Democracy is a country where politics is played 24×7. Politics has a lot of shock value and sound byte. The politicos never forget their political agenda. Their lexicon surrounds around vote-bank. There will be policy of scuttle. Petty bickering will now and then make the headlines. Few tyres will be punctured, and few chickens will be stolen. But, the leader must stand above all these. And amidst all these demo-crazy, he (used only for convenience) must be the pillar of wisdom, order and peace.
What kind of a leader do I want? Who will I vote for? What kind of politicians am I looking forward to meet?
Leadership is about “defining a vision, embodying it and boldly leading people to follow that vision—notwithstanding the odds”. Without the vision a nation will face irreversible damages as time goes by. But without ideology and philosophy the vision will always be fuzzy.
However, in this rapidly changing world he who only thinks is lost. The body knows, the intellect only guesses. Like Vaclav Havel said, “Vision is not enough; it must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps; must step up the stairs”. I don’t want my leader to hide behind his philosophy and ideology. What is philosophy and ideology of use to a family who doesn’t have a roof over their head and food to eat? Only action can give true meaning to the written or spoken words.
Leadership is about expression of values and response to values. Managers are driven by results, by their brains. Leaders are driven by values, by their heart and soul, by their compassion. A leader must look beyond the objectives of the party. A true leader will want to serve the people not earn a name for himself. There are leaders who do not want to be great but to be thought great. A true leader would not want recognition, a place before other people, and a place over other people. As a leader he believes that it is his destiny to serve people. If recognition comes, that’s because lesser people around him have put a price tag on his services.
I want a leader who will not only lead but who will also walk beside me, listen to me and take me as a friend. Tell me that I can make a difference. Don’t take my hand but make me believe in my own capabilities and in my own ideals. I have to live my own life. You cannot live my life for me. Convince me that I can change my own life no matter how bad or incapable I am. Make every child believe in the god-given potential and give an opportunity to live out his her dreams. Tell me that I can create a sky and there I can become the sun.
I believe in a leader who can accept “no” for an answer at times, who can take criticisms with grace and dignity. I am quite sure that he will not know everything. The sun cannot do the moon’s job and vice versa. Therefore he must know when to listen and when not to listen. He must also know that life at times is like a game of tug-of-war, the winner goes backwards. Leadership is more than meets the I. For the sake of the nation and its people, he is not to assert his little ego. He must know when to lose a battle, but he must always win the war. He must be like the reed that bends but does not break. He must survive and fight. And fight again. For, he has a fate of a nation in his hand.
A time comes when a nation goes through rough moments, when its identity is at stake, when its sovereignty is threatened. It’s during those trying times that a leader must rise to the occasion and take the mantle of leadership. He must lead from the front. He should at all time be the beacon of hope. At the sound of his brave words, the nation must be awakened. Leadership is about believing in a cause and fighting for it. The nation, to be awakened, must believe in the cause it’s fighting for.
The greatness of a nation lies in its people. People are the “life” of a nation. The work gets done not by you but through people. So possessing an ability to inspire people would be one of the important qualities of a leader.
I want a leader who believes that justice is an integral part of nation building. Isn’t poverty social and economic injustice? Justice helps renew man’s faith in mankind. It helps citizens believe in their nation. It helps citizens believe that everyone is equal. My leader also must have two qualities, integrity and wisdom. A word given to people must be fulfilled even if he has to give up his post. However, the wisdom lies in not giving the promises that he can’t keep.
I want a leader who understands, in essence, that humanity matters more than progress. He should be able to also look inward. Socrates said that virtue is not taught but “recollected”. Recollection is a gathering of one’s self together, a pilgrimage into one’s heart. The function of the leader is not only to lead and blaze a trail, but also to help put citizens in possession of themselves. As much as material wealth, achieving art is also important. If industrial development is the brain of progress than art is the soul. Art is the true culture; it is the culture of the heart. Art measures the beauty of the soul.
A leader ultimately has to come through as a benign and compassionate human being. “Life, not seminars, moulds leaders.” He must have a big heart, full of love for others and always seeking good for people. I want a leader who’s got a thousand eyes so that he can see all the problems of the people. I want a leader who’s got a thousand hands so that he can reach out to all the people. You’ll be remembered not for your evanescent political triumphs but for your enduring legacies.
Our fragile young democracy will be in your hands. You will change the course of history. You will secure our liberty and our freedom. There is no greater honor history or the nation can bestow than electing you to lead the nation.
As W.B.Yeats said, “I have spread my dreams under your feet/Tread softly, for you may tread on my dreams.”
Written by Tashi Gyeltshen. TG is a freelance writer and a filmmaker >> firstname.lastname@example.org