Is there more that I can want than that the flag of my country be draped on my coffin? Yes there is. Is it too much to with that the flag be a proud one, unsullied by the pettiness of the politicians and held up by even a lone statesman?
Statesman, yes, father-figure, no. We do not want father figures - or mother figures - in India. We have too many of them and all of them, perhaps the right men or women at the right time, are the wrong men for now. They stand still as the world passes them by and instead of leading it, they try to hold it back, to keep alive the illusion that they are the right men for ever.
These father & mother figures demand attention, they compel the present to keep looking at the past and they divert those who should be looking at the future and shaping it. Those who should be building for tomorrow are busy planning mausoleum and memorabilia.
We need young people of today to become leaders in their own right not shadows of old people of yesterday. We need to face the rising sun so that the learning of the past is in our being but the facts in our shadow. We need young people to think for themselves, of others. And be mature enough not to feel lost because there is no one to look up to or even because no one looks up to them. From a country of nearly a billion people, it is too much to expect one such? Six? A dozen?
But where are they? Are they waiting for the challenge, the call to arms? Do such people wait for anything? Does the world wait for them?
Unfortunately, we do have some young people posing as leaders but these young people are a mirror image of father figures. They are son figures. We do not want father figures and we do not want ‘son-figures’. Just because their father or grandfather was a leader does not mean they should be viewed in the same light. It is not logical to hire the son or grandson of doctor to cure us just because of his relationship with a doctor. The logic holds for leaders, too.
Perhaps my country has yet to produce a person of today, a person of promise who comes ahead on his own and lives up to this promise. And the time is now for we cannot wait any more.
In the current context, we have to ask – “Is Mr. Modi such a leader?” Yes, he has come ahead on his own. Now we have to see if he lives up to his promise. If he does not do so, it would be another false dawn. However, if he does live up to his promise, India would have found the kind of leader we need.
And when I die, there is nothing more I ask than that such a person drapes me in my flag, while others rejoice that I had lived with them.