Day 25: Orwell’s “Reflections on Gandhi”

If I ruled the world, I’d have every person who aspires to be a writer, politician or any kind of thought leader  read this essay at least once a year. It should be posted on the walls of all newsrooms and magazine offices. In this piece, Orwell models clarity, honesty, and humility while performing what for many is an impossible task: He takes the measure of a man who in many ways is his polar opposite and gives this complicated man his due. Rather than begin with some cheap political agenda that must be served, Orwell sets out to evaluate Gandhi in his own terms.

Here you find none of the thundering, blustering certainty that makes most political discourse today unbearable; instead, you see a great writer trying to follow the truth wherever it seems to lead. Key quote:

His character was an extraordinarily mixed one, but there 
was almost nothing in it that you can put your finger on and call bad, 
and I believe that even Gandhi’s worst enemies would admit that he was an 
interesting and unusual man who enriched the world simply by being alive. 
Whether he was also a lovable man, and whether his teachings can have 
much for those who do not accept the religious beliefs on which they are 
founded, I have never felt fully certain. 

The full text of this great essay is here.


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