandhi had a unique and multi-faceted governance model of Satyagraha that advocated for an ethical and peaceful counter to injustice and exploitation.
Gandhi used Satyagraha in the Indian struggle against British colonialism by holding non-violent protests. Employing violence in the confrontations would breach Satyagraha since the philosophy perceives violence as evil. Fasting, economic boycotts, and peaceful protests are the major confrontation strategies against evil utilized in Satyagraha. The qualities of a Satyagraha are non-evil, forgiving, compassionate, and willing to take voluntary suffering in pursuit of the truth. The Satyagraha also does not seek victory nor vanquish but rather harmony. Satyagraha is, therefore, a form of civil resistance by obeying the law and encouraging non-violent protests. Despite being a political leader, Gandhi lived modest and spiritual life and undertook long fasts to achieve self-purification and social protest. Non-violence and perseverance is the most active muscle of attaining truth and peace in the world, according to Satyagraha.
Employing non-violence strategies against oppressing opponents is challenging and almost unrealistic; hence it requires training. Gandhi also corrects the everyday living of individuals to embrace truth and peace through self-reflection and scrutiny. Non-violence and Satyagraha are rules of life that individuals and nations can practice for leadership. Satyagrahi is a spiritual approach to leadership incepted by Gandhi that was elemental in India’s political and social development and requires courage and intellect for implementation.