Saturday, August 25, 2007

WANTED!...... Leaders

Leaders in Politics
Business Leaders
Sports Leaders
Technology Leaders
Spiritual Leaders

Do we Indians have one now? We had them before India attained independence. Now do we have one? When I search answer to this question hardly I get an answer. Except a few business leaders why don’t we see spiritual leaders, statesmen and politicians like Swami Vivekananda, MK Gandhi, Nehru, Vallabhai Patel, Subhash ChandraBose etc any more? We had great personalities like Rabindranath Tagore, Subrahmanya Bharati, Gurajada Apparao, Gurram Jaashuva, Viswanatha Satyanarayana and many more in literature field. Now hardly any that can match the stature of the previous generation.

What went wrong after Independence? Pre Independence there was a cause. Everyone Intellectual be it educationalists, reformers, lawyers, Journalists or politicians took up the cause and motivated many others. People were less greedy not that selfish as most of us do today.

Once the goal is accomplished the generation after Independence didn’t had any major national goal, direction or guidance. Every one got busy in their personal livelihood. Politicians are interested in the power. Educated elite who got subsidised education from the premier institutes like IITs gone abroad in search of better life every one is busy in their own life trusting the government would do what it ought to do. People who are in the governance became greedy and selfish and gradually corruption became big menace. Almost every citizen is corrupted. They are corrupted by thoughts, corrupted by means and corrupted by their deeds. Hence it is never a big issue now. Every one tried to out score the other by hook or crock.

Population grew at faster pace put pressure on the available resources. This fuelled the competition and gave chance to few to exploit it in terms of castes, religion, social status and economic status. Politicians whose main agenda to stay in power exploited it further. Entire system became inefficient and corrupt. It also had a positive effect on few whose struggle to survive created a burning desire to achieve something on their own. It made them work hard and taste the success without any major support from anybody.

Compulsions made India to open up its markets. This led a rapid growth in some sectors. This also increased a gap between haves and have not’s While a section of society are becoming wealthier and started to enjoy better life style. People who immigrated to foreign lands are started coming back. Other sections of the society especially the rural population is struggling for the livelihood. After 60 years of Independence the government of Independent India failed to provide the basic enmities to all its citizens. The growth story which it is boasting of is not its own but it is the story of a few who made it possible.

Now almost everyone blames the politicians, the babus. It is a common drawing room discussion. The NRIs feel sorry for the country and would happy to donate some funds for some cause. And none is ready to jump and take up the responsibility or perform the duties. A major portion of the Indian population is middle class and yet only a small portion of this population votes. Upper class hardly cast their vote. So the politicians know very well about their vote bank. They promise the moon. They announce populist’s schemes which hardly make any economic sense. Anti social elements enter the politics to make more money. Politics became a next stage to the aging glamour stars to continue to be in the glory of the media without doing anything to the society. Politics became a family business to many more. The main agenda of all the political parties is power. By hook or crook get the power is the agenda of all the parties. For this some take up unnecessary and unwanted religious cause, some take up the cause of poor without any sincerity, some in the name of secularism. None has any vision for the country any goal for the country and guidance plan for the country.

Media role is also to be blamed. Earlier in pre Independence era it played a vital role. The journalism was at its best. News motivated many. Media took up many issues. Now do we see any of those? Every one is busy getting more viewer ship to his or her story. They side either one party or another. They take up issues which would increase the ratings hardly any valid vital issues. Some might argue that it is not 100% true by showing some news stories which indeed picked up certain issues. The question is how they handled it. They handle the issues with some bias. Selective in their sampling, selective in their presentation, glorify unwanted things and hardly any journalism is there. They also play to the galleries.

In this context I again ask this question to myself to every one do we have a real leader now. What we should do to get rid of the situation. A country, whose average age of the population is around 25-28 years, has got some 70-80+ olds as leaders. India appears to be facing a crisis of leadership. Public governance has all but collapsed. In critical areas such as public administration, education and healthcare, there's little or no confidence left in government's ability to deliver a modicum of service without having to grease a few palms. Corruption is endemic, the bureaucracy is a shadow of what it once was, and the political class for most part appears to have neither the vision nor the ability nor the stomach nor even the inclination to fix the system.

India is at a stage in its life where it's poised for greater glory. This sounds like a cliché, but the potential is truly limitless. What we need to do is move from India Poised to India Realised. We need to find the right buttons. We believe the multiplier effect of good governance will be mind-boggling. And it's the traditionally disenfranchised and neglected sections of society who stand to benefit the most --- people who survive on the margins of society, who have no access to housing, healthcare, education or even justice. The elite of our society can find ways around poor governance --- they can send their children to expensive schools and colleges at home or abroad; same with medical treatment; and they are less exposed to the injustices of the system compared to that child or woman who calls the pavement her home. But as a nation, true progress will continue to elude us until such time as we can integrate at least an overwhelming number of our people into the mainstream.

What is needed to change this situation? If we allow this to continue do we have a future? What would be the position of this country in the world? I heard many including the politicians saying young people should get in to the politics and take up the responsibility to clean up this system. Yes we are ready but does the present day system allow that? Even if the younger generation joins the politics can we see more leaders? The need of the hour is leadership. We need leaders not only in politics but in every other area.

Are Leaders are born are made? I don’t want to get in to this discussion. What I believe is you don't have to head a country, or a business empire, or even a sports team to be a leader. There's a leader within each one of us, just waiting for the right moment to emerge. A leader, who doesn't just make big promises, but keeps even the small ones, a leader who realises his dreams by helping others to fulfil theirs, a leader who believes in others even when they don't believe in themselves, a leader who doesn't just wring his hands impotently while blaming the system, but sets out to change it. even if the leaders are born they need to groomed or trained. What is needed then? We need an education that grooms the leadership abilities in oneself. Corporate sector is aware of this and run some leadership programmes from time to time that address their leadership needs. We need more such programmes to groom political leadership.
We need people with ability to conceive of a goal for the nation into specific, pragmatic action points, ability to rally people around ideas, ability to execute and resilience.

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