Leaders are Human Beings Too

Gandhi, my Father

Today I saw the film ‘Gandhi, My Father’ and I was deeply touched by the guilt and struggle Mahatma Gandhi went through due to his son Harilal. The irony of his life was that he is called “Father of the Nation” on one hand and on the other hand he could not be a good father to his first and own son (or rather circumstances did not let him be.) He could transform the soul of a nation but could not save the soul of his own son.

The film beautifully portrays intensely personal story of a father struggling to resolve the destinies of his country and that of his son. While Kasturba remains caught between the traditional unquestionable loyalty of a Hindu wife to her husband and her love for her son, the grudging attitude of Harilal and the guilt of Gandhi are moving.

I find many youth have an anti Gandhi attitude. I feel it all depends upon how we judge people, If we put someone at par with God and put him on a pedestal, we will soon feel he did not meet our expectations of idealism but if we just remember that the person at the end of the day is another human being (a better human being may be) we will have practical standards of judging people and appreciate our heroes like Gandhi. The fault lies more in the eyes of the beholder than the hero.

But it is human nature to put our leaders and heroes on a pedestal. It is a painful experience when they fall from the pedestal and fail to meet our expectations. When we come to know that Nehru probably had an affair with Lady Mountbatten, Gandhi was a not so successful father (at least to his elder son), Lord Krishna was a flirt, Lord Buddha left his wife in the middle of the night, Sages like Vishwamitra were distracted by Menaka (a dancer), Lord Rama (human incarnation of Hindu God Vishnu) believed a washerman and asked wife Sita to prove her purity by jumping into fire and so on, we feel shattered. Our leaders have to set standards and standards should be as high as possible but we need to remember humans are vulnerable and prone to failure.

I think while leaders should set high standards for themselves we as followers should be more realistic in setting our expectations. Gandhi took alcohol, had non vegetarian food, even beat up his wife once, but he did move towards sainthood as life progressed, suffered a lot in his battle for principles and made lot of sacrifices to contribute to Indian independence.


Brief Profile  

Dr Amit Nagpal is Chief Inspirational Storyteller at AL Services. He is a Social Media Influencer,  Author, Speaker/Trainer and Coach. To know more, visit www.dramitnagpal.com. (His special interest and expertise lies in inspirational storytelling, anecdotes and visual storytelling)

AL Services offers content development/story writing, consulting, training and other services in the area of brand storytelling. To know more, write to amit@dramitnagpal.com


  1. I agree that dislike for Gandhi is growing in India. I think the essence of Gandhi's thoughts was the empowerment of the weakest person. To use a cliche, Gandhi is as relevant today as he was in his times. Although we are growing at 8.5%, we are far away from giving a dignified life to the weakest person.

  2. Many people blame Gandhi and Nehru for being weak and allowing the partition of Pakistan. People also believe that agression works better today than non-violent means.

    Life is all about cycles. Gandhi would be back as a hero one day.


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