Mahatma Gandhi’s Most Important Teaching For An Entrepreneur: Patience
If patience is worth anything, it must endure to the end of time. And a living faith will last in the midst of the blackest storm.
– Mahatma Gandhi
Since 1835, Britishers had imposed a weird ‘Salt Tax’ on Indians; according to which anyone who made salt need to pay a heavy tax if he wishes to sell it inside India. Obviously such a mechanism was implied by the English rulers so that the English tradesmen gain advantage over Indian tradesmen. Protests and demonstrations were happening ever since this tax was introduced, but not substantial output was achieved.
During the first half of 1930, Mahatma Gandhi had become a true, great leader of India. Millions of Indians regarded Mahatma as the ‘Bapu’ or Father, and followed his rallies and hunger strikes with complete zeal. India had a leader who could have commanded a million men to war, and no one would have said no. He was aware of the ridiculous salt tax, and he wanted a drastic change.
In this situation, Mahatma Gandhi did something which was never heard of, or expected during those times: he chose patience and non-violence.
The world was stunned when Mahatma Gandhi, along with thousands of his hardcore followers initiated a long walk of 390 kms from Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad to Dandi, a small village near Navsari which took 24 days to reach by foot. Famously known as the Dandi March or the Salt March, this literally changed the history for India.
Britishers were too shocked to react; after all how can you defeat a non-violent person, who has decided to walk 400 odd kms to abolish an archaic law? They waited, and this wait proved too costly for them. This salt march triggered the Civil Disobedience Movement, which is considered the biggest organized challenge to the British authority in the last 100 years. This sparked a new wave of resistance and demand for change which eventually led to the ‘Purna Swaraj’ demand, which paved the way for Independence of India.
The salt march is not popular for salt, as the Britishers didn’t remove the tax. This patient, non-violent way of protest actually ignited souls; it forced the world to watch India, and condemn Britishers. Historians have argued that Salt March was like a catalyst which ignited a million sparks all across India. More than 80,000 people were arrested and millions of people joined the freedom movement for the first time.
Mahatma Gandhi is an amazing example of leadership, personified with qualities which were unimaginable at that time. Among them, Patience, is the greatest lesson which an entrepreneur can extract from Bapu’s extraordinary story of freedom struggle. It is this patience which helped him overcome monstrous problems with an ease which is hard to even imagine. It was patience which actually made the mighty Britishers helpless against a person who was clad in a cotton cloth and mostly semi-naked. The very foundations of the British kingdom shook every time Mahatma Gandhi announced a new fast or a new rally, all without violence and without hurry.
On this October 2nd, which is celebrated as Gandhi Jayanti all over the world, may the virtue of patience and non-violence sweep across the Earth, and may this world be a better place.