We are sitting on a tipping point of change where the battle between the ideologies of the past and pull of the future has led us to crossroads. A nation of a billion people yearns for a new sunrise of hope, equality, justice, prosperity and peace; an India where these adjectives are not merely a part of oratory but the founding pillars of our future.
This is also a time when an alarmingly great number of Indians would rather seek an escape from the current problems that surround us than commit to making a difference to their surroundings. We vent off our frustration by complaining about how bad things are around us and by making self defeating comparisons with developed countries. But when it comes to doing something practically, we are reluctant to step outside our insulated environments and get our hands dirty.
The solution to this dilemma may lie in the words of Mahatma Gandhi – “You have be the change that you want to see” – this philosophy is now the new buzzword worldwide to achieve turnarounds in business, political and social spheres. Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy was able to mobilise millions of Indians at the grass root level to get up and fight the British oppression in India.
His doctrine of non violence and civil disobedience was more appealing to Indians than the call for violence by many radical organizations. Mahatma Gandhi understood the intricacies of what is now labelled as ‘situational leadership’, very well. He understood all the factors critical to the Indian freedom struggle – most importantly the psychology of the people and he crafted a strategy that would not only mobilise mass opinion in India and abroad against imperialism but would also leave a lasting legacy; a philosophy that would later be followed by many around the world in their own struggle against oppression – from Martin Luther King to Nelson Mandela.
An interesting observation that comes to the fore during our ‘Leadership Workshops’ is that people often associate leadership with designations. Nothing could be farther from the truth. You don’t have to be the head of an organization or be elected to a political office to be a leader. If you are in a position to influence the life of another human being – in any sphere of life (if you are alive you are!) which makes you a leader and it serves us all well if you are leading in the right direction!
No amount of training, coaching or preaching will yield any results for any organization, any family or society until the message that is being preached is being implemented by those whom the others hold in high esteem. So, whether an organization is trying to bring about a radical change in its culture or an educational institution seeks to imbibe solid moral values in its students, the driving force has to come from the ‘role models’ – the persons of influence in the organization who may not necessarily be the ones at the top of the organization.
The truth is that the change which we seek begins with every single one of us. We all have the power to ‘shake the world in a gentle way’ in Gandhi’s words. India needs leaders in all spheres of activity- our homes, our educational institutions, our government, our media and popular entertainment and our companies – who ‘can be the change’ and who can live the message, who have the courage to be different and who preach more through their actions than their words. Imagine the possibilities when we all come together to ask ourselves ‘What messages will I convey through my actions today?’
Go not to the temple to put flowers upon the feet of God, First fill your own house with the Fragrance of love…
Go not to the temple to light candles before the altar of God, First remove the darkness of sin from your heart…
Go not to the temple to bow down your head in prayer, First learn to bow in humility before your fellowmen…
Go not to the temple to pray on bended knees, First bend down to lift someone who is down-trodden. ..
Go not to the temple to ask for forgiveness for your sins, First forgive from your heart those who have sinned against you.
Watch this very powerful video on the impact of our actions on those around us…
Video Credit – Child Friendly Australia ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m25VjD0Uz9c)