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HERE ARE THE LEADERS GONE? – AN INSPIRING WEEKEND SPECIAL REPORT

leadersUnfortunate but true, we lack in adequate numbers the selfless and incorruptible leaders of the past who toiled with little expectation than the joy of being in the struggle. Where are the leaders gone who could enlist innumerable volunteers by their personal example? After 61 years of Indian Independence, the nation has walked the path of progress and development in most sectors. While a lot has been achieved a lot still remains unaccomplished. And perhaps the single biggest challenge of the largest democracy in the world is the dearth of selfless and incorruptible leaders. The political situation in the country has deteriorated to such levels that we often hear people lamenting that the prevailing system and environment in the country is not conducive to throwing up leaders of intellect, probity and social fervor like the innumerable great men who had emerged in the past when the country fought for its Independence. The freedom fighters then expected nothing in return for themselves save the liberation of their motherland. They were heroes and role models for the people who had a total faith in them. Such selfless motivation and passion for a cause as provided by very tall men like Mahatma and his contemporaries are missing today. It is not that we have no social causes to work for. Rather we have too many pressing for attention. Poverty eradication, compulsory education, basic health, availability of potable water and job opportunities for the rural poor rank very low in the priorities of our present day leaders. No matter how much we quest for, the ethics and moral values that selfless and patriotic leaders of the past practiced misses in leaders of today. A look at the characters, the principles and the lifestyles of the so-called present day leaders portrays how code of conduct politics has hit rock bottom. If leaders of the past followed the mantra of simplicity, honesty and truth to win the hearts of people, modern day leaders believe in showing off political stature and popularity through publicity. Unlike leaders of the past, who were heroes of the masses, present day leaders are just promoters of the classes. Earlier the nation had leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, Ram Manohar Lohiya, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Vinoba Bhave, Madan Mohan Malviya, Lokmanya Tilak, Gopalkrishna Gokhale, Yashwant Rao Chauhan and Vasant Dada Naik – names that echoed ideal and ethical leadership. But today Pappu Yadavs, Anand Mohans, Arun Gawlis, Pappu Kalanis, Raja Bhayyas, Ateek Ahmeds, Suraj Bhans and Shahabuddins have become heroes of modern day politics. Criminals in political have won their way into the temple of democracy in India “the parliament”. There was a time when leaders of ethics, principles and integrity were running this house. Today the same parliament has corrupt, cheats and criminals with cases of murder, rape, kidnap and even dacoit against them walking in the parliament. The levels of corruption have reached such magnitude that most of our parliamentarians do not even want to ask questions in the parliament if they are not paid for it. And may be democracy within the parliament bled the day the nation saw exchange of money inside the sacred house of the parliament exposing how loyalty of MPs can be purchased at a price. May be that’s why Anna Hazare – who is one of the few present day leaders with leadership values of the past does not hesitate to equate politicians to terrorists. The parliament is witness of how leaders had transformed from national heroes of the past to national looters of the present. It reminds one of the black and white golden number urging God to see mankind’s fall from grace. The leaders of the past lived simple lives among the masses but today’s leaders believe in lifestyles of classes. Even though one part of the nation suffers from drought and famine, the leaders live lives of glamour and comfort. For leaders of the past their ethics and principles were more important than offices of power but today’s leaders even go to the extent of killing to remain in power. Today politicians have set damage, destruction and violence has parameters of successful protests. May be that’s why unlike leaders of the past who were ambassadors of non-violence and peace and fearlessly moved with the masses, modern day politicians cannot do without in security covers. Unlike leaders of the past, present day leaders politics to be something like ancestral property. Who saw sons and daughters of leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, Ram Manohar Lohiya, Malviya, Vinoba Bhave trying to fill their shoes but today you have Rahul Gandhis, Supriya Sules, Uddhav Thackerays and Akhilesh Yadavs encouraging dynastic rule in politics. Wealth is another aspect that draws a clear line of the leaders that were and the leaders that are. In the past, leaders were like commoners but today the nation’s resources have become a golden goose for politicians. Politicians now have so much money that they have become investors in guise investing money in businesses, hotels, bars, casinos and even the construction industry. Unfortunately good and honest men abjure politics making modern day politics all about hate, money power, muscle power, caste-ism and corruption. Unlike leaders of the past who promoted feelings of nationalism and brought the nation together, today leaders are diving the nation in the name of religion, caste, creed and state. Even though there are enough opportunities for men to be heroic leaders for a cause like waging relentless wars against poverty, illiteracy and social inequities to provide a dignified life to the poor millions, there are no leaders coming forward. In today’s politicians, human love and concern for others seems to have run dry rendering them selfish and indifferent. The present day politicians, except for a few who can be counted by fingers, work with a single point program of becoming a legislator or a minister in the government. They are not propelled by any consideration of service or sacrifice. Their solicitude for the poor is only to build a vote base and nothing more. The same is true of many of those who have already attained these goals and enjoying the fruits of the offices they hold. Some of these politicians are so glued to the chairs of power that even aging does not awaken their conscience. There is an urgent need to create a climate where capable and honest men motivated solely by service to the society are drawn to the legislatures. The people are again to be blamed for their misfortune. But the youth force of the nation might just become the catalysts of change. Beyond any doubts the power to change rests with the people. For bringing out this power, we need bold men of Titanic stature like the leaders during freedom struggle. And in the rising youth force of the nation, there’s hope for a better and brighter leadership for the India of tomorrow. Till that happens, the battle for independence is not over.

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