Learning from Giants: A Visit to Mahatma Gandhi’s Peace Monument in Pondicherry, India
“Action expresses priorities.”– Mohandas Gandhi
Today I was walking along the beach in Pondicherry (also known as Puducherry) in India.
A Symbol of Peace: Mahatma Gandhi Peace Monument in India
As I was admiring the fine remnants of French colonial architecture, lo and behold, in front of me, in between the beach light house and the crashing waves, was the massive peace monument of Mahatma Gandhi, also known as Mohandas Gandhi.
I instantly wanted to take a photo. Mahatma Gandhi not only inspired the local people to build the statue, but Gandhi has also been an inspiration to me as well throughout my own personal development.
Why was Mahatma Gandhi so inspirational to not only me but also millions of Indian people and other social entrepreneurs worldwide?
He was instrumental in the self determination of the Indian people. He was a major social leader in opposing oppression and subjugation under British colonial rule.
Mahatma Gandhi and His Legacy
While he was one of the main proponents for Indian independence, I personally respect him for some of his personal values which drove his social leadership.
There were many other leaders throughout the world who then followed his ideas and principles.
I also profess to follow some of his ideas, especially of self-discipline and non-violence.
While he was physically small and thin, his influence was that of a giant – and the huge peace monument I visited showed just how large of a social impact he has made.
2 Leadership Principles You Can Learn From Gandhi
Here are some lessons that you could reflect on about Mahatma Gandhi’s leadership principles.
1) Self-Discipline: Leaders Should Be Examples For Others
“A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.”– Mohandas Gandhi
Gandhi demonstrated the power of his thoughts and actions. His physical actions were a true expression of his values and principles.
He ate vegetarian food and went on long fasts to purify his body and his mind, as well as a form of social protest.
He practised the Indian idea of Ahimsa, which means “to do no harm.” He believed that all living being are connected, including all races of human beings as well as animals.
That’s one of the primary reasons why he practised both vegetarianism and non-violence.
For me, self discipline is about controlling your actions and your habits to align them with your thoughts and your values. “Thinking about doing good” is not good enough. You must also take action to do good.
2) Non-Violence: Leaders Should Stand Up for What They Believe In Through Peaceful Means
“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”– Mohandas Gandhi
Gandhi showed the world that you didn’t have to have a title, or authority or a military to change the world and make a difference.
All you needed to do was believe in yourself, and to act according to your highest values.
He demonstrated that oppressed peoples should not put up with their condition. They should stand up for their rights, but they should do it in a peaceful manner.
Hate does not overcome hate. War does not overcome war.
He was an example that peace can overcome hate.
Interestingly, social leaders who read his teachings also implemented his peaceful strategies of protest. He inspired Martin Luther King Jr in the United States, Nelson Mandela of South Africa, Benigno Aquino of the Philippines and many other social leaders.
Gandhi’s Modern Impact for Social Entrepreneurs
Modern social entrepreneurs and leaders can learn from his ideas and principles.
I sure have a lot to learn from him, and I continue to look up to him.
Check out Gandhi’s autobiographical book My Experiments with Truth to read more about his life and thought.