Whether Gandhi was there or not, India would have won freedom in 1947 because Britain was setting all its colonies free following the Second World War. Even if Nelson Mandela was not there Apartheid would have been abolished in South Africa in the 1990s and indeed it is possible that if George Washington was not there, the United States would still have won independence in 1776. But therein lies the most important part. It is not that one event which defined those countries but numerous actions and inactions which happened since then. Indeed Gandhi may or may not have set the country free but his philosophy of non violence defines India. Nelson Mandela bought tolerance into a country where it did not seem possible that people of different colors could live together. George Washington was offered unlimited power to rule a country which had the potential to be the richest in the World and he turned it down. It is very important to understand what a monumental decision that was. Fidel Castro got power in a small island and hung to it till absolutely close to death. Stalin, Polpot, Idi Amin, This is a long list covered in blood. These people who at least for a time were heroes for their country and then the lust of power took them over. Indeed it is not our ability what defines us, it is our choices.
George Washington w
George Washington was a man, even in his lifetime, was considered a figure larger than life, and indeed he was credited with supernatural abilities like it was said of him that that bullets could not hit him. There was an aura of invincibility around him. Indeed lot of the legends were most likely made, like the Cherry tree episode which never happened. As a Soldier he was capable of rashness and poor judgment, he was addicted to gambling, indulged in a good deal of wrenching and was said to be a most horrid swearer2. Was this person who would be the commander in chief for the continental army Let us look at the events of the revolutionary war. When the war began, the British Colonists ("Americans") did not have a professional army or navy. Each colony provided for its own defenses through the use of local militia. Militiamen were lightly armed, slightly trained, and usually did not have uniforms. Their units served for only a few weeks or months at a time, were reluctant to go very far from home, and were thus generally unavailable for extended operations. Militia lacked the training and discipline of regular soldiers3. Each colony was its own little country and fiercely independent. To get them together to be one fighting force was a monumental task; But George Washington was able to do that. The Reason was very simple, everybody trusted him and everybody respected him and indeed he himself was very conscious of the responsibility which came with his character. The second reason why he was able to forge a successful army was his adaptability. While his background was of a professional soldier with single minded professional discipline, here he had to deal with a rag tag mixed outfit of varying loyalties and ambitions. George Washington combined all of that because he realized that all of it, the Militias, the army could be one fighting force without necessarily losing their individual identity. This was not easy, and indeed battles were lost because some commanders would not take George Washington as their leader,