Sunday, September 02, 2007

Qualities of Leader II

While I continue to write more on this topic, I have some quotes from Shashi Tharoor on Jayaprakash Narayan (JP). He writes:

“Jayaprakash Narayan was the Mahatma of 1977, but he was a flawed Mahatma. A man of insight and compassion, humanity and principle, JP stood above his peers, a secular saint whose commitment to truth, honesty and justice was beyond question. But though his loyalty to the ideals of a democratic and egalitarian India could not be challenged, JP's abhorrence of power made him unfit to wield it.”

“He offered inspiration but not involvement, charisma but not change, hope but no harness.”

Shashi Tharoor’s opinion about JP comes as a good example for making my case. While a person could be ‘compassionate’, humane, and principled, he may not turn out to be a leader. ‘Commitment to truth, honesty and justice’ are great qualities in a person, but do not necessarily make a leader.

Shashi writes, that while JP offered ‘inspiration’, he was not involved. Therefore, while he was able to inspire people (#4), he did not lead by setting examples (#3), he did not follow up with concrete action (#1), and he did not take responsibility for results that came through his movement (#2).

JP was charismatic, but did not bring in the change. I had discarded Charisma as a quality for a leader. I believe that charisma is more of a byproduct and not a necessary quality.

JP gave hope but no harness. While JP gave people a vision (#7), he did not pull up resources or appointed the right people to execute it.

“Having abandoned politics when he seemed the heir-apparent to Nehru, he was reluctant to return to it after the fall of Nehru's daughter, and so let the revolution he had wrought fall into the hands of lesser men whose application was unworthy of his appeal. JP died a deeply disappointed man, but his legacy lives on in the subsequent conduct of the Indian people - to whom, in the last analysis, he taught their own strength.”

1 comment:

  1. While I completely endorse Shashi Tharoor's views on qualities required in a Leader, I wonder if JP became reluctant towards entering politics by reading Samuel Johnson's 'misquoted' quote: 'Politics is the last resort of scoundrels'! And, JP, for sure, didn't want to get categorized as one himself!


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