India observes the birth of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on 2nd October every year. The last century and a half have seen the man became a Mahatma and even something much larger. Today though, the world, even beyond India, is tilted towards a “me-first” version of muscular self-identification far removed from virtues like “Seva” and “Ahimsa”. So, what is his relevance to us now?
The answer, as always, lies in the design. The Mahatma had a clear picture of what was “right” and he communicated this sense to millions by making his life a living example. The people saw his extreme frugality, his capacity to endure, and his taking of the righteous path even if it was more difficult, and were driven to follow suit, even if this meant going beyond themselves. There was no ambiguity in his message, no gray areas, no compromise, and no scope for rationalization. At the heart of his message was simplicity and truth – and this is what inspired people.
It is that core that is relevant even today. People (and brands) are drowning in noise and extremely distracted. Conflicting messages and “alternative facts” add to this entropy. The Mahatma would probably advise switching off the distraction, switching on your inner moral compass, and focusing on what you know inside to be good and true – and that’s inspirational.