After leaving for law school in London at age 18, when Mohandas K. Gandhi finally returned to India in 1915 he was 45. Despite his prolonged initial absence, the deeply spiritual Gandhi quickly rose to become one of the most influential figures in India's history. In fact, for a man who possessed little more than a loincloth and glasses to defeat what at the time was the greatest empire on Earth, without so much as throwing a stone, we might well look to Mahatma Gandhi as the most brilliant strategist and transformational leader that ever lived. In 1999, TIME magazine credited Gandhi as runner-up to Albert Einstein for “Person of the Century.” But Einstein himself said, “Mahatma Gandhi's life achievement stands unique in political history. He has invented a completely new and humane means for the liberation war of an oppressed country...We may all be happy and grateful that destiny gifted us with such an enlightened contemporary, a role model for the generations to come....[who] will scarce believe that such a one as this walked the earth in flesh and blood.” Today, known as “The Father of India” and “The Apostle of Non-violence,” Mahatma Gandhi is a global icon. In this episode of Classic Influence, we’ll travel back to India in 1915 and discover how Gandhi built an unbreakable charismatic bond with his followers and, in the process, forged the foundation of his influence in India, Great Britain and beyond.
On Christmas Day in 1119 A.D., countless prayers were finally answered when a French knight known as Hugh of Payns banded together with 8 other knights in a brotherhood of highly skilled religious warriors. The nine knights all took “vows of poverty, chastity and obedience” and pledged themselves to protect the Christian pilgrims who were traveling on the roads to Jerusalem. Operating as a sort of elite special forces of the Middle Ages, the exceptionally disciplined and well-trained military order was unlike any religious order that had come before. In this episode of Classic Influence, we’ll travel back to the Holy Lands during the Crusades to explore the key factors that led to the surprisingly rapid rise of the Knights Templar, the most formidable military order in the history of the world. This episode also reveals the one central factor that best explains the Templars’ eventual downfall and their scandalous, viciously concocted end.