An influential figure is basically a role model for a person to follow. Most
people I know cite their parents or well known political leaders or successful
business persons as influencing their perception of life. As for me, the most
influential person in my life is a historical figure and he died many decades
ago. The person is Mahatma Gandhi.
Born as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi into a
strict vegetarian Brahmin family, Mr Gandhi has always been my role model
despite the vast generation gap between us. Mr Gandhi's passion and commitment
to uplift the conditions of the poor in India as well as heal the animosity
between the Muslims and Hindus in India are highly commendable. In fact, there
are no words to describe his achievements, except he was a great man. Thus, the
Indians gave him the title "Mahatma" which means Great.
Mr Gandhi was very
passionate about the ethical treatment of animals. He abhorred the killing of
animals for food. According to him, a person's morality can be measured by his
or her treatment of animals. Thus, I became a vegetarian at a young age despite
parental objection. I fervently believed in his compassion for animals and like
him I believe we can be called truly moral only if we learn to respect another
As a firm believer of non-violence, Mr Gandhi was upset with the
hardships and discriminations faced by the Indians under British colonial rule.
The people were treated like slaves and the British were not committed to
bringing the Muslims and Hindus together. In fact, Mr Gandhi sacrificed his life
for that. A radical Hindu nationalist gunned him down because of his unhappiness
towards Mr Gandhi's compassion for Muslims. like Mr Gandhi, I believe that as
human beings we must have shared ideals and religion should not be a barrier for
unity. Thus, I joined the Multicultural and Multi religious Society in my school
in which I am the secretary. We regularly hold programs that would bring
students from different race and religion to participate in the activities and
learn from each other.
I would say Mr Gandhi has been very instrumental in my
success now as the secretary of the Non-Violence Association. Though the post is
only at the state level, I am proud of my achievements as I am still relatively
young. The president of the society had approached me one day and offered me the
post. He found out about my active involvement in societies at schools as well
as the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Mr Gandhi was a small and
rather fragile looking person. one can be deceived by his appearance as being
weak and uninspiring. However, beneath that appearance, he is a firebrand. As a
qualified and trained lawyer, Mr Gandhi even fought for the rights of the
colored and African people in South Africa during the Apartheid period. He was
jailed for his outspoken views that all of us are equals, no matter our color,
race or religion.
I do not think that Mr Gandhi had any weaknesses. Of course
as a human being, he would have his own flaws but his impressive personality
traits far outnumber and supercede his weaknesses.
I would like to emulate Mr
Gandhi and pursue a law degree and later specilize in human rights law. That
would give me the necessary qualifications to join a non-governmental
organization to fight for the rights of the down trodden and the discriminated.