Will the next Mahatma….Please Stand Up!!!


I teach and train on Leadership and the simplest definition that I could ever find for that word has been – the art of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal.

I have been trying to understand what will it take from the present scenario post the carnage in Mumbai to make this term credible, and respectable to the citizens of Republic of India? Well as the definition throws up the critical terms – “Motivating”, “Achieving”, and “Common Goal”.

Motivation can be defined as, Internal and external factors that stimulate desire and energy in people to be continually interested in and committed to a job, role, or subject, and to exert persistent effort in attaining a goal. Motivation is the energizer of behavior and mother of all action.

The present circumstances have certainly got the nation fired up for all wrong reasons. The demands for War, Cries for attacking our neighbors, inflammatory remarks on our political system (some even bordering on causing physical harm to some of our leaders), scrutiny on the security cover of our VIP etc etc. As per the definition above half of it has worked – the part of desire and energy to get interested in certain activities, but the real issue in India has been the second part i.e. to be committed to a subject and to exert persistent effort in attaining a goal.

So, as we look forward, the leadership has to come forth with these definitions intact. The way forward needs to be an era that has the people of India at the center or focal point of all plans. We need a leadership that’s dynamic, empathetic, intellectual, young, secular (in the true sense of it), knowledgeable, strategic, VISIONARY and “Kool”. India demands this and this is non negotiable.

The more I think, the more I get drawn to Mahatma Gandhi. His dynamism, empathy, intellect, youth (at heart and mind), secularism, knowledge (a qualified and well read Lawyer), Strategy, VISION (Independent India) and Kool (Bapu was a hit with kids, youth, and old alike). He arrived from South Africa and almost immediately gripped the combined imagination of the entire country and the British. He gave that Vision, purpose or as the definition of Leadership suggested above – “Common Goal”. He motivated the entire country to use the non violence path to earn their independence – this motivation lasted for several years till we finally earned the goal, it wasn’t a mere curiosity, interest or excitement. It was a cause which the entire nation got aligned to and were dedicated and determined to achieve it.

Sadly post independence it was our own countrymen who didn’t let the philosophy of Bapu or his ideals on modern independent India, percolate down to the mindsets of the citizens, who were looking upto him for further direction. It was never the same after his departure. As if Nehru – Jinnah turf war wasn’t enough, post his departure started the turf wars of another kind. The so called Congress – Non Congress wars and thus emerged the political landscape of modern India.

But if we look back and introspect, Bapu, had the charisma, the ability, the “Stuff” to be that one Leader who could have captured the imagination of the entire nation and led it to the next level. In short though that system of leadership gives a lot of authority to one man nevertheless that would have ensured we followed a Visionary.

Gandhism or Gandhigiri, whatever way we look at it, has been a philosophy that will hold true even after 200 years. Bapu didn’t live for a short term gain. He lived and breathed for India of the future. His actions, thoughts of equality, empowerment, education, etc. are very contemporary and if followed today can create a super prower mindset in each one of us that is lacking. Bapu, wanted us to be proud of our country. He wanted us to think and work (do our own bit) for our country. He taught us to hold our head high. Be assertive. Be united. And not to resort to Violence.

We see shades of Gandhi in Mandela, in Obama, in Kennedy and in their times all these have been successful, impactful, credible, respectable and popular figures. Its time India – the land of Gandhi, develops the next Mahatma who can guide us to our next Goal. Since 1947 India never had a common vision for the country. We seem to be just walking but dunno where to. Its time to demarcate certain goals and align the entire nation to that. Australia did it, Singapore did it, USA did it, Japan did it…. Its time India lines up !!

So lets start the SEARCH for our next Mahatma (Who knows – I might be the one), and our keywords for this Search has to be – VISIONARY, INTELLECTUAL, KNOWLEDGEABLE, TRUE INDIAN, EDUCATED, AWARE, EMPATHETIC, SMART, YOUNG (AT HEART), AND KOOL. And once we get him/her, lets not get the “Anti Incumbency Syndrome”.

Jai Hind !!!

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