Monday, March 09, 2020

The price of not being a real leader is counted in (other people's) deaths

He could have said that peaceful protest is an inalienable democratic right.

If he had said it before, or even after winning the state assembly, it may have given pause to millions of people who were being told repeatedly that protestors deserve to be attacked simply for opposing the policies of the central government. After all, Mr Kejriwal himself has done everything in his power to topple those elected to Parliament before.

When he saw footage of CCTV cameras being smashed to prevent the recording of evidence while students were attacked in libraries, he could have said that his government would, anyhow, make sure the guilty were punished. He could say that his government would ensure that mosques will be re-built, and that inter-faith meetings be held every single day until the community can find its way back to harmony. He could say, even now, that we must resist ghettoization, for it can only lead to a greater gulf between communities. He could say that ghettoization is not just the outcome but the purpose of such violence, that it is venom in the body of our republic.

He could say to doctors: treat riot victims gently, and do post mortems honestly. He could say to teachers: counsel children so that they may not be drawn to future acts of violence, and may learn not to discriminate themselves. He could say to members of Residents’ Welfare Associations: for India’s sake, stop discriminating. He could even ask that meetings be in every colony to discuss the imperative of citizenship, and understand why so many Indians are feeling vulnerable.

There is a long list of things that need saying, urgently, but beyond taciturn appeals for peace – and those worded in miserly fashion – nothing has been said or done that demonstrates true leadership. The crisis in Delhi, and all over India, is that our leaders appear to think that their role is limited to winning elections. When they speak, they weigh their words against the weight of public opinion. They act as if that they were a mirror for potential voters, however ill-informed, self-serving, narrow-minded the latter be.

The notion that a leader is someone who 'leads', in thought and in deed, seems to have collapsed...

To read the whole thing, please go here: 

1 comment:

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