That Leadership Journey – What Do We Stand For?

I just finished reading Mahatma Gandhi’s book, “My experiments with truth”, on my Kindle. I do find some of his beliefs to be strange and quaint, but I am not here to criticise his beliefs. At least, he had the courage to live by them, even though many people thought of him as a cunning politician (which, I am sure, he was).  

He has spoken a lot of his train journeys in the third class compartments of India. I use road trips in India, and write about them, as a metaphor for life. So, let me use M K Gandhi’s experiences in the trains of India. 

He speaks about the lousy conditions of the third class compartments. He mentioned that there was a huge difference between the travelling conditions of a first class compartment and a third class one. He also compared it with Europe, where the differences are not so stark. 

M K Gandhi also spoke about the indifference of the officials. He also spoke about the attitudes of the passengers, who kept the compartments dirty, spat and shat on them, and swore loudly all the while. 

This was written about 100 years ago. When I look at Indian trains ago, while much as changed, nothing has changed in terms of attitudes. 

When I was travelling to Benares a few months back, passengers were talking about hygiene, while littering the floor.

A couple of days back, when I was taking the Metro in Delhi, a young chap – 20 years my junior and 6 inches the taller – muscled his way into the line in front of me. He was absolutely unapologetic. I comforted myself with the thought that, if I were 20 years younger, I could have taken him down despite the size difference. However, greying hair preaches caution befor valour. 

Anyhow, the point is moot. 

Nothing has changed, in that while we like to criticise leaders and leadership styles, we often take comfort in the anonymity that groups provide us, to point fingers at those who dare to stand out. 

We litter, and then complain of dirt.

We swear, and rant about our neighbours. 

Some of us wish that we were the leaders, basking in the glory of life. 

If we were to take some of our attitudes to these positions (and, India is no stranger to the scum that populate our political leadership), what attitudes and beliefs would we bring to the table?

What do we stand for? 


  1. As my most held dear and revered Human, GANDHI was a once in a lifetime gift, that we have lost.
    The world is poorer for this.
    I was so very fortunate to find, in a tiny used book store in Santa Monica, many years ago, a very, very old copy of that very same book. It is a paper back with a mint green cover.
    I read it, actually devoured it, and it now is safely kept in a zip lock bag for protection.
    The purchase price was less than one dollar, it is priceless to me.
    Please come, if you have the time, to see my feeble attempt to Honor him:
    Please feel free to erase this link.

  2. The more our world changes, the more it remains the same old same old. In the America, we stand for distraction. Special effects and mindless drivel.

      1. Sadly, yeah.. Americans possess the power of TV, and much of this stuff is spreading through the world, slowly changing world culture

  3. Rajiv, great post and valid questions. If anything things have gone downhill in those hundred years. We have lost what little value systems we began with. Gandhi would be aghast! I often think we deserve what we have. The politicians, the dirt, the lot, Until we make the effort to change. Collectively.

  4. Spot on! We are so hypocritical in our complaining. The one that I see a lot lately is people expecting something for nothing and then complaining about freeloaders.

  5. Reblogged this on lovehappinessandpeace and commented:
    I am Sure my Friend Rajiv will forgive me when I write this ‘Long’ Introduction before Reblogging his Well Written post.

    My Father was entitled to travel First class, and I remember the ‘Space’ that was available in that kind of travel. The ‘Third’ class ‘Looked,’ and Was Crowded, and was little different from today’s Second class, which are different Only in that these have Cushioned seats.

    Before I come to our mindset, I would say that Our situation has Not changed Much. The Overcrowded Trains and Buses make Travel a Nightmare, unless You are fortunate enough to have a ‘Reservation.’ But I think of the majority of Our Countrymen.

    Now the Mindset:

    MANKIND’S MINDEST IS NO DIFFERENT FROM WHAT IT WAS WHEN the ARYANS invaded India; from the time of the ROMAN empire, When India had KINGS, to Whatnot. …The Rich and the Well to do, or the Powerful like the 6 inch taller young man, remained in their comfort, and cared Exactly Two Jots about Others.

    Does the Mindset have to Change?

    A One word Answer: YES.

    A One word Question Now: HOW (to bring this about?).

    The Answer to this will fill Encyclopaedias. But in Short I would say that WE ALL HAVE TO KEEP PUSHING FOR IT. ALL OF US. AND IT IS NOT A PART TIME JOB.


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