Mahatma Gandhi : He Was Not Perfect!

“Gandhi was not a good father to his sons, he was not perfect”

I was reading this article about Gandhi recently, the man who is hailed no short of a god in India, the father of the nation, the person who played a pivotal role in our independence, the creator of the idea of non violence and so many more accolades that speak of character at every turn. I guess when a person gets that big and prominent in the society, it is natural for people to start digging more about them, worshiping them and there are a set of clever few who want to find some flaws in them. I guess this was an article in a similar fashion which talked about Gandhi as the father of our nation but a poor father for his own sons!

So what? What if he was not perfect? 

I was a little annoyed, dismayed, irritated, surprised, shocked… a lot more adjectives I can use here but you get what I am trying to say. I was not shocked about the details of the story, they might all be true, I was shocked at the message the post was trying to convey. They made sure to pick on every minor detail and seemed hell bent on proving why he was a bad father, a bad person and some may even go the extent saying that he is highly overrated. Well that’s another debate and I certainly do not want to open that can of worms today.

Who are our idols in the society? 

I was wondering about our ideals in the society, the men and women we aspire to, the divas in their own way, the ideologies of life and the people who we want to be. There seems to be an inexplicable joy in proving them wrong, in seeing that they too have made some mistakes in life. When it was Tiger Woods people talked about his affair, when it was Tendulkar it was that he was not a match winner, when it was Dravid it was that he was too slow and there have been plenty more examples like that!

Why do we need to nit pick on their flaws?

But my questions have always been why?! I mean each of these personalities have something extraordinary in them, they have been amazing people all through, the ones who have gained our respect and become our heroes. And once they are, there seems to be an obsession in making them perfect or assuming that they are perfect and any flaw or anything that is against our assumed perception goes haywire, emotions go high, people are on a flare and start fighting about the same.

So what if they are not perfect? 

So what if they are not perfect! That doesn’t make all those things they did any smaller. Gandhi fought for our freedom, just cos some theorists say that he did not do a few things properly and even if he didn’t do a few things properly, so what? He did the things that really mattered right. He made a difference. He is a man of values who stood up to everything he believed in, every moral, every righteousness that he preached, he made an effort to live that. Isn’t that sufficient for us? Why do we want to put them in a cloak of perfection and search for reasons to be disappointed.

They never said they were! 

It was not their fault that they were like that, it was ours, it was us who made those assumptions and expectations about them. They never asked us to do this. And people find it extremely easy to point fingers!


– To tell everyone else that even their ideals could be wrong?

– To find an escape route saying that Even Gandhi was wrong, why can’t I be?

– To say that it is ok to make mistakes cos even those big people did it?

– To feel comfortable in a utopian world?

They didn’t intend to be perfect either! 

Why is it actually that we need them to be perfect. They are not, and neither are you; Deal with it! They are wrong, let them be. But they were also amazing for a lot of things and that is what is important for us. Start recongnizing what you want out of people and try to emulate that instead of being stuck in an intellectual battle as to who is more wrong.

As for the answer…

As for the answer whether Gandhi was a perfect man, my straight forward answer is NO, but he certainly was an amazing man and that is an outstanding achievement to emulate and a moral to uphold ourselves too. If you don’t like his parenting skills, find a different model to emulate, there is no point in cribbing that he was wrong there.

We'd love to hear your thoughts below..

  1. Honestly, no one is perfect out here. Every person who is perfect for someone, might be wrong for some others. You cannot be right all the time for all the people around you.

    The thing which matters is how you take things and how you consider yourself as perfect. How you try to become perfect is also matters a lot.

    • True Alok, each person is perfect for someone and the same person is full of flaws for the other. You can never be right to everyone in life. And it is ok to be that, I guess if that is not being human, then what is?

  2. I dont conside Gandhi a hero at all, and dont thing he deserves to be thought about of being perfect or inperfect.. he was a politician a good one and thats all .. and politics in our nation is a dirty game ..

    although i understand what you trying to say but the only exception is taking gandhi as an example.. I am sure there are REAL heroes in our nations history who should be looked upon …

    • That’s an interesting thought Bikram. I guess heroes like our religion and beliefs are personal. And I agree that it is open for a debate that whether Gandhi was a hero to the extent he is being shown as or not. I would still love to consider him a hero for what he has done and a staunch opposer would find adequate points to prove me wrong. But I think it is a little beyond that in realizing the greatness of a man in his actions, the ideals and the thoughts he stood up for. I am sure subhash, Lala lajpat rai and a lot more had their flaws too. I think it is sometimes about finding what we are looking for in someone. Gandhi was never the perfect man, but he sure was an amazing one :). And there were several other heroes to the same extent or perhaps greater one as well.

  3. No man is perfect and no man can be. Gandhi had his own failures and weaknesses and he acknowledged them too. His greatness lay in his profound self-awareness and the vision he had for the whole of humanity.

    • True Matheikal, no one can ever be perfect and mistakes are a norm in the world. yes, I completely agree with you. His greatness was in knowing who he actually was and living up to the ideals he professed. Not many can even contemplate doing that!

  4. I agree with everything that is said in this post.why I would have written a replica of this if were to write on the subject!

  5. I think people have an inherent need to look up to one man who they think is better than them. And when they realize that this person they put on a pedestal is flesh-and-bones-and-flawed like them, they are disappointed. Expectations are higher when you’re on a pedestal. You’re allowed to do no wrong, even in your personal life. Gandhi was no exception!

    • I guess that probably explains it.. Maybe it is disappointment, maybe over expectations. But I thought wouldn’t it make it easier for people to relate to a man instead of a god? Why the tendency to make someone a god and be disappointed that he is not? Seems like a funny world sometimes!

  6. Very well written! Our aim shd b 2 find d best qualities of every person n learn from them rather than harping on bad qualities of the person.

    Life is short. We hav only so mch time 2 b our best selves. So let’s b! 😀

  7. Vinay..nice contemplative post-Nobody is perfect & I am Nobody LOL 😀 jokes apart. Charismatic versus Transformational leadership style we r talking about here. Ppl follows wen they finds inspiration or charisma in that person. Anybody can be a politician etc but it takes profound qualities to be a great leader 🙂

    • Thank you Ruchi :). I was actually fed of up the critics who kept going non stop and deriding at every opportunity possible. I kept feeling that it needed an answer and what better way than this? 🙂

  8. Nice debatable post 🙂
    Gandhiji definitely is a failure when it comes to family .. But he choose what was most important to his countrymen .. He choose INDIA above family .. When his own family doesn’t complain Y should we rant about everything?!

    Gandhiji is not GOD .. He is just a human but … a super human .. who won the war without shedding blood ..

    I read it somewhere .. he made the Indians do something which was easy for them .. Non-Cooperation and ahimsa 🙂 That was his key to success..

    Indians in general don’t tend to hurt others unnecessarily .. That’s in our nature .. That was why he could pull all of us on one track!

    • Thank you Gayathri :). Perhaps true, and I guess even the circumstances were such that it was impossible to provide focus on both things equally and the nation took precedence. True, he was a super human, the indomitable will, the courage, the attitude, the ability, the perseverance and so much more..

      That’s a really lovely read, most times we tend to forget the easiest things and that too when they get a little challenging, we even throw them away but to stay with those ideals is really something indeed 🙂

  9. Sirvplz improve urvwayvof is nlt interesting enough…plz improvre it..u deliver good ideas but atclast i find tht therecis nothing i learnt…

    • Abhimanyu if you have any ideas how please do let me know. It is very easy to say something is bad . I would love any constructive criticism if you can offer.

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