Jawarhalal Nehru's Testimonial to Gandhi

"This little man of poor physique had something of steel in him, something rock like which did not yield to physical powers, however great they might be. And in spite of his unimpressive features, his loincloth and bare body, there was a royalty and a kingliness in him which compelled a willing obeisance from others. Consciously and deliberately meek and humble, yet he was full of power and authority, and he knew it, and at times he was imperious enough, issuing commands which had to be obeyed. His calm, deep eyes would hold one and gently probe into the depths; his voice, clear and limpid, would purr its way into the heart and evoke an emotional response.  Whether his audience consisted of one person or 1000, the charm and magnetism of the man passed onto it, and each one had a feeling of communion with the speaker. This feeling had little to do with the mind, though the appeal to the mind was not wholly ignored. But mind and reason definitely had second place.

"This process of 'spellbinding' was not brought about by oratory or the hypnotism of silken phrases. The language was always simple and to the point and seldom was an unnecessary word used. It was the utter sincerity of the man and his personality that gripped; he gave the impression of tremendous inner reserves of power. And one of the most remarkable things about Gandhiji was his capacity to win over, or at least to disarm, his opponents.

"In his own way he had discovered the art of living and had made of his life an artistic whole. Every gesture had meaning and grace, without a false touch. There were no rough edges or sharp corners about him, no trace of vulgarity. Having found an inner peace, he radiated it to others and marched through life's tortuous ways with firm and undaunted step.

"Gandhiji had pleaded for the adoption of the way of nonviolence, with all the eloquence and persuasive power which he so abundantly possessed. His language had been simple and unadorned, his voice and appearance cool and clear and devoid of all emotion, but behind that outward covering of ice there was the heat of a blazing fire and concentrated passion, and the words he uttered winged their way to the innermost recesses of our minds and hearts, and created a strange ferment there. The way he pointed out was hard and difficult, but it was a brave path, and it seemed to lead to the promised land of freedom.

"Courage is the one sure foundation of character, he had said, without courage there is no morality, no religion, no love. 'One cannot follow truth or love so long as one is subject to fear.'"

By Jewarhalal Nehru (1889-1964)
From: The Spirit of India