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Advani against dynasty leadership

With Rahul in mind, the Opposition leader says good leaders are not born but made, reports Shekhar Iyer.

india Updated: Jan 07, 2007 21:23 IST

Leader of Opposition LK Advani has said the concept of dynastic leadership seen in certain political parties is deeply violative of both the democratic ideal and the spirit of the modern times.

Addressing a Rotary district conference on leadership, Advani said on Sunday that "It is my belief that good leaders are made not born. And they certainly do not become eligible to be leaders simply because they are born into a particular family."

Without taking names of any political party or family, Advani said, "In democracy, all are born with an equal right to lead, provided they have the merit, ability and people’s support to assume the leadership responsibility."

Advani’s reference to the dynasty leadership was seen in the context of the clamour by Congress leaders for Rahul Gandhi to play a greater role in the party ahead of the crucial assembly polls.

Drawing a distinction between 'netagiri', which he called a widely prevalent phenomenon in politics, and 'netritva', Advani said political leaders were getting greater attention than they deserved.

Advani said, "If good leaders are made and not born, it implies that good leadership – in politics or in other sphere of society – entails certain basic qualities."

Only those who have gone through the grind of life, experienced the rough and tumble of their professions, faced the ups and downs with fortitude and felt the pain and suffering of fellow human beings emerged as true leaders, he said.

"Those who have taken life-defining decisions at critical junctures, made sacrifices whenever the situation demanded, made a good study of the problems in their chosen domain, and demonstrated their capacity to effectively deal with the challenges before their organisations also are true leaders."

Advani said those who learnt to make one’s self subservient to the larger goal that one is trying to pursue, developed the ability to motivate others with their character and not merely with their words; and remained true to their core beliefs and principles could be true leaders in society.

"The field of netritva is multi-layered. The difficulty in covering it arises partly because leadership or ‘netritva’ in our society, especially in modern times, is generally understood as ‘political leadership’. Thus, neta is almost invariably a political neta."

Advani said netagiri is a widely pravalent phenomenon in the political process in today’s India. However, it is quite different from netritva. The latter connotes a combination of positive attributes such as vision, determination, and ability to accomplish a formidable task by mobilising a community of supporters.

In contrast, the common perception of netas, which obtains in the public mind, is not a very positive one. At the same time, political leaders in India get far more attention and importance than they intrinsically deserve. The disproportionately high attention and importance that political leaders get is, in fact, at the cost what is due to leaders in other fields of national life, he said.

Advani said, "Today, India needs good leaders in education, administration, business, culture and arts, media, diplomacy, research institutions, voluntary organisations, and even in religious and spiritual spheres. Good leadership is needed, and is often present, even in those areas where its its necessity is least recognised and its presence least noticed. I am referring to the family sphere."