Curled up in an armchair, on a lazy winter afternoon, with a newspaper in hand has been my favourite pastime. I have always been fascinated by the print media; you can soak up the news and enjoy each word as if it’s happening before your own eyes. This admiration for the print media was confirmed again when I came across the Lead India campaign being conducted by the Times of India. What a novel idea! As we move into the 21st century, we Indians are projecting our country like never before. It has become a hub for IT services, jobs are being outsourced to Indians from US and UK, people are flocking to our country for medical treatment and we are making an impact in most of the fields. It is just appropriate that we should get a leader who is able to rise above party politics and serve the country.
The Lead India campaign started with invitation to readers to send in entries of people who are qualified, have achieved something in their life and are willing to lead the nation. Many entries poured in and a short-listing of the candidates was done by experts who zeroed in on eight candidates from diverse fields. The second round of this campaign has just begun on Star One, where the candidates will face a panel of judges and battle it out to become the winner. The programme was introduced by Mr. Amitabh Bachchan who spoke with his characteristic eloquence on the demands of time and the need of the hour for the youth to take up their responsibilities. It was then taken over by Mr. Anupam Kher who will be anchoring the show for the next ten episodes. His sense of humour adds a spark to the show and livens it up. The panel consists of three permanent judges and a fourth temporary judge who will be an expert in the field in which the candidates are tested. The three eminent judges who will select the winner are Ms. Kiran Bedi, Mr. Javed Akhtar and Mr. Vikas Singh.
Kiran Bedi, as we all know was the first woman to join Indian Police Service in 1972. She has several achievements and awards to her credit and just recently she opted for voluntary retirement. Javed Akhtar a poet, lyricist and script writer, is a recipient of several National and Film fare awards. Vikas Singh is the senior editor of Times of India, and with such distinguished judges we can expect the outcome to be fair and justified.
The eight candidates are from diverse fields ranging from law to police to nonprofit organizations posing a tough competition for each other. Four candidates were introduced in the first episode. The other four will come in the second episode followed by competitive rounds where they will be given knotty situations and asked to give appropriate solutions.
What should be the attributes of a leader? Personally, I feel he or she should be educationally qualified, committed and desirous of making a change. His honesty and integrity should be above board and he should be forward-looking. There must be several people in our country with these qualities but due to the system are unwilling to come forward and work in this setup. When we think of politics the first thing that comes to mind is that politics is the last haven of scoundrels, an oft repeated statement though not entirely true. Even today there are many politicians who are stalwarts in their field. But they are few in number. The best brains opt for professions other than politics. An environment has to be created where good, honest and hardworking citizens voluntarily come up for active participation in politics. This is possible only when the youth come forward with a determination to make a difference. Only recently, a team of students from IIM and other institutes have formed a political party and are trying to get into the system. If we have more such parties or if we join their party and strengthen it, things will begin to look better. It is just a matter of time before India takes the lead as a developed, progressive and rich nation. The onus of fulfilling this dream lies on the youth of our country. On us.