August 14 (Independence Day)
IN SEARCH OF TREND-SETTERS
By Parvez Jamil
There is a clear distinction between a set, standard and stereotype leadership and one that leads by examples and sets trends for the people to emulate and motivate…
If those able, noble, humble and gentle talking leaders practice all the good they advocate, they would be what the nation look for as trendsetters in national affairs. Whether it is man in the street, men of letters or men at the helm of affairs, the crisis in leadership deals a severe blow to our social, economic and political stability. How vital is constructively leading from the front in such practical idealism as trust, tolerance, understanding, simple living and high thinking; positive thinking in matters pertaining to education, social work, business, politics, science and technology; materializing civic sense and social responsibility and pioneering the spirit of accommodation or give and take! The common man looks to leaders as trendsetters when it comes to seeking answers, guidance or consolation in matters affecting life at large.
Beyond sermons and speeches
People look beyond sermons and speeches to simple and workable suggestions and solutions. There is a clear distinction between a set, standard and stereotype leadership and one that leads by examples and set trends for the people to motivate and emulate. The former banks on promises, pledges, slogans, verbosity and sweeping statements aim at bewitching and bewildering the masses. The latter believes in practicing before preaching, endeavoring for compatibility of words and deeds and portraying an image of a doer not critic, a savior not naysayer and a leader not dealer.
The leader who’s engrossed in the round-the-clock vicious circle of devising grand and glamorous schemes and speeches hardly have any time to deviate from the straight and narrow path of self projection through those PR or promotional drives. As such people’s problems are perceived from the same “more of the same” syndrome painting a deteriorating socio-economic picture over the decades.
The quiet leader who may not be in the limelight of cheap publicity and face saving priorities may find time to devise objective and innovative ways and means to contribute in ameliorating the suffering of the common man. This is rare, even non-existent but of immense promise and potential.
Addressing the core concerns
Imagine a guidance counselor infusing in a child the spirit to save: explaining clearly the options of finishing a hundred rupee note in a few minutes by enjoying a double scoop ice-cream in a posh ice cream parlor or spending it on five little needs like local chocolates, wayside chips, cone ice cream, children’s magazine, a CD and still being left with Rs.20 for the rainy day.
Think of a local leader trying to discover for a tycoon’s poor chowkidar how to afford Eid for a family of five with a mere Rs.2000/- with grace, dignity and honor: A shalwar-kameez for three kids, for himself and a “begum ka jora”: all for Rs. 1500/-(Rs. 300 apiece) and a Re. 100 worth of chappals / sandals each for a family of five. It is no exaggeration that the same Eid costs Rs. 200,000/- for his wealthy master’s small family!
Making pre election pledges turning into post election shocks by not fulfilling promises leaves an overall negative impact on public mind. Negatively crippling are rosy promises in aid, assistance, funds or finances in the name of development. The worst social erosion occurs when people become so attuned to seeking aid as leaders hypnotize them with rosy promises for ulterior gains. While it is a highly co-dependent world, habitual seeking of aid and assistance are crippling habits to socio-economic stagnation or degeneration.
Whatever classy titles: development cooperation, partners in development or joint projects, leaders shall merely be dealers in self interests if the masses are not exemplified with innovative methods in what are termed as autarky or self reliance. If leaders set trends in economizing, austerity, humility and sincerity, the masses shall follow sooner or later. It is the conscious or sub-conscious habit of the masses to emulate, exemplify and emanate ideas, insights and initiatives from leaders and leadership.
Unearthing conspiracy of silence
It depends on the trends leaders set in simplicity or pageantry, tolerance or intolerance, understanding or misunderstanding, cooperation or confrontation, honesty or corruption, innovation or stagnation, progress or procrastination, positive or negative thinking, education or ignorance. Not caring about it is what tantamount to ignorance as bliss. Knowingly ignoring it is unfortunately a national tragedy: It is this conspiracy of silence in our national tragedy that needs to be unearthed and addressed!