Alok Jain in Hindustan Times, 31st of July, 2011.
Gandhi’s notion of Satyagraha is a synthesis of ‘method of action’ and ‘method of enquiry’. Both work simultaneously and, in the process, affect the course of action according to this dialectical method. A satyagrahi, by instinct, functions in a dialogic, open mindset. He tries his best to combat the bias of his adversary but also tries to ‘un-bias’ himself from any ill-judgement. In Duragraha, the element of ‘stubborn resistance’ and ‘fixed prejudgment’ is a dominant factor. A duragrahi takes it for granted that what he insists on is the Truth. An element of fanaticism and cynicism is also inherent in his behaviour.
Leaders who are out to change the fabric, texture and complexion of the social consciousness should consider this.
It is one thing to capture the imagination of a country in a way that has not been done for a very long time. It is no mean feat. After you become a leader, irrespective of how you become a leader — naturally, circumstantially or accidentally — there is a responsibility to that role. In the beginning the platform is supreme. Then a person steps onto the platform. And then, that person assumes the identity of the platform. People relate to humans better than the platform, they forget about the platform. The person who assumes that platform, however, should never forget that.
I leave you with this dialogue from a previous post:
Lewis Rothschild: You have a deeper love of this country than any man I’ve ever known. And I want to know what it says to you that in the past seven weeks, 59% of Americans have begun to question your patriotism.
President Andrew Shepherd: Look, if the people want to listen to-…
Lewis Rothschild: They don’t have a choice! Bob Rumson is the only one doing the talking! People want leadership, Mr. President, and in the absence of genuine leadership, they’ll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership. They’re so thirsty for it they’ll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there’s no water, they’ll drink the sand.
President Andrew Shepherd: Lewis, we’ve had presidents who were beloved, who couldn’t find a coherent sentence with two hands and a flashlight. People don’t drink the sand because they’re thirsty. They drink the sand because they don’t know the difference.
Followers aren’t without responsibility; they have to differentiate between water and sand.