A few minutes ago I finished watching the beautiful movie GANDHI starring Ben Kinsley. It is a powerful film and left me feeling drained. So many thoughts can be absorbed from this production, but the most impressive message is what one person can do if they are willing to give their life to a cause. One man, living in poverty, brought down an empire. He didn't have an army, he didn't have wealth, he didn't use theatrics or Karl Rove type tactics. He first studied the need and then went about finding a way to change the situation. His message of non-violence was so powerful that his followers were able to place themselves in harms way and even though being severly beaten, go against their natural instinct and restrain themselves from hitting back.
One of his 'fasts' occurred because he believed it was the only way to stop the violence between the Muslims and the Hindus. He was close to death before his sacrifice turned the trick and the fighting stopped. So the second thing I took away from the movie was that violence can be ended without more violence. Two natural enemies were halted from destroying each other by their admiration for one man.
Talking to one's enemies is so much more productive than going to war. Diplomacy does work if it is done with intelligent planning. A strong leader can sway the mob and turn violence into peace. The world needs that kind of leader now.
The third thing I took away from the movie was the loyalty of this man's followers. Gandhi was so firm in the right way to accomplish his goals that those who disagreed with him ended up believing in his wisdom. There was a messianic quality in their love of him. To a degree, I have witnessed this kind of loyalty in Obama's admirers.
Throughout history there have been leaders who emerged in a time of turmoil and were able to inspire a nation. Two men who were strong when needed were Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt. While they were strong leaders in disastrous times, they were in a different category than Gandhi. I think Mother Teresa may be the only person I can think of who in my lifetime sacrificed everything for a cause, as did Gandhi.
And lastly, the movie was enjoyable because it was filmed in India and I felt like I was taking a tour of a country I will never see. I highly recommend this movie. It is inspirational.