Date :18-Nov-2022

By Kartik Lokhande :
PRIME Minister Mr. Narendra Modi’s meetings with the world leaders and the declaration at G20 Summit that today’s era must notbeofwar,reflectsonething for sure -- India has a strong leadership rooted in Indian values but transcending the boundaries of nation in impact. One more thing that becomes clear is that India is amongvery fewcountriesnow that have a strong leadership. For, much of the p r e s e n t - d a y world is bogged down by crisis. As is known, the world is passing through a phase of transition. It is not only about COVID-19 and its impact on global economic order.

It is also about reshaping of political order due to issues that have hit the collective consciousness of the comityofnations.Issuesrange from global terrorism to rise of fundamentalism, and contributetovolatility. Besides,liberalism without any stability of direction and rebellion without any cause appear to have weakened the democratic setups of different hues. For example, after a series of elections, once again Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu has emerged as leader of Israel. But, the phase of disturbance underscored that there was no other leader stronger than Netanyahu was. Similarly, Mr. Mario Draghi of Italy has resigned in frustration. But, Italians in general feel that there is no as solid an option to him at present. The oncesuperpower United Kingdom hasbeenfacingleadershipcrisis for quite some time. Since the quitting of Mr. David Cameron, the UK has seen Prime Ministers in quick succession without anyone rising to the challenge as formidably as he did. Now, Mr. Rishi Sunak offers some promise but he, too, is faced with challenges. It will be interesting to watch whether Mr. Sunak emerges as the leader that the crisis-riddenUK needs the most. But,theUK’scrisis of leadership has been pretty clear in the past few years. The US also has seen murky elections.
The public intellectuals there have been expressing opinions that the US was in crisis of leadership as the people had to choose between Mr. Donald Trump and Mr. Joe Biden, and no one better than both. More recently, despite falling approval ratings, Mr. Biden received a boost with Democrats retaining control of the US Senate. But, once again, Mr. Trump has announced that he would run for the President in 2024. The third face in the race is yet to emerge. Even if that face emerges in due course of time, whether that face becomes a leader of impact to pull the US out of crisis in terms of civilisationalmaturitywillbeinteresting to watch. Mr.Vladimir Putin and Mr. Xi Jinping are ‘strongmen’ leading Russia and China respectively. But, their leadership has the trappings of pushing respective countries into deeper crisis at a later stage. Then, there is Sri Lanka, where President Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa was driven out of hisofficeamidpopular unrest.
There are some African countries where crisis is the buzzword. Pakistan is turning into a country with turmoil being part of its polity, economy, and demography. It has not been able to see a strong leader, who would pull the country out of the abyss of radicalism. Its neighbour Afghanistan is no better. One can go on and on citing examples of countries to prove that many countries today are facing the crisis of leadership. Therearemanyreasonsthat have contributed to this situation. But, the biggest one is probably the civilisational degeneration in many areas. The first and foremost could be the education system that has started focussing more on ‘Marks-ism’ instead of creating excellent human beings who can think originally. Further, as far as opportunities are concerned, more emphasis is being laid on ‘brands of education’ (institutions and degrees) instead of treating thinking of an individual as a capital.Then, there is ‘elective merit’ that has degenerated into something that has to do with moneybagism and muscle-power statement. Social media has just worsened the situation. For, though they are pure businesses, unsuspecting people (who are voters, by the way) start believing anything and everything that ‘trends’ on it and fall prey to the propagandist machinations of those who are trying to decide who gets to power.
The so-called social media is setting narratives in favour of the highest bidder of services, and is turning people away from own thinking. Thus, it is creating a situation where people prefer ‘following’over‘leading’.These aspects (there may be many others) have led to a situation wherein those who emerge from such a crisis-ridden society are being treated as leaders on the foamy parameters. If one compares India with many other nations, one feels that there is a strong leadership at the helm of affairs at present. Disturbed by the rise of India at global stage, forces -- internal and external -- have been resorting to all sorts of strategiesandtacticstoputthe present-dayIndianleadership in trouble. But, people know that no other leader in India can provide an alternative to Mr. Modi’s all-encompassing and globally effective leadership. But, that again, underscores the need for having a civilisational mechanism wherein equally effective, if notbetter,leadershipkeepson emerging from the society. India has the potential to be a global leader in this regard too. To make it happen, leadership- generating civilisational mechanism has to be putinplaceandstrengthened. For, no crisis is insurmountable if leadership is strong and good.