To be a political leader in India
(signing up to be hated, ridiculed and critiqued by a majority of the 1.2 billion of us)
That’s how we are as a nation I guess…can’t seem to find the last socio-political leader who’d have 50%+ approval ratings nationally, across the last few decades…
I am open to changing my opinion on this…
But for now, assuming that’s true, what does that reveal about us as people? That we’re condemned to be in constant dissatisfaction, irritation, anger and churn?
Or, that we are destined to be forever in dialogue, discussion, co-inquiry?
I’d like to believe the latter…because if we are able to look at the process of arriving at shared agreements as a spiritual process, we will perhaps start looking at the likes of Modi, Kejriwal and Athavale as making brave spiritual attempts.
We will see them as people putting their egos aside, willing to put their skin in the game.
Perhaps, we will own the projections we make on them and see our own politics.
For me when I do this, I can see how clever I am in blame, in making fun and opposing. It also makes me see how non-appreciative I can be (and have been in the past).
Mindfully correcting this somehow makes it very lukewarm. Who wants to listen to someone who appreciates Narasimha Rao for example?
As I go deeper into it, I see each leader in so many hues and richness — each so human, so flawed and so brave, trying the best that they could perhaps and self-obsessed, not any different from me or others.
In putting their lives up for public scrutiny, they (political leaders) offer me targets to deflect my own indifference, inaction and lethargy.
Why do I say all this at the moment?
Because this perhaps is a moment to take a deep breath and acknowledge that THIS is the leadership we have. Like it or hate it, this is what humanity has decided collectively to place its destiny in the hands of.
And, my sense is that globally, while they may seem a very poor bunch, we have a group of culturally contextual leaders.
They seem to know what their countries want (and that may not be what their countries need — but then hey, who loves enlightened ahead-of-their-times leaders anyways? who even wants them)
Modi’s speech seemed to me an honest attempt. And it made me realise that THIS is what India really wants from their prime minister. A near father-figure who reassures and tells everyone what to do.
In the US, the majority doesn’t feel like taking global leadership and is rather self centered and that to me is totally fine as a nation, if that is what their democratically elected leader is choosing to do.
It is a good time to give leaders a break, and reassess them in a positive or more appreciative light. Perhaps, or atleast a more human light, seeing them as people, like you and me.
Not pedestalizing or villanizing them.
In times like these, authorities can do with our co-operation. Leaders can use some of our temporary trust.
And we can use this time to accept the nature of human condition, as seen both in us and those we choose to grant power to.