Gandhi empowered others in 11 different languages

July 15, 2010

I have long been a student of Mohandas K. Gandhi and his work. For him, learning languages was a way to better understand the world around him and ultimately, to change it for the better. Gandhi learned 11 different languages in order to extend his reach and empower others:

  1. Gujarati
  2. English
  3. Sanscrit
  4. Latin
  5. Hindi
  6. Urdu
  7. Tamil
  8. Telugu
  9. Arabic
  10. Persian
  11. French

Gandhi saw learning languages as a way of communicating better with others and understanding the world more profoundly. These weren’t just noble intentions. They became part of the foundation of his work.

Aren’t these, at least in part, some of the same reason we are drawn to teaching and learning other languages?

Related posts:

Check out my conference paper on this topic:

Eaton, S. E. (2010). Leading Through Language Learning and Teaching: The Case of Gandhi. Paper presented at the Interdisciplinary Language Research: Relevance and Application Series, Language Research Centre, University of Calgary.


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Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

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