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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A.P.J. Abdul Kalam - Can Our Leaders Learn Something From Him?


Finally the Indian Jugaad did clicked once again and we ended up delivering one of the finest opening ceremonies ever. Many British tabloids are even touting it to be better than the Beijing Olympics2008. We started well and hope will end well also. The skunks that were primarily responsible for bringing shame to our country were seen all over the place with those fancy Sherwanis and designer suites. There were many attractions for the night – from the child Tabla prodigy to the flag snatching exercise of Pakistani contingent. But for me the crux of the attraction was a media shy, no-nonsense gentleman sitting somewhere in the cubicle number 37 with his trademark hair style and flaunting his smile when the TV cameras flashed on him. Yes I am talking about a certain A.P.J.Abdul Kalam.

A man of little words and high values and perhaps, one of the finest aerospace scientists the world has seen. A man who always believed – let the action do the talking, not words. A true example of simple living and high thinking. It was great to see the jam-packed stadium cheering to their best whenever his name was announced as part of the invitees.

I still remember a story told to me sometime back. In 1973 APJ took charge of India’s first satellite program, commonly known as SLV-3. The idea was to have our own satellite Rohini in orbit by 1980. As expected the whole team was new, jubilant and of course a collection of finest brains. At four minutes before the satellite launch, the computer began to go through the checklist of items that needed to be checked. One minute later, the computer program put the launch on hold; the display showed that some control components were not in order. The experts, four or five of them — told not to worry; they had done their calculations and there was enough reserve fuel. So APJ bypassed the computer, switched to manual mode, and launched the rocket. In the first stage, everything worked fine. In the second stage, a problem developed. Instead of the satellite going into orbit, the whole rocket system plunged into the Bay of Bengal. It was a big failure.

That evening ISRO chief Satish Dhawan called for a huge press briefing. Journalists from across the globe were present to listen to the technical part of the story. APJ took the entire blame on himself being the project head and promised a success soon. Within one year the re-launch was done and we had our first satellite in orbit. Great day in our space technology, I must say. That evening yet another press briefing was called. Just before entering to the press room APJ called his deputy Krishna Aiyar and ask him to address the press in place of him instead. That’s what a true leader is – take the blame for the failures and lead by example when it comes to praise and let the team take all the praise.

In contrast look at our leaders now. When the CWG was in disarray, all these Kalmadis, Bhanots, Darbaris were in a blaming spree and the best they did is vomiting nonsense. From MCD; to the dog catching team. From daily wage laborers; to the poor beggars on Delhi streets. They blamed everyone but themselves for their failure. Now when thousands (who genuinely wanted our face be saved) slogged 24*7 after that to get the games to this stage – The rascals were seen all over the place with Sherwanis and designer suits taking the limelight. If this is not enough, they are expecting a pat on the back for such spectacular show. Now it seems the mantra for success in today’s world is: When it comes to blaming – Please don’t blame me, and hang-on I am giving an excuse and a scapegoat to blame. But if you are there to praise – To hell with the rest. All are for just namesake. It is me and only me who should run away with the garland.

Can’t a guy like A.P.J inspire these crooks to mend their ways? Or are these guys so thick skinned that they are past the point of no return? Or are we missing a man like APJ in our political circle? – who won’t ever shy away from his responsibilities and would always call a spade a spade? The otherday while I was writing about the best prime minister that we ever had and all the while I was thinking – we might not be sure who the best PM we ever had but for sure A.P.J. Abdul Kalam could be the best PM we never had. Thanks to Kalmadi who thought of adding one Azad behind APJ’s name while addressing during CWG opening ceremony. Just wondering from where he got this notion of adding Azad at the back – And as such corrupts shouldn’t be allowed to take names of true leaders like APJ anyway.

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