Humbly dumbly

It began with Mani Shankar Aiyar’s outburst. “I promise you in 21st century Narendra Modi will never become the Prime Minister of the country. ..

But if he wants to distribute tea here, we will find a place for him.” Then a few days later P Chidambaram’s jibe followed: "What he (Modi) knows about economics can be written on the back of a postage stamp.”

Those public comments against Modi’s humble beginnings as a tea boy may have created a storm in a tea cup but to me and perhaps for some others too it smacked of arrogance and disregard for dignity of labour. And I must emphasise I am not taking up the cudgels for NaMo.

It is not uncommon for politicians to engage in a war of words and trade brickbats especially when elections are round the corner. However I couldn’t help thinking about one thing. Why can’t a once tea boy or cow herd or for that matter even a shoe shine boy aspire to be a CEO, leader or prime minister as long as he has the capability and gets elected? Didn’t Lionel Messi, the Argentine football captain serve tea to support his football training?

My mind instantly raced back to that famous book ‘From a log cabin to the white house’ which tells the story of a young boy who grew up to become one of the most important leaders in American history. Born in a log cabin, Abraham Lincoln faced a life of extreme poverty and hardship. Without losing his gentle nature and sense of humour, he surmounted these and many other obstacles to attain the highest office in the land and the enduring love of the American people.

Talking of log cabins, I am compelled to cite the example of yet another American. He too was born into poverty, grew up in a log cabin, did odd jobs from carpenter to janitor and went on to become the president of the country.  It was none other than James A Garfield, the 20th president of the USA.

Some walked barefoot to school and sold peanuts on the highway to supplement the income of parents and later in life went on to occupy top positions in their country. I am talking about William Ruto, the deputy president of Kenya. One can cite numerous examples of men and women who scaled the top from nothing except a dream they pursued through sheer grit and determination.

Indeed, as proven by so many, to reach the top and be a leader, one’s background matters little as long the person is of sound integrity; what really counts is the ability to lead, to delegate and inspire through diligence and dedication for the good of people.

Did I say shoe shine boy? Well, Sidney Weinberg, longtime leader of Goldman Sachs started out at the company as a janitor brushing hats and wiping mud from the shoes of the firm’s partners. So let’s not dismiss anyone downright and forget that every citizen of a country has a right to pursue his or her dream.

Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi? Who will win the battle royale of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019


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