Thursday, February 11, 2010

"Is Sonia Gandhi A Servant Leader?" - Prof.M.S.Rao

“I must follow the people. Am I not their leader?” - Benjamin Disraeli

The Indian soil is rich and great enough to accommodate several leaders such as Annie Besant and Mother Teresa who are of foreign origin but made India as their home. Another humble woman whom India and Indians warmly accommodated is Sonia Gandhi who has all ingredient of a servant leader. She showed her mettle and courage in number of ways such as forming the Congress government twice at the Center and balancing all coalitions with great tact ness and diplomacy.

She is a very cool and mature woman with humble origins. She lost her husband Rajiv Gandhi and is the driving force in Indian politics. She underwent several trials and tribulations. She was insulted and humiliated by her political opponents. She remained cool and composed and delivered goods more than expected.

Sonia is not after power. Although she was offered Prime Ministership after the assassination of her husband Rajiv Gandhi, she refused the position. It is a clear indication of her intentions of not hankering after power. After P.V.Narasimha Rao became the Prime Minster, the Congress I could not retain the power and was forced to sit in opposition.

Sonia’s Achievements:

"True leadership must be for the benefit of the followers, not to enrich the leader." - John C. Maxwell

A manager is required when the sailing is smooth. However the leader is required when the ship is sailing through storm. Similarly Sonia took up leadership of the Congress ship at a turbulent time as the opposition leader and started building the party and finally brought the party to power successfully through coalition. Sonia should have become the Prime Minister but she refused once again occupying the position as she was never after power. She installed an intellectual and economist Dr. Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister who is from a minority Sikh community. She demonstrated to world that anyone can become Prime Minister of this great country - India. She proved to the world that the top position can be occupied not only by Hindus but also by the people of minority communities.

Maintaining coalitions is not an easy task. However she maintained the coalition government with conflicting ideologies with her political dexterity and acumen. She once again led Congress party to power at the Centre in 2009 and reinstalled the same capable Sikh as the Prime Minister. This time also she could have become Prime Minister or she could have installed her son, Rahul Gandhi as Prime Minister. However, she sent clear signals to all that they are not after power.

Sonia’s Humility:

If Sonia wanted to become Prime Minster she would have easily become in 2004 elections. People questioned her foreign origins. Sushma Swaraj threatened to shave her head and sleep on the ground if Sonia Gandhi became the Prime Minister. If Sonia had the attitude of ‘tit for tat’ she was in a position to become the Prime Minister and saw to it that Sushma Swaraj shaved her head and slept on the ground and then Sonia would have resigned from the post of Prime Minister. However Sonia is a magnanimous woman who has servant kind of attitude not revenge kind of attitude. Therefore, she installed Dr. Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minster and earned global reputation as one of the top powerful women in the world. It indicates her humility and concern for the people

What is Servant Leadership?

"Being a leader who serves is very different from being a servant leader." - Isabel O. Lopez

Robert Greenleaf coined the concept of servant leadership. It was later advocated by leadership gurus like Stephen covey, Peter Senge, Ken Blanchard, Larry Spears and others.

The concept is not new to Indians as much long ago Chanakya wrote in his book Arthashastra as “the king [leader] shall consider as good, not what pleases himself but what pleases his subjects [followers]” “the king [leader] is a paid servant and enjoys the resources of the state together with the people.” (Reference http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Servant_leadership)

Sonia – A Servant Leader:

Sonia is a great woman with great heart. Sonia is filled with competence and compassion with a servant kind of attitude to serve people. She is a selfless lady with simplicity and humility. She is a democratic leader and servant leader. She consults and takes decisions. She is the real force in Indian politics. She is a deserving woman who can be emulated by other women irrespective of geographic boundaries.

With the qualities of servant leader, Sonia joins in the category of servant leaders like Jesus, Andre and Connie, Martin Luther King Jr., Thomas Jefferson, Hillary Clinton, Ken Melrose and others.


“Every country is our country because it is the country of our God” - Tariq Ibn Ziad

We take pride about Annie Besant and Mother Theresa as Indians. However these people had foreign origins. Why do some people object to the foreign origin of Sonia Gandhi who has become an Indian by loving and marrying an Indian, Rajiv Gandhi? Does it not sound contradictory? Both birth and death is not anybody’s choice. It is destiny. If Sonia was born in Italy it was destiny. She was destined to born in Italy and rule India.

What is wrong when Macedonian born woman Mother Teresa became an Indian and acquired Nobel Prize and Bharat Ratna? All Indians welcomed her with open hands. What is the hitch for few people in accepting Sonia as an Indian? According to Indian tradition, the daughter-in-law comes to her husband’s house and stays. That is what she did. It is our privilege that she is leading the nation successfully and serving Indians like a servant leader.

We Indians are magnanimous in accommodating several people of foreign origins. Now also Indians have demonstrated same thing by accepting and accommodating Sonia Gandhi as Indian wholeheartedly.


Dr.Ratnesh Gupta said...

Dear Sonia,

You have touched million hearts of Indians through servant leadership. Professor Rao rightly said with examples.

Ram Avtar said...

I am really touched with the examples that you have shared in this column whih depicts Sonia as The Great Sonia...

Ram Avtar.