Posted by: Radha | September 11, 2009

Leaders? Pleaders?

A couple of days ago, I watched a news byte of Karnataka’s CM Yediyurappa delivering a speech to congratulate Kannada actress Umashri on her winning the National Award for best actress. He spoke in a drawling voice filled with lament, eyes closed always except for the times when he opened it to peek at a paper on the desk where the matter was obviously jotted down for his benefit. Thanks to his tone and expressionless face, I had to invest a great deal of effort to figure out if he was reading out a condolence message or a congratulatory one. A week ago, our dear Laloo Yadav gave a similar news byte about YSR’s tragic death. He had valuable information to share about aircraft crashes, but chose to express his views wearing a cotton vest and half-lying down upon a divan in his house/courtyard/cowshed whatever that was.

Now, the point I am trying to make is that these morons are supposed to be our leaders. Again, these are just two jewels in the lovely collection we have. I don’t even want to get started on Mayawati or Mamta Banerjee. I might want to use profanity to express my views there and that’s something I am not too keen on.

Coming from a corporate world with absolutely no inclination towards politics, there’s a certain meaning and importance I generally attach to the word ‘leader’. Its safe to say that leader means ‘a person who rules or guides or inspires others ‘ or ‘one who goes first’. At work, I see all kinds of leaders – genuinely smart and intelligent managers, shrewd and smart ones and some jokers who like to pose as leaders. By default, there are certain qualities I associate with good managers or leaders. Public speaking or addressing a group of people is one of them.

Let’s say a situation here in Karnataka required our CM to speak at a global platform. I would squirm in my seat and feel terribly embarassed to see our man struggle there. Even if we ignore the fact that he would only be able to talk in Kannada, (I mean, Vajpayee got away with speaking in Hindi at the UNO) he would literally not be able to look at the media in the eye to make a point. Not restricting this to Karnataka, I see leaders of many other states and at the central level fall apart completely everytime they are expected to talk sense or address the media. Talking here also just means high pitched screaming and gestures. Yet, when the elections are around the corner and its time for them to officially bullshit to the country, they become the best orators of their generation. Their dramatics are out in the open for everyone to see. Recent example being H.D.Kumaraswamy requesting the people to feed him poison if they do not make his JDS candidate win. A golden opportunity that could have been utilised better, I’d say.

It is quite easy to infer that when they have to come up with nonsense to plead for votes, they can talk, and how! At all other times, they are public relations disasters. Given the fact that the word ‘leader’ has been abused long enough to describe these chaps, I would like to find a more suitable word, or a more suitable meaning. Any suggestions?

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