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"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."

by Elisa from Villeurbanne, France

Who has never imagined that he could be a role model for the whole world? I think that it is a dream, a desire of every human being to leave a legacy for humanity. By choosing a hero, you have the opportunity to not only realize something indirectly, but above all, to share your opinions, even if you have never met your hero. A hero allows you to express an ideal either because of his physical appearance, his talent or his influence in the world.

I think it is difficult to say that people will have only one hero in their lifetime because, in time, they may change their mind and notice that what this person embodies is no longer what is the most important to them. So, I would like to present my ďcurrent hero,Ē Mahatma Gandhi.

"Whenever you are confronted
with an opponent,
conquer him with love."

I donít really remember how I discovered him. At first, I was very intrigued by him because I couldnít imagine how he managed to obtain the independence of India using non-violence, while a lot of other countries resorted to war. That is why I read articles about him.

By reading his biography and comparing it to the social situation nowadays, I realized that his speech still has its place. For example, he fought against discrimination, but always on legal grounds. Indeed, he studied in England and became a lawyer. To achieve India's independence, Gandhi knew that he would not manage it with violence, so he decided to educate Indians to help them become better citizens. Here we can see that he is a man with convictions and that, in spite of his social rank and his several journeys abroad, Gandhi never forgot his country and gave the population the benefit of his knowledge. That is why I find him brave and persevering, which are important qualities.

Gandhi was a supporter of non-violence. He knew that Indians werenít as strong as the British armies. If they wanted to get their independence, they would have to show the English people that they didnít need them. Gandhi's most significant success came in 1930 when he challenged the British government by saying that he would personally defy the Salt Tax if it was not rescinded within the following ten days. This action showed how he felt involved. From that day on, he became a real icon because he brought people together from very different social ranks.

I admire Gandhi for all that he did and the risks that he took. He was jailed many times. He was also a precursor when he defended womenís rights, and it is mainly thanks to him that women have an important social and political role in India. The only thing that he didnít manage to avoid is the civil war between Muslims in Pakistan and Hindus in India. Can non-violence prevent the world from religious wars? I donít really know, but it is an alternative to armies. Many world leaders, including Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela, have successfully employed Gandhi's technique of non-violence to achieve extraordinary success in their own political struggles. That is why I can say that Gandhi is not only a real role model for me, but for the world.

Written by Elisa from Villeurbanne, France
Photos courtesy of www1.fctv.ne.jp/ ~masala/mahatma.html, www.bhagavad-gita.org
Images created by www.windchimewalker.net/ -webpages/wordart2.
Last changed on: 5/26/2016 3:35:15 PM

M.K. Gandhi Institute For Nonviolence is a nonprofit that works to realize the vision of its historic namesake by helping individuals and communities create public awareness of nonviolence as knowledge critical to human thriving.

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