Does the existence of followers make one a leader? A man with ideas gathers followers; a man with show of sympathy or one who understands others gets followers. Those who are great orators also have crowds for them. But are these the only characteristics that make a leader. A leader is defined by the Cause he fights for, his Intentions, and the path along which he wishes to guide his followers. A true leader inspires a generation, builds the society and shapes the future of those who left it on destiny.

A true leader does gather masses, but not by feeding on their dreams or by telling them how much they are suffering; but by what they can do, what their potential is and helping them find a purpose. He makes them think and act constructively.  Inciting the masses is not definitely a character of a leader, nor is the ability to defame others.

A leader has a vision but the ideas have to come from the people who have to make it come true. Their consent and their acceptance to the views are of utmost important; a leader does not think his followers are ignorant, but tries to uplift them and lead them to wisdom. A leader’s power is derived from people and not from offices he holds.

Every era has its problems, shortcomings, aspirations and needs; and that demands a leader that can cater to them. Comparing the present political leaders with those of past has been done a lot and not much of value learned from it.

I would only talk about an observation of mine, I do not know how correct I am in gauging it but still I try. That is for most political leaders, ministries they get are trophies for working for the party and their contribution to politics. I also believe that the government also uses them as such. How many ministers at present really care about the issues related to the Ministry they head; many ministries and departments, like Science and Technology, Environment, Tribal Issues etc needs ministers, bureaucrats and experts working together.  One such area where Political Leadership has miserably failed is Education, which I think we all would agree is important, not only for today but for our future. I often interact with primary school students, and my recent one wasn’t great, I met a 4th std. student who said there are 20 days in January and one who did not know tables equalled to multiplying numbers, and kids in fancy private school who do not know alphabets. Education has just become a formality and cramming up of facts. There is an urgent need for drastic (yet, effective) change in our education policy and its working, and greater is the need for leaders with vision for the future of our country. If the government needs people to stand on their feet (read stop subsidies) and really want to help the disadvantaged and backward, basic education is the only way to salvation; which gives them perspective and creates a real desire to learn more;  which  giving advantages in higher education and jobs won’t. That would only entail requirement of help at every stage, as the old saying goes giving a man fishes will suffice for a day, but teaching fishing will give him livelihood, respect and self-worth. I believe self-confidence only comes with real learning that happens only when we search for ourselves the sense of purpose and our destiny.

Another recent issue is the stalling of the parliament. Political leaders are supposed to discuss and debate to put forward views of the people they stand for. And this disruption of parliament shows only their incompetency in proving their point in a fair discussion and an easy way to get away from much needed talks. I do not understand the fear of leaders from their own people? Though that reflects a lot on their intentions.

I expect myself to stand for the issues I believe in and am ready to discuss and debate. I am not embarrassed to change my views if necessary and that is what I expect of my leaders.

PS:  Masculine gender used for leader does not imply gender bi.

The views represented in this blog are those of the author. It does not represent the thoughts, intentions or plans of the Swaniti Initiative.