What are you doing at this very moment? Unheard Leadership Lessons from Gandhi




In the year 1942, the British Raj was in India. The place: Tanjore; the occasion: Gandhi’s speech. Meeting time: 4.30 p.m.

A huge crowd, braving the blazing heat, had gathered to see and hear Gandhi talk. Here was a 6-year-old boy wearing khaki trousers and a white shirt, who sat right in front, more curious to see this frail old man than to listen to him.

Gandhi was sitting on an elated platform wearing a white cotton loincloth that barely covered his body. He sat there with a calm demeanor, waiting to give his message of a non-violent freedom movement. The meeting did not start till 5.00 pm. A restless Gandhi enquired about the delay. The organizer replied, "Our usual practice is to start about 45 minutes late and, jokingly added, sir, and 4.30 pm IST is Indian Stretchable Time."

An angry Gandhi asked him, "Are you an Indian? The stunned organizer replied, "Of course, Sir, I’m an Indian."

Gandhi’s next statement rattled the organizer: "You must be ashamed of calling yourself an Indian." When we Indians don't respect our own time, how do you expect the British to respect us?

The Mahatma’s message was not drowned in the noise of the crowd. It had a huge and life-changing impact on the young boy sitting right in front. This life-changing message about the value of time had a lasting impact on this young boy, now an 83-year-old scientist, Dr. Ram Jayaraman

Gandhi was not just a brilliant orator, a passionate freedom fighter, and a compassionate human being; he was a leader who lived a disciplined life and valued his time. He knew that his time on Earth was limited and he had a purpose and a mission to achieve.

In the words of the scientist Dr. Ram Jayaraman, "Kadri, from 1942 till today I have never, ever been late, even on a single occasion."

My dear friends, ask yourself- have you been at the receiving end of a situation where you had to wait for hours? It must have felt painstakingly irritating. Even worse—have you been the reason to make someone wait?

Ask yourself: What is your purpose and mission in life? Do you have enough time to achieve your dreams? Are you wasting your time drooling over social media or other trivia, which is draining your time and resources?

It is time to realize that our time on this planet is limited, limited to maybe a few years, maybe a few days, or even just a few minutes. Not even Gandhi knew when he would die. It was quick, sudden, and unexpected.

"There are two days in the year when we can't do anything: yesterday and tomorrow," Mahatma said. Yesterday has gone, and tomorrow may not come, but what we have is today. In reality, what we really have is this moment.

Ask yourself: What are you doing at this moment?

Ask yourself every moment: What are you doing at this moment?

Are you progressing or regressing?



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