Making of a Statesman

March 18, 2014

My short vacation at my home town Mangalore, had also coincided with the campaign visit of India’s most popular and Prime Ministerial favourite candidate Narendra Modi. The city was lit up in exult and euphoria, and a day before Modi’s arrival, a teenager wearing Modi’s face mask walked straight into me and asked ‘Are You Modified’? It sounded funny, I had no answer, just muttered ‘No, I am Terrified!

Managing the affairs of the state isn’t easy, certainly not in a country as complex and diverse as India. A statesman requires tremendous mental energy and tactics to counter adversaries and political rivalries. Apart from mass management, he has to exhibit a penchant for the kind of leadership found in a military general or a medieval Indian emperor.

Most great statesmen have been inspirational and innovative thinkers. Leadership comes natural to them, Leaders are born not made. Some of the greatest statesmen have created revolutionary impacts during their reigns. Lets look at some of the men who being at the helm of affairs in their states, made historic moves that proved turning factor in their country’s endeavors.

Franklin Roosevelt was a statesman for crisis, he didn’t promise, he delivered. It was the time of great depression in 1933, while America went hungry, businessmen & stock traders committed suicide in the streets and unemployment spread in rampage. Roosevelt used facilitation of eminent British economists John Maynard Keynes to overcome massive unemployment and to restructure the economic debacle of the era as a whole. Free food was served to the workers and the profit was divided equally among all classes, funds were mobilized to counter future constraints. Within a few years as the American President, Roosevelt was able to restore his country’s economy and redeem its honor from the jaws of worst financial crisis ever.

Franklin Roosevelt & Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill was elected as the prime minister during thebreak of second world war. As German dictatorAdolf hitler’s evil ideology gained momentum with overnight invasion of several countries, his Nazi forces declared war with Britain.Churchill showed no signs of panic. And on one midnight, all of a sudden as the Nazis bombarded London city, Churchill refused to surrender, and pledged Britain to fight. With the help of his royal air force and his alliance with United States and the Soviet Union, Churchill lead Britain into a major triumph against the HitlersNazis forcing them to surrender and their prophet to commit suicide in shame.

Indian Leaders of the Past

Jawaharlal Nehru was an iconic and a charismatic political leader. Born into an aristocratic family, and educated in England, Nehru was more of an Englishman at heart but was a devout socialist. Nehru soon joined Gandhi’s freedom movement and was elected as the India’s first ever prime minister post-independence. In his early days as a freedom fighter with Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru spent years in Prison, where he penned down prolific works of history and his idea of a Secular Socialist India. Under Nehru India made major strides in education, agriculture and heavy industrial sector and influenced a strong foundation of Social institutions in the country.

His emphasis on education and research helped cropping up of Indian Institute of Technologies and Managements, in his own words described them as Temples of modern India, and have served as the premier institutes in producing iconic individuals in the country. Nehru’s charisma was able to conquer the country’s millions, as he successfully won mandate for a period of seventeen long years.

Lal Bahudur Shastri was the India’s second elected prime minister. A simple and down to earth individual Shastri sustained major infiltration in Kashmir from Pakistani militants in the year 1965, where eventually Pakistan surrendered. His brief period at the top saw developments in agriculture sector, popularly hailed as the ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’.

After the untimely and little mysterious death of Lal Bahudur Shastri( government confirmed heart attack) in 1967, Indira Gandhi the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru was sworn in as the third prime minister of the country. After few years of able governance, economic stability and the triumphant Bangladesh liberation war against Pakistan, Indira Gandhi’s government came under scanner. The veteran anti-corruption crusader and activist Jayprakash Narayan and Socialist Labour Union leader George Fernandes vociferously confronted Indira Gandhi’s government of fraud, Corruption, bribery, favouritism and electoral fraud. And as the media and the opposition also got stronger in its denouncement of her government, Indira Gandhi resorted to autocracy and immediately enforced Emergency, thereby suspending democracy.

Large scale demonstrations were organized throughout, many leaders, journalists, activists were put behind bars, tortured and even killed inside the cells. And finally her government was routed out in the 1977 general elections as the Janata Party swept the mandate.

Post Indira Gandhi, several leaders rose to power and departed, and none was able to keep up the tempo that Nehru, Shastri and Indira Gandhi had maintained. The charisma was lost and so did the people’s confidence. Politicians were seen with suspicion and people’s faith began to deplete.

How are Today's Leaders Shaping up?

Narendra Modi has become a popular figure in the political circles and has won mass following. His admirers worship him. The social media has been flooded with Narendra Modi’s promos and has been lauded by his admirers as NaMo and mocked by his detractors as Feku. Neverthless, the RSS and the BJP showed no second thoughts in appointing him as their Prime Ministrial candidate, amidst resentment from veteran BJP leader LK Advani.

Narendra Modi’s history is colored with shades of progressive and divisive politics. That largely symbolizes a man with a smart mind and an evil heart. He cleverly uses crowd psyche and amends his speeches accordingly. While on campaign, he insidiously uses secularism, nationalism and communalism all in one.

Modi isn’t a great orator, but frames his speeches with slap stick dialogues that easily pull crowds. Although his vote bank and crowds make up of both rural population and the urban middle class English speakers, Modi’s command over the English language looks skeptical. Some say his English is as bad as Sonia Gandhi’s Hindi! Nevertheless, His targets are soft, those that don’t bite back. A frequent target is the ruling Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul, her son-in-law, her political dynasty and the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. He terms the Congress party as the epitome of corruption and often quotes his famous dialogue ‘Congress and Corruption are twin brothers that can never be separated'.

On the other hand, Modi has never been critical of the more notorious figure in the hell-world of corruption and crime, Sharad Pawar. In fact, some allege Sharad Pawar as the most corrupt man living on the planet! Sharad Pawar has the crowd, the corporate India and the mafia on his side, which makes matters difficult or rather impossible to nail him. And so far only Anna Hazare has effectively pointed a finger at this political monster.

Modi speaks a lot and hardly listens, his temper is fragile, and habitually frails when questions irk him. Modi’s fourteen years span as the chief minister of Gujarat is marked with mixed outlines of polarization and convergence, hate and reconciliation, prejudice and tolerance, xenophobia and moderation, destruction and reconstruction. Under Modi, Gujarat has built up dominance in infrastructure and governance, while its social development index and community integration is one of the lowest in the country.

Although Gujarat is no better than other well developed states in the country, with as or more or less the same living standard and lifestyle, its marketing and Modi's PR is executed with acute competence and spectacular hype. Although the corporate controlled media has been standing by his side and has been covertly promoting him as a brand, there are independent writers who maraud critical essays and columns about his views and deeds. But for Modi, no negative publicity is bad publicity.

Rahul Gandhi's name appears as the front runner for the Congress party’s prime ministerial candidacy. Being the son of Congress party supremo Sonia Gandhi, it has been a rather easy route for him in the political sphere. Rahul has been the object of ridicule and parody across the social media and the blogosphere. His verbal delivery, general knowledge and his leadership skills are pegged with giant question marks. His party has been plagued by accusations of massive corruption, misuse of funds, nepotism, bribery, crony capitalism etc. So far, Rahul Gandhi hasn’t been successful in erasing the black scars labelled all over his party.

Rahul Gandhi hasn’t spoken out on core issues, nor has connected to the young educated masses. He has sought only the ruler vote bank. In his speeches he repeatedly emphasizes on change, but ten years of his party’s ruling has brought about inflation, incompetence and economic debacle. Nobody is aware about his ideas, his foresight for the country. His disposition as a leader has met with serious limitations. He suspends hard work for leisure, and at times hasn’t understood the psyche of the neo urban middle class India that is more attuned in the four walled drawing room getting all its news feeds from Modern Electronic Gadgets.

Arvind Kejriwal’s rise from a government employee to a RTI activists and finally to become the chief minister of India’s capital has been dramatic and almost miraculous. It’s a success story of India’s functional and vibrant democracy. Kejriwal’s leadership skills, his never say die spirit, his courage to take on India’s big shots and his ultimate humility marks the beginning of a Statesman in making. Kejriwal listens and speaks accordingly. He doesn’t boast, nor does he use foul language to ridicule his opposition. He is clean, sincere and has no corporate or dynastical backing. His politics is based on bringing to task the corrupt, criminal and the communal. Kejriwal symbolizes every urban Indian middle class, who graduates, finds job for a living, marries and runs a family, but also a socially conscious individual.

An alumnus of IIT Kharagpur, Kejriwal spent few years in government service and later as a hardcore RTI activist. He was the leading member of the Anna Hazare anti-corruption crusade movement. After the Anna movement party members like Kiran Bedi and Baba Ramdev made alliance with opposition BJP, and Anna Hazare lost steam, Arvind Kejriwal decided to register his own political outfit the Aam Aadmi Party with his close mates and installed broom as the party’s emblem, and was able to sweep the mandate in Delhi, by driving out the glued chief minister Sheila Dixit out of her seat. His recent resignation as the Chief Minister of Delhi, raises hopes of his chances at the National Front.

This election unlike the previous ones, would be more dependent on the social media and the Internet world. A substantial amount of campaigning by all three main leaders is done on social media. But whether the young voters are going to transform their obsession to leaders from their drawing rooms to the ballet box, is to be seen. But mere promise of economic development by some politicians should not change one’s morals; humanity is the last and the final character that defines a modern civilized nation.


Chris D'Souza Archives:



By Chris Emmanuel D'Souza
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Comment on this article

  • Dr S Kamath, Mumbai

    Tue, Mar 25 2014

    Langoolacharya, Belman/Washington,DC.
    I didnot say Kejriwal is Corrupt so far .Note that question of Corruption comes only the when the person gets power .Kejriwal hasnot got real power so far when full power comes we will come to know whether he is corrupt or not .But the attitude of always asking questions and when the question is being raised by persons like Vinod kumar Binny says many many things .Only time will give answer to this .Regarding Modi you go to Gujarat and see Modi has not ammassed any wealth for himself .He doesnt possess any family .He doesnt even favour his blood relatives .As per reports he hasnot given any land to Mukesh Ambani .Mukesh Ambani himself has puchased land directly from farmers .My assessment of kejriwal comes from the theory of emotional quotient and Psychometric analysis by a scientist called Paul Grant .According to him people are classified as having 4 emotional Colours .Kejriwal like people who want to sit in Dharna day in and day out cannot sit in a place and Govern .It requires RED-BLUE E-color which he lacks .I feel he has Yellow-Red E-color.Go and see the website for details Bye.I am not Jeoulousy or against Kejriwal .If he proves me wrong I am happy .But the way he is opposing a Nationalistic leader NaMo is not good for India
    I read an article in Eco Times which says Reliance supplies only 20 % of CNG -PNG and the rest is supplied by PSU like GSPC,ONGC,GAIL.Kejriwal is making a mountain out of a Mole

  • Langoolacharya, Belman/Washington,DC

    Mon, Mar 24 2014

    Dr S Kamath, Mumbai,

    Quick question's for you.

    1.When you say he(Kejriwal) could not rule for more than 49 days and ran away from responsibilities of CM,,, are you saying he was enjoying absolute majority support in the legislative assembly?

    2.Are you saying Kejriwal is financially corrupt like Rahul and Modi?

    3. You were defending gas price hike from USD 4 to USD 8 to give Mukesh Ambani a windfall profits of 54,000 crore every year...Why Modi is not talking about this???

    4. You think BJP is less corrupt than CONgress?? and I respectfully disagree with you...I believe there is nothing called less pregnant,,, if you are pregnant or not pregnant Similarly either you are Corrupt or honest nothing in between.

    5.My gut feeling is BJP will come to power in may 2014 and repeat what they did in 1977-1979.

    6. Already BJP started compromising in principles to get power...this will come back and haunt them sooner than later...

    I thought educated person like you are not swayed away by party loyalties and be fair with all parties...I think you are very unfair to Arvind because of your loyalties to BJP...


  • Dr S Kamath, Mumbai

    Sun, Mar 23 2014

    Good write up but missed the important point lacking in Arvind Kejriwal that is able to Sit in Chair and Govern .He lacks it .He can be a Very Great Dharna activist no doubt about it .But cannot Lead from front as a Prime minister .Many will disagree but time will say this is truth .In AAP future leader will be Yogendra Yadav .Arvind Kejriwal should just sit and strategise .I said immediatly after Delhi elections that my heart says he shall stay But Brain says a big NO he cannot .and this quality lies only with Narendra Modi along with many other qualities like able admin,Planning ,Proactive strategy and in Congress party if at all anybody else can revive it it will be Priyanka Gandhi for sure .She has some leadership qualities .But Vadra Connection and Dynasty politics makes things difficult for her entry.

  • silvia pais, mangalore

    Sat, Mar 22 2014

    A very lucid and neutral essay, without taking sides, we need writers like you..Chris, I have become a huge fan of your letters, you can be an awesome political writer. Keep writing....

  • Rion, udupi

    Fri, Mar 21 2014

    Every one must try to understand who might have killed Mahatma Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri. Now the time is again come up to fight against corruption after 66 years again. Every one knows what CONG & BJP is done so far and what they can going to do in 5 years again. They will be surely busy in pulling the legs each other and public will again suffer. This is the time to think and vote for AAP a revolutionary party which can transform impossible to possible.

  • paul dsouza, balakunje

    Thu, Mar 20 2014

    If other corrupt parties allow AAP to handle this election smoothly, i am sure AAP will make change in india & there will be a bright future for india. The next choice is congress. They too corrupt, but somehow they are capable to run such a big country. BJP will mess the country & without MODI, all the other members are same to shame. BJP policies are not good to rule democratic country & beautiful people like india. if BJP comes on power, they will finish up indias economy using MODI NAME & him, Cause they dont have any other options left. FOR a CM PLACE MODI IS FINE IN GUJARATH ONLY. GOOD LUCK TO ALL PARTIES, WAIT & WATCH.

  • vassu, kudla

    Thu, Mar 20 2014

    A very well written article, but I was surprised to see One of the famous and loved ex PM Atal Behari Vajpayee's name not being mentioned.He certainly is a statesman and how much ever people hate BJP, he has a special place in the hearts of millions of Indians!

  • Aam Indian, M'lore/Bahrain

    Thu, Mar 20 2014

    for the first time in Indian History, a dictator is going to rule India. get ready for it. with virtually no educational background, we will be in the hands of an illiterate, communal and dictatorial individual. God Help India.

  • clitus Tauro, Doha / Mangalore

    Thu, Mar 20 2014

    JUST VOTE FOR AAP....AND FEEL THE DIFFERENCE.....Just Vote arguments....AAP...its different!

  • Tony Pinto, Manglore - Dubai

    Thu, Mar 20 2014

    Brother you got Terrified! for what??? but when i read news today morning saying Rupee may surge 35% to 40 per dollar if Mr. Modi becomes Prime Minister,this is from Citigroup's Adam Gilmour head of Asia-Pacific currency and derivatives sales. So what will you say INDIA need to be Modified or to be Terrified. GOD BLESS

  • KRPrabhu, Bangalore

    Wed, Mar 19 2014

    In todays political leaders we have to adjust or compromise with certain aspects and vote.But during 60s and 70s the situation was entirely differnt.They were realy patriots and had a simple livingwith high thinking.
    In the photo while I was seeing Late Lal Bahadur Shastri my head bowed atomatically with gretarespect and reverence.Today we have forgotten him and our younger generation does know what sort of life he lived.No body remembers his date of birth,even celebration always remains a low profile and a mere ritual.This is pinching me always.

  • jerardin dsouza, mangalore/bangalore

    Wed, Mar 19 2014

    Yes ,A good ,informative ,yet neutral piece. Chris, has done a good job.I haven't read Chris before or know his background.You have opened up the options.There is always the blame,that guys don't VOTE.But when you prefer NONE ,whom do you Vote..?? Now this New 'NOTA' HAS BEEN ADDED.Where does it Lead..?? Democracy is One Huge Liberty.The human spirit is Valued. May be machine or Robot like development may be lacking[like in dictatorships or fundamentalist rules].,BUT you can Question & Elect your RULER. NOT in the GULF,& most of the Islamic Nations.Your Free Human Spirit is Controlled & You Cant Speak your Mind. Its ONLY in INDIA ,You Can Speak Or Bark ,doesn't harm you.There are too many drawbacks,YET,there are MANY Freedoms ,that one cant ever imagine in other countries.There can never be a free debate on any topic that affects our existence. But here ,we can criticize our rulers & throw them out. This indeed is one huge freedom. Well done Chris,let me know more about you,the chosen one.Nice reading you...thanks.

  • John DSouza, Mangalore

    Tue, Mar 18 2014

    Making of a Statesman to rule 1.2 billion people and to deal with 6 billion of globe is a giant project of millions of hours of time waste and billions dollars of fund waste.
    No guarantee and surety that the statesman made at an extraordinary cost and sacrifice will last ruling for five years or resign within in five days of gaining power, since a common man is inefficient to rule comfortably a family of merely of four members.
    Talk less and work more is a wisdom preach for us
    Pay less and talk more is a tempting campaign to spend the boring time
    Do chat, view faces and exhibitions is bright idea to waste and kill time
    Buy now and pay later is tactic to grab a good market share
    Use/try first and then buy is a wonderful strategy to face competition
    We buy vehicle for pride, though it parked and blocked for 23 hours/day
    Falling trees and spending to paint green, is our energy saving mission
    Offer all valuable resources to get scarce fuel is our feel proud factor
    Get cheap grains and sell at high to make money is our alternate employment scheme
    The reluctance to change is our obvious acceptance to face severe problems (instead of seeking and supporting ideas of appropriate solutions).
    We dream to be a developed nation, but our nature is like the crabs in basket.
    Making millions of idle hands to work is our need and priority
    Let us have a strong democracy, peaceful society and stable economy with a clean environment

  • geoffrey, hat hill

    Tue, Mar 18 2014

    "Between two (in this case 3) evils, I always pick the one I never tried before." - Mae West

  • shetty, mangalore

    Tue, Mar 18 2014

    chris...urban middle class guys don't get funds from Ford foundation & don't run away from problems & never in their dreams will support naxalites( Binayak sen), the separatists( Bhushan)& khaps (yadav)....wake up  AAPian...

  • R.Bhandarkar, M'lore

    Tue, Mar 18 2014

    The trying trio's photo looks like a stamp just released.
    One has the stamp of an orator,another gas cylinder,another road roller....
    Make a honest assessment and match them though....

  • Roshan, Mangalore

    Tue, Mar 18 2014

    Wonderful article. On leadership, I too always wondered on congress silence. But, I guess I have some answers. Post 2004, BJP never had a tall leaders and they knew that better than anyone. Advani tried to become a hero with cash-for-vote scam. But, since they could not get congress red-handed, they changed the script and started playing differently, accusing congress using CBI as a tool. Congress for its usual lethargic self, never responded back. But, that was the start of a action plan. The growth figures highly encouraging, all BJP wanted is to stall the growth and target congress as well played card 'CORRUPT'. Bofors, gave non-congress parties, win in a platter. So, that was their game plan. Luckily, they got a few hands to support in the form of CAG, Media. CAG deliberately leaked reports, which were played out as scams by media. With one after the other allegations popping out as scams, worse to add, even SC taking on policy decisions. Congress had no place to run. All it could possibly do is stay silent, because, talking on the issue they realized would further worsen their condition.

    When BJP just about winning the perception, Yudiyurappa spoiled their grand design. They smartly altered the plan, by nominating Modi.

    A already existing corrupt congress perception has added to the Modi plank, cheered each of the parties worked, as they had a leader.

  • sid, mangalore

    Tue, Mar 18 2014

    You could have done better Chris . Raul Vinci Fake Rahul Gandhi does not have any quality of becoming the Prime Minister of India . Our local corporators might have better political knowledge than him . Would have appreciated if you were fair in your assessment

  • R.Bhandarkar, M'lore

    Tue, Mar 18 2014

    But for Sri. Lal Bahadur Shastriji's reference here, I would have suggested the title of this article to be 'Comedians who never made us Laugh'
    An unbiased political analysis on the 'in capabilities' of the trying trio though! Good work.

  • Suleman Beary, Udupi

    Tue, Mar 18 2014

    Well scripted. All voters should read before voting. Author emphasized the core value or policy of the individual political leaders without bias. Good article in right time.

  • jr,

    Tue, Mar 18 2014


  • juliet mascarenhas, bejai mangalore

    Tue, Mar 18 2014

    A wonderful article. Very well assessed ,Cent percent truth.Very educative. Eye opener and guide to the voters.Choice is yours.

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