I was recently in Bangalore amidst one of the most extraordinary demonstrations of leadership I have ever seen or studied. Without hyperbole, I believe we may be seeing a new Gandhi rise in India.
The leader is Anna Hazare. He is quiet, modest man in appearance. He has no earthly possessions of any kind (he sleeps and eats at the local temple). Before him, Gandhi took on the iron yoke of his time: successfully defeating the British and achieving independence for India. Now Hazare is taking on the iron yoke of corruption which continues to strangle progress within this would-be great nation.
Hazare has rejected the path of violent protest on the one hand or passivity on the other. He is proactively designing an incredibly effective and totally peaceful campaign to mobilize the people of India in mass demonstrations. Hundreds of thousands of people come out to show their support. And the political players simply cannot ignore him.
I was, serendipitously, in Asia over the same 10 days Anna recently fasted in order to get Parliament to draft an anti-graft bill. Day after day this became the only story in the media there. It was billed as “Anna vs. Parliament.” It came to Saturday and still the issue continued and the whole Parliament had to sit in session. And to give some context to this, by agreeing to this legislation Indian officials would be voting for some of their own to be sent to prison. But faced with either that option or a possible revolution, they approved the bill!
For anyone who believes that leadership is a choice rather than a title, as I do, this story is one to follow. Here are a couple of links to follow the latest:
Photo Credit: Photos by India Kangaroo