“All dictators are ‘Hitler-bad’ and all democrats soft, flexible and nice”, right ?
Well, not easy to say – at least, for me !!
Undoubtedly I am a Gandhi ji and Sardar Patel fan / admirer but can we place both great men in one bracket ?
Can we call them 100 % Democrats ? Well Yes, but not 100 %.
For example, Gandhi ji, all his life, fought for freedom of India. For him opinions were very very sacred and important, but only his own opinions.
He was very very adamant. In fact, that is one of the reasons I admire him – his mental strength. He was “a one-man army” !!
Secondly ( second reason for my admiration), for his invention of “Satyagrah” – the peaceful and non-violent method of agitation and insisting upon an issue /opinion and achieving it, fighting for it, till the success is achieved. Peaceful yet uncompromising !!
I guess, I have to coin a new category for Gandhi ji :
Dictatorial and yet Lovable… Democrat ?
Sardar Patel, on the other hand was very flexible at times. Biggest example is, when he let Pundit Nehru become the first Prime Minister of free India. This ( PM’s seat / position ), was his ( Sardar Patel’s ) for the asking. Therefore, for me, he is the real democrat of the Indian politics. And yet, whenever his job ( India’s first Home Minister) demanded and in the larger National-interests, he proved to be a very efficient & a very ruthless administrator. And still in my mind at least, he remains a democrat !!
A very respectable, democratic and fair minded Dictator ?
Now let us move to a recent example – Dr. Manmohan Singh.
He is ( or was ) the strongest Finance minister ( in my opinion ) we ever had YET…..he has to be regarded as… the weakest Prime minister we ever had.
How many Dr. Manmohan Singhs we had ? Just the one. The same person !!
Have I confused you ?
MORAL OF THE STORY :
We tend to label people as dictators, democrats, strong, weak……etc. A person does not exist in a vacuum and same is true of a leader.
If Gandhi ji were born post-1947, would he still have become, the Gandhi ji we know ?
A great leader is the leader who changes his / her, T&C ( times and circumstances ), no doubt, but s/he still remains a product of… HIS or HER… T&C. Even the greatest are not able to, decide / choose, the Time and Place of their birth !!
What do you say ?
‘religiously’ religion-less and ‘religion-less-ly’ religious !!
( Image – courtesy Google ).