Consequently, we often draw the wrong lessons from Gandhi’s story. The real magic of the Mahatma was not a trick of popular charisma, but in fact a deft ability to recruit, manage, and inspire a team of talented individuals who worked tirelessly in his service. Gandhi himself was one of the few people to recognize how this phenomenon worked. “With each day I realize more and more that my mahatmaship, which is a mere adornment, depends on others. I have shone with the glory borrowed from my innumerable co-workers,” he wrote in 1928 in Navajivan.
In our imaginations, the great Gandhi is a lone ranger, staging fasts and protests all on the strength of his own character and charisma. But that picture is completely wrong, says Ian Desai. Actually, Gandhi relied heavily on a large network and small devoted community of other people. Who’s in your network? Who makes up your community?