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Real leadership qualities

india Updated: Sep 09, 2012 21:40 IST

Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

The next time someone tells you of the glories of Russian president Vladimir Putin, you might be inclined to say 'go tell it to the birds'. Let us stop you in your tracks. Mr Putin is doing a good job of doing just that. Recently, he took to the skies over Siberia in a powered hang glider to guide endangered birds on their winter migration path. Now, we don't know of too many world leaders who would do that quite so easily. But our lad Vlad is a different kettle of fish.

In the old days, the only time we saw leaders of the erstwhile Soviet Union was on the balcony above the Red Square inspecting the majesty of the military parade. The leaders from Khrushchev to Andropov would wave woodenly leading many to speculate that they have already shuffled off the mortal coil and had been propped up to fool the faithful. But Mr Putin is seen riding bare-chested on horseback and enjoys a lifestyle that would knock Donald Trump into a cocked hat. And we admire him for this. Our leaders on the other hand may stash away a few bob for the rainy day but you will rarely find any of them being as adventurous as the ornithologically inclined Mr Putin or indeed display an 'if you've got it, flaunt it' lifestyle. No, barring a few, it is the staid old white kurta pyjama for our politicos, though now and again we see the flash of a designer watch.

We sorely wish that there was a little more colour in our public life. Now we don't expect our lot to take to the air in a glider to act as a shepherd to birds, but we would like to see them outdoors playing some sort of sport once in a while. However, we can't quite see, say, Nitin Gadkari dribbling down the basketball court or AK Antony taking a swing around the tennis courts. However, we suggest that they take up some sort of physical activity, for as mentioned in these columns recently, it might come in handy when wrestling with the problems of the day in Parliament and the legislatures.