Go through academic routine with a smile

Leadership Qualities and Challenges in Gandhi Film

The film “Gandhi” portrays the life of an Indian leader Gandhi, who is known for non-violent movement for the deliberation of the state of India from British colonials. The film traces the involvement of Gandhi in the socio-political changes that took place in India and South Africa during the British colonial rule. The accent is made on such Gandhi’s traces of character as tenacity, resilience and sensitivity which helped the leader to inspire and motivate his followers. At the same time, the movie shows the challenges the great leader has faced while attempting to create a more equal society.

Leadership Qualities

The first trait of a leader that Gandhi portrays is the voluntary subordination. This is what enabled Gandhi to voluntarily abandon his personal interests for the sake of other people, thus qualifying as a servant leader. In most cases, leaders are fond of identifying a source of power so that they can be elevated above those whom they lead but for Gandhi, who associates himself with the people he tries to lead (Govinden, 2017). He was a symbol of service and not power which is shown through his voluntary subordination and his act of service. Unfortunately, this quality was not appreciated by the individuals that he led. For example, nobody comes to see Gandhi off when he departs from South Africa where he has been teaching English to the Indian children without pay. The parents could not appreciate his efforts to help their kids.

General Dyer, another significant leader in this movie, is endowed with such a trait as accountability. This is shown through his willingness to offer rights to only few and trusted people and seek their opinions on issues that might require solutions. Thus, the general delegated duties to some juniors within the protestors whom he trusted (Govinden, 2017). In fact, accountability is a distinctive feature of many characters of the film to an extent that one may think that it is Gandhi who instills this trait in all those he interacts with in the course of his leadership. However, sometimes General Dyer doesn’t get support from all those that he works with. Some people oppose him as they think he is a bossy leader.

Lastly, the leadership quality of interconnectedness has been portrayed by such characters as Gandhi and Mirabehn. This is the power of one to align himself to the rest of the world which raises the man as a personality above others. This is what increases the leader’s faith and confidence in whatever he does that it would be successful in the long run. When Gandhi finally sets off for his Indian home, world war starts thus, he has to stay in Germany and to work there. His work in Germany was appreciated which means that he was open for cooperation and that is why, in any environment, he fitted well and offered leadership in the end of his stay in a place. This was so whether he was being motivated to lead or not.

Challenges Faced by Gandhi and their Possible Solutions

In the opening scenes of the film, Gandhi faces prejudice based on his color of skin and race. This makes him to be perceived as the one who is not able to afford the first class train. His refusal to be transferred to the third class irritates the attendants and they throw Gandhi out. His ability to contain himself during the conflict on the train shows that his leadership skills are mature. In this situation Gandhi shows that he does not believe in violence and hence cannot use it to solve an issue when it arises. The leader attempts to solve the conflict with the help of a dialogue trying to persuade those who were practicing racism to stop and instead treat people fairly. Unfortunately, he failed to prove that he has the right to be in the first class of the (Dave?, 2013). Such frustrations made him try to inspire equality, so that there could be an end to racial segregation.

Another challenge he faced is frequent jailing due to his attempts to bring equality within the society in which he lived. A brutal mass murder of the Indian protestors called for harsh resistance of Gandhi’s followers but the leader felt that he has to contain himself for some time. This shows that Gandhi was a patient leader, a quality that is still seen in many leaders when police are gunning down women and children in India (Govinden, 2017). He followed a channel to resolve this situation rightly with the leaders. However, it would have been possible to react to mass murder by fighting with the British colonialists so that they would respect their local Indian subjects.

Additionally, clothing seemed to be an issue and a challenge to Gandhi. His style of dressing and the kind of clothes he was wearing were of high value to him but of no value to the British colonialists. This raised prejudice and this is the reason he faced rejection and hostility, especially at times when he had to meet the representatives of the western civilization (Dave?, 2013). This actually proves that Gandhi was not materialistic and was concerned with clothing only in terms of creating distinction. He cared less about dress code, especially when it was to show off. However, Gandhi could have moved closer to the British people and adopt their dressing code and style so that he could attain some sense of belonging, especially at times when he worked side-by-side with them. This might have been the only way for Gandhi to be accepted by the representatives of the western society.

However, Gandhi is not the only character of the film who meets dress code challenges. Miss Slade faces objection from her family which is of British origin when she defies their mode of dressing and instead wraps herself like the local Indians. The young lady wants to resist her British origin and culture choosing to wear Indian clothes (Govinden, 2017). Miss Slade could have been more successful in her attempts to influence the family if she had talked to them pointing out the importance of valuing clothing traditions of another nation. This could have influenced the family members and they might have wanted to even change their own dressing code.

Gandhi’s followers were denied of the right to operate within their jurisdiction in India. They reacted by not insisting on the continuation of their protests and this was actually the best way they could have quenched the heat that was growing. Otherwise, the protests would have led to a greater violence and deaths (Govinden, 2017). Sometimes, peaceful protests are not the only means of fighting for equal rights. Gandhi’s followers might have arranged working strikes which would result to financial losses for the representatives of the western civilisation.


Gandhi’s leadership qualities and ideals depicted in the film show that he practiced servant leadership which raised resistance to all his moves. His non-conflict way of resolving problems made him face challenges in terms of mistrust of his followers and disrespect of his opponents. At the same time, Gandhi’s connections with people in various parts of the world have facilitated his leadership. Therefore, it has been portrayed that for him to reach where he reached, several hurdles had to be left behind move some levels. This has been seen through the many struggles that Gandhi had to make in ensuring that things go right in the course of his leadership.


Dave?, S. (2013). Indian accents: Brown voice and racial performance in American television and film. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press.

Govinden, B. (2017). Gandhi – of the earth, earthy: A critical view of Gandhi in South Africa. English Academy Review, 34(1), 71-84. doi:10.1080/10131752.2017.1333227