Discovering Manmohan Singh
A session was on at IIT Mumbai. A student asked the global thought leader, now head of Kerala IIM, Prof Debashish Chatterjee, ‘ Are leaders born or made?’
What a ridiculous question. Of course they are born. Some cynical in the crowd like me quipped, ‘They are made by fools like us’. But Professor Chatterjee thought otherwise.
“They are discovered. Leadership is not a part of conventional curriculum — as leadership is determined by situations and not from learning”.
He went on, “Leadership unlike linear programming or trigonometry has no syllabus, no predetermined path. Leaders make their own path as they walk along. And it is not about grabbing power and privilege but about giving away power without losing influence.” The Prof was addressing the best brains of the country under their intensive ‘ Break Free’ campaign to discover ’self’, and ‘ life and leadership’ as, he felt our technical and management institutions of excellence had become very ‘exclusive’ in their thinking.
Few clapped. Obviously the examples set by our very own leaders are different — leadership is all about grabbing power and privileges today.
While watching Prime Minister Manmohan Singh answer a volley of question with aplomb, I wondered if he fits into the category of ‘discovered leaders.’ He is not a born leader. Some may say, he is a ‘made’ leader (by Sonia Gandhi). The nation seems to rate him high and his government low in performance- the increasing naxal/terror problem, flip-flop on allies, the high prices; ironically he is blamed for none.
But I will say he is a leader discovered, so is the controversial UP chief minister Mayawati. People still want to know the brains guiding her. As a senior BJP leader said recently in a private conversation, “Someone is guiding her in talking or taking politically correct statements or decisions.” Who’s that if its not she herself?
Think hard! Lets debate if the leaders are better discovered than made.
Here are some more interesting questions to ponder from the same brainstorming session.
Q. How do you have a date with your self?
A. In silence and solitude, by watching your thought process through periodic disciplines. (Five minutes at the end of the day)
Q. If life is for livelihood, what else is life for?
A. Living Fully.
Q. Should we go abroad or serve the nation?
A. It’s better to have brain drain than having brain in the drain.
Q. How do you script a new story in your life?
A. By acting on something that you have been thinking of for sometime. Only through action can we test out the intensity of our dreams; you will script a new story and not wish it.
Q. Is population the biggest challenge?
A. If population is counted as currency, then China and India are the richest countries in the world. We are poor because we are operating at a small slice of talent pool, the poor masses not being circulated.
What do you say?