By Wangkheimayum Bhupendra Singh
“In countries where innocent people are dying, the leaders are following their blood rather than their brains,” so said Nelson Mandela.
That, Manipur has one too many issues, which have continued to bog it down for a prolonged and indefinite time frame is a fact hard to deny. It is another, that there are people who have projected the state from time to time before the world in positive and inspiring manners. Bandhs, blockades, deplorable road conditions, corruption, agitations, cease-work strikes by employees of state departments have today become staple ingredients in the state. Whereas on a positive note we have people like Mary Kom who have not only done the state proud but continued to inspire people around the world. Leaving aside such few personalities, there is an abject shortage of leaders, while it can be said that there is no dearth of followers. And when we say “leaders” here, the connotation, by no means, should be reduced to ‘someone who only rules’. One of life’s many ironies is that there is not many who would raise a voice when the need arise and much less who can lead from the front. There is no dearth of speakers but only of doers today. Concerns will be raised many a times and angry voices will fill the air, but none to lead from the front. Not a day goes by in the state without a voice full of concern is raised; only there are not many who could turn those words into actions and they say ‘a man is known by his actions’. Man if not led along the right path tends to run astray. Lack of aspiration in a leader can only mislead the followers to a state of confusion. Much has been said and a lot more written about the qualities of a leader. It would be quite constraining to jot down a leader’s quality here.
A leader, if we may say so, should not be confined just to making promises and assurances, but he should be audacious enough to actualise such promises and assurances. Now in the present context of the state, there could be no better timing to talk about a leader than now. Early next month, the whole country including the state will go into polls to elect the leaders who would run the nation for a good five year. If this is the time for the people to understand their leaders, than it is also the time for the leaders to inspire their people. And it is also time for the people to envisage the future while selecting their leaders. A society needs leaders who could deliver on their assurances and promises.
A leader’s ability to inspire the people and let them draw inspiration from among themselves can solve many a maladies. In this context, we cannot categorise the leaders as only those in the government. Leaders could also be from among the masses. A mannerism of the people of the state, which though quite uncanny and surprising of, considering the presence of an unappetising number of self-proclaimed watch-dogs, is the failure to see the line which separates the sublime from the ridiculous. And in such a scenario, leaders play an important role. This is where the delicate line between a hero and a leader needs to be submerged. Scottish writer Thomas Carlyle in his work “ON HEROES, HERO-WORSHIP, AND THE HEROIC IN HISTORY”, had said, “One comfort is, that Great Men, taken up in any way, are profitable company. We cannot look, however imperfectly, upon a great man, without gaining something by him. He is the living light-fountain, which it is good and pleasant to be near.” As it is, a heroic leader should have the qualities to inspire and profit the others from just being in their proximity and beyond.