There Once Was a Man

The Father of India was a flunky in his youth. He failed in his studies, was a coward amongst his peers, a loner in social settings, and was so afraid to face the world. Mahatma Gandhi had serious insecurity issues that he rarely spoke in fear of being ridiculed. At 13, he married and was miserable. His low self esteem was the source of many jealous outbursts. He never took part in activities because he failed at all of them. Nobody would have ever believed this youngster would grow up to lead a nation. Nobody.

In high school, Gandhi felt left out. He struggled to stay afloat but failed time and again. When he finally passed as the oldest in his class, he went on to college to study medicine. After just 5 months, he was forced to quit because he wasn’t pulling the grades. Whatever confidence Gandhi had left in himself, quickly evaporated. He was an embarrassment to his middle class family where reputation and bragging rights were everything.

To get their son out of India, they pooled their resources together, borrowed money, and sent him to a school in the UK to practice law. Gandhi was happy to move away from his disappointing past and embraced his chance for a new life with fire. Yet when he arrived to the cold country with his eastern style of attire and quirky accent, he found himself isolated again. But this time, he tried hard to excel and took on activities with extreme passion. His efforts were sadly short-lived as he failed in all he strived to do. On top of that, he was running out of money. He knew he was going to be an even greater embarrassment than before.

To save his parent’s hard received funds, Gandhi moved into a tiny room of a small flat instead of his usual bunk at a hotel. He replaced costly meats from his diet with vegetables and grains. He walked long distances instead of using cabs and buses. These habits that came about in his shift in lifestyle have become staples in his lessons of health and simple living today.

After a serious struggle, Gandhi finally finished law school with blistering grades. When he returned to India to begin working as a lawyer, he failed at finding clients for he was poorly versed in Indian law. And when his family arranged for him to take a case, Gandhi was stricken with severe stage fright; he hid from the judge by abandoning the courtroom abruptly. It was a disgraceful debut and Gandhi had finally confirmed to his city and family of the coward he really was.

His failures led him to take a clerical job in South Africa with his brother and so he went and left his wife and two sons behind. The job proved to be too tough for Gandhi to manage. He had poor accounting skills and any matter which commanded a detailed legal analysis was too overwhelming for him to handle. In addition, he felt segregation all over again. After a short stint, Gandhi was ready to bail out of Africa as a flop, until something happened to him.

While riding a passenger train in Africa, he was asked to leave his upper class compartment even though he had a ticket. After he repeatedly refused to move, he was thrown off. At the next station, Gandhi had a revelation, an epiphany. All his life he was isolated from the rest. All his life he scrambled away from situations that required thinking and action out in the open. At this point in his life, he was angry. He was tired of being bullied, disrespected and ridiculed. And since he was finally ready to stand up for himself, why not stand up for others like him, Indians in Africa, Indians of his nation?

Gandhi returned to his job and took a fragile legal case that yielded him a favorable impression. He studied its details inside out. He convinced both parties to settle out of court and his handling of the delicate situation earned him more clients. His conviction of himself had finally paid off. The Indian community in Africa pleaded with Gandhi to stay to take on an even greater case for their rights in an alien country. Gandhi took the case and tackled it with shrewd genius. He saw his passion for sticking up for people grow and blossom into the hallmark of his very essence. In no time, Gandhi was soaked in politics for his people as he stood up against the British and brought harmony amongst people of different classes, religions, and nationalities for a peaceful co-existence. He proved that any person can change from within in pursuit of what is right.

Everybody is born with the ability to instigate change. If it were not for that instance on the train, Gandhi may have never realized his destiny until later in life – yet eventually. If it were not for his episodes of experiencing isolation on all levels, he may have never been able to relate to classes and religions divided. If he had never been bullied, he may have never found a reason to stand up for himself or sympathize with the struggle of others. His experiences had turned him into the light he was meant to be and we all have our own divine timing that can spark us to act at any age depending on our breadth of experience and level of passion. To be a warrior of light, you must have passion and true dedication to your ultimate cause. The story of Gandhi should ring tones of familiarity to everyone, for we have all experienced some degree of ridicule, prejudice, failure, or injustice of some kind. Some people have their true passions ignited and come to acknowledge their reason for existence at differing points of their lives. It is part of our personal evolution. To become the lights we were meant to become.

-By Suzy Kassem aka Blue Panther