Can one moment change your life? Yes, it can. We picked one incident that changed the lives of 9 famous people. Read on.
Ataturk: The Watch That Saved a Nation
During World War I, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey was leading an army campaign when he felt a sharp pain in his chest. On further examination, Ataturk found a piece of shrapnel lodged in his pocket watch which he kept close to his chest.
From that point on, Ataturk was unstoppable. He went back to Turkey, deposed the monarchy, set up a secular state and became the father of modern Turkey.
Gandhi: A Train Ride That Ensured India’s Independence
In 1893, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, a British educated Indian lawyer was travelling first-class from Durban to Pretoria in South Africa. Another European passenger who was travelling in the same coach objected to Gandhi’s presence because he looked like a “coolie.”
When Gandhi resisted moving out from the compartment, he was thrown out of the train in Pietermaritzburg station. The revolutionary Gandhi was born. He fought for the rights of Indians in South Africa first and then went on to spearhead the Indian independence movement.
Malcolm X: Prison Sentence That Made A Criminal into A Revolutionary
Malcolm X was an influential African American human rights activist. Born Malcolm Little, he was involved in drug dealing, gambling, racketeering, robbery and pimping as a youngster. Eventually, he was arrested for robbery and sentenced to prison.
In jail, he met a fellow convict John Bembry, a self-educated man who Malcom X would describe as “the first man I had ever seen command total respect … with words.” Obsessed with words, Malcolm X began reading voraciously and eventually, embraced The Nation of Islam, a political and religious group in the US.
Hitler: Jail Time That Changed the History of The World
Adolf Hitler’s first attempt to seize power in November 1923 was a miserable failure. He fled from the scene of the Beer Hall Putsch and went into hiding. He was arrested two days later, charged with treason and jailed.
In jail, Hitler used his spare time to improve his oratory skills and dictate his vision of the world and autobiography. The book was called Mein Kampf and soon became a bestseller. It also laid out the platform for his rise to power.
Nasser Hussain: The Wrong Decision That Made an England Captain
Chennai born Nasser Hussain had been in and out of the England Test cricket team since his debut in 1990. In 1996, things were looking bleak for him when he was all set to play a test match again India in England.
What happened next is best described by Hussain in his beautiful autobiography, Playing With Fire:
“..the ball was doing a bit when I started batting and there were a couple of nervous moments until, on 14, came one of the most significant moments of my career. Javagal Srinath went round the wicket to me, I gloved one to the keeper, no question, and the Indians all went up for a catch. I gloved it. Definitely.
…I could see umpire Darrell Hair almost trying to look round me to see if I had touched it. Srinath had gone round the wicket. Hair was unsighted. The finger hadn’t gone up.”
Hussain went on to score a century and become man of the series.
“But it always got me thinking what might have happened if a certain decision hadn’t gone my way, a bit like that film Sliding Doors.”
Hussain, eventually, became captain of England – one of its best ever.
Babur: The Temporary Teetotaler Who Created an Empire
Mughal emperor Babur was more than a little fond of wine. After the first battle of Panipat, Babur was all set for a showdown with the Rajputs who were led by Rana Sanga a fierce warrior with one eye, one arm and 88 battle scars. The Mughal army was outnumbered and worried.
That’s when Babur made a speech that changed Indian history. He exhorted the army to fight in the name of Islam and drained all wine and smashed all his wine cups. The army, which knew about his love for drink, was inspired and defeated the Rajputs. Once the empire was established, Babur went back to drinking – though, a lot more moderately.
Lionel Messi: The Most Important Napkin in the History of Any Game
Lionel Messi has become synonymous with the success FC Barcelona have achieved in the last decade. However, they nearly didn’t sign him. Back in 2000, with the Spanish club in turmoil, they had the chance to sign a prodigious 13-year old from Argentina.
What stood in the way was crises on and off the field, plus demanding requirements of giving Leo’s father a job and his family a place to live in Barcelona. Luckily for the club and player, one FC Barcelona director had the foresight to promise Messi a contract – on a napkin at a lunch his father had called to say Leo was moving somewhere else. Who knows what the world of football would be like today had the restaurant been out of napkins!
Walt Disney: A Firing That Launched an Industry
In 1919, Walt Disney was working for a newspaper called the Kansas City Star. One day, the 22-year-old was fired unceremoniously from his job. The reason: the editor felt Disney was not “creative enough.”
Disney would go on and create a couple of unsuccessful ventures before he founded The Walt Disney Company, which created iconic characters like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and almost single-handedly gave birth to the animation industry.
Incidentally, much later, the Disney company acquired the Kansas City Star before selling it off.
Indira Gandhi: The Death of a Statesman
Indira Gandhi was not a natural in politics. Socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia even nicknamed her as ‘goongi gudiya’(the dumb doll). She wasn’t a great orator to start off with and the Congress was controlled by a cabal of powerful leaders after the death of Nehru.
Gandhi was even considering getting away from it all and moving to London. But then, Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri who was at the peak of his fame died in Tashkent. Many thought Kamraj, a powerful Congress leader from Tamil Nadu, would become the next PM. Kamraj ruled himself out because he couldn’t speak English or Hindi. Indira Gandhi was made Prime Minister and never looked back.