Mahathma Gandhi is one of my childhood heroes. One of the first non-fiction books I read was his autobiography "sathya sothanai" - The story of my experiences with truth! Things we read as children usually have a profound impact for the rest of our lives and this is a book which helped me in crafting my values and beliefs. His experiences and lessons show clearly how he was a usual human being who did unusual things due to his will power, vision and truthfulness.
Some of the things that fascinated me was his simplicity, honesty, non-violence and not trying to portray himself as a god or godmen instead accepting him of being a human being who did commit mistakes. As a child when I faced a lot of criticism and sarcasm for being a vegetarian, his life and book was a great source of inspiration for me to hold on to that as a value. When people pulled my leg on this topic, I used to think - "ah even the great Mahathma faced it!". Another lesson that I learnt from his book was "A reformer cannot afford to have close intimacy with him whom he seeks to reform" and how an attachment of a bad cell could lead you to bad! If you had not read his autobiography try to at least read the chapter and the following one click here to read it
With all respects to the great man, I cannot stop thinking how it would have been if he had lived in this era of youtube, 24X7 news channels, social networking sites and dedicated professional gossip mongering services. For the type of controversies he had and faced they would have duped him "Disgraced Indian politician" , his stenographer who resigned over "the" controversy would have been enticed to sell the story to a tabloid for a fortune. Then to add insult to injury he would have to stand the facebook trials, which gives the opportunity for every Tom, Dick and Harry to exhibit their ignorance on a public stage! Thank god the great man didn't have to face all the above and get caught to the modern media which is at all times starved for stories and in need of a scoop to fill their air time with a sensationalized news item to get their ratings up! I feel he was lucky, so that he was ahead of time and deservingly would always be fondly and respectfully referred as Mahatma and for nothing else!