Both movement of 1968, the Vietnamese and Cuban nationalist


          Both Mahatma Gandhi and
Mao, some way or the other belonged to a well to do family, Gandhi was born in
bureaucrat family and Mao was born in a business class family yet both of them
adopted the serenity and downtrodden peasants and villagers life which
ultimately happened to be the real scenario of the then China and India.
However this was not only the lasting similarity between these two greats, but
their approach and philosophies also influenced the large span of people around
the globe. The same has been coined by Johnsons and Johnsons who mentioned in
one of his books as “Both leaders mobilized mass movements of
common people, each faced a form of western imperial and colonial rule…Each
man left lasting legacies in India and China as well as large ideological
followings around the globe. While Mao helped shape the French student movement
of 1968, the Vietnamese and Cuban nationalist movements, Mahatma Gandhi…influenced
the Martin Luther King wing of the Civil Rights movement, the Nelson Mandela
faction of the African National Congress, and peace movements around the world.
Gandhi and Mao worked out their methods of social reconstruction during the
waning days of European colonialism and the nascent development of nationalism
among the colonized people in Asia and Africa. Both leaders were challenged to
expand their nationalist movements beyond the small middle class educated elite
to the broad stream of mass support and participation. Each man sought in his
own way to infuse his respective nationalist consciousness with a revolutionary
element of personal transformation drawn from the rich traditions of China and
India, culminating in large scale social reforms”.



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          There is a radical difference between
Gandhi and Mao’s leadership skills and approach however objective being very
similar which actually paved their future in the progress of creating a
national image in their respective country. RR Diwakar one of the noted Indian
writes pens it elegantly into one of his writings as “Gandhi is eminently
fitted to be a good guide to us because he was extremely human and does not
interpose any distance between himself and us by assuming an air of superiority
or authority. He declared that what he had done, or was doing, every other
human being was equally capable of doing. That self-control is the key to the
higher and happier life was his constant refrain…This eminence he attained not
be accident or luck or good fortune but by a determined and steady effort at
self-discipline. His outer life and actions were but the reflection of his
inner struggle to hold fast to truth, to truthful living, and to achiever (sic) good ends only through good,
virtuous, nonviolent means…There is something very intimate and personal,
something very familiar and near in Gandhi’s life because it is so open and
sincere…His every word, spoken or written, is like a link in the dialogue
between his ego and his higher self”.


          Gandhi’s philosophies and approaches thrived in a highly
contrasting environment this was one of the reasons his ideologies are highly
influential across the globe and not only this he also emphasized on the  spirituality and truthfulness for a man and
to all of mankind. This is laconically penned by Diwakar as “As one reads about
the inner life of Gandhi one finds that his had been a heroic struggle against
what he thought was mean, low and below the human level. His endeavor was to
rise above the life of the senses and life (sic)
the life of the spirit…He laid the greatest store by self-purification. The
evil outside was, in his eyes, the reflection of the evil and weakness inside
oneself. The inner and the outer worlds were but the obverse and reverse of
the same coin, namely, our existence, our being. If the evil inside was to be
boxed and seized, it was equally essential for man to fight all evil outside
with as much determination and bravery…His tireless striving to remove the
sources of every kind of suffering arose out of this extreme sensitiveness to
the pain of sentient beings, of course, including him”. His deeper
understanding on spiritual improvement and empowerment was the yardstick for
mankind to embrace social beings. This was a striking approach towards creating
a social philosophy which accentuated to go beyond the synthetic obstructions
created by mankind and dwell on welfare of the society. As aphoristically
pointed by Diwakar as “Gandhi’s teaching as regards social life and its proper
organization is equally positive, constructive and practical. In fact, he
called himself a practical idealist. He did not even for a moment forget that
man is essentially a social being…Going along the path he had chalked out for
himself, he arrived at a social philosophy which could be characterized as a
synthesis between the needs, urges and aspirations of the individual and of the
society of which the individual is an inseparable and indivisible part. He
called it sarvodaya— the rise and
well-being of all. While it is the duty and accountability of society to design
for the fullest probable progress of the best in every individual, it is
equally necessary that the individual render back unto society what he, in
fact, owes to society…A society will be but an abstract concept if we do not
think in terms of the individuals who form it. An individual is equally an
abstract entity without a society to live in. Gandhi therefore gave the
greatest importance to the flowering of the individual in a properly ordered
society, and not merely to organization and systems. Gandhi understood that in
this self-effort and the path he outlined lay through ethical, moral and
spiritual disciplines”.


          The fundamental idea of Gandhi’s social philosophy was to
spread love in the every possible form of sacrifice and service to the mankind;
he was also an avid believer of personal integrities and trusteeship. With such
an indulgent approach the human being is not only a trustee of his personal
achievements but one could also urge others to follow the same path. Going
concurrently with the notion of love and sacrifice was the foundation of
Gandhi’s philosophies which was Satyagraha or Non-Violence. While Satyagraha
was the most significant ideology of Gandhi in materializing his goals because
of its serenity and uncomplicatedness and could be adopted by any human being
regardless of any cast, religion and other backgrounds. Gandhi mentioned once
as “A dharma-yuddha can be waged only
in the name of God, and it is only in the name of God, and it is only when the
satyagrahi feels quite helpless, is apparently on his last legs and finds utter
darkness all around him, that god comes to the rescue. God helps when one feels
oneself humbler than the very dust under one’s feet, only to the weak and
helpless is divine succor vouchsafed.”