The career of every revolutionary ends in glamour.
I don't mean the superficial definition of glamour, an artificial sense of beauty that props up a celebrity. I am talking about its deeper meaning, which is related to the stories we tell. The word glamour literally means a magic spell created by language. To be “beglamoured” means to be enchanted. Glamour was coined long ago as a mispronunciation of “grammar,” because writing—with its power to put lasting ideas directly into people's heads without speech—seemed like magic to those who had never seen it before.
This kind of magic is still potent. You can see it in the stories we tell about political figures, especially the ones who changed history.
The journey of Mahatma Gandhi, the revolutionary who peacefully liberated India from the British Empire in the early twentieth century, began in a deserted railway station one lonely night after he found himself kicked out of a train compartment. Even though Gandhi was a lawyer and could afford a first‐class ticket, he was excluded from riding in the carriage because of his brown skin. Starting with that moment of powerlessness, Gandhi began to transform his life and then the life of his entire nation. Over the next few decades until his death, he would build a movement that ended white, apartheid rule in India.
But Gandhi's journey ...