|ISSUE 55 SUMMER 2007
|international day of non-violence|
- conscience in cold storage
On a visit to India Brown laid a wreath at the Gandhi memorial in Delhi, and praised the courage shown by Ghandi in the fight for India's independence, and Margaret Thatcher's struggle against communism. You get the feeling that he is missing something – you don’t have to struggle through Gandhi’s slightly unwelcoming prose to suspect that threatening nuclear annihilation was not his preferred way. No chance then that Gordon Brown is about to start bringing the troops back to Britain or scrapping Britain’s US sponsored nuclear weapons and start retraining the British military into a somewhat less armed humanitarian force. Readers may wish to enlighten him by explaining something of Gandhi’s approach.
Curiously Gandhi has been steadily climbing the popularity chart. In a millennium poll in 2000, he was voted the greatest man of the past thousand years by readers of the BBC News website. Hmmm - one has to hope that vote casters had a better understanding of what Ghandi was about than our Prime Minister.
More hopefully a recent survey of newly-appointed head teachers asked which management styles they felt to be most effective.
Gandhi, who led a campaign of non-violent civil disobedience in India against British colonial rule, typified the most popular style. In contrast, only about one in 10 heads approved of the ‘coercive leadership’ model of Winston Churchill.
Gandhi and Churchill: A Dialogue on Power