As the nation gathers to pay homage to the Father of the Nation on his hundredth birthday, it is natural for those who have grown up in the post-Gandhi era to ask what his unique contribution was. There were other great national leaders who campaigned for independence and there were other prophets and thinkers who made eloquent speeches and wrote memorable books. But Mahatma Gandhi is rightly remembered as the greatest of them all, though he spoke very simply and sometimes held inconsistent opinions. His greatness is to be found in his success in mobilising the entire people of India in the long-drawn-out struggle for Indian freedom. He was the first mass leader who realised that the power of the British Raj could be toppled only with the support of the peasants in the villages and the workers in the cities.