Needed: A leader with humility and shorn of flamboyance

BJP has been assiduously wooing Rajini and nudging him to join the party.
Needed: A leader with humility and shorn of flamboyance


J Jayalalithaa entered politics through sheer dramatics, succeeding her mentor MG Ramachandran, who was also from filmdom. With her sudden demise, it was thought that the era of make-believe politics has come to an end in the state. However, now another actor Rajinikanth has begun to play dramatics through his Hamletian concept of ‘to-be-or-notto-be’ to enter politics!
A week-long drama followed ever since Rajinikanth’s entry into  politics was almost confirmed by his brother Satyanarayana Rao Gaikwad from Bengaluru, who said, “It is people’s wish that Rajinikanth enter politics.” He insisted that the Superstar’s political foray was imminent. God alone knows what “people’s wish” he is talking about! Does he mean that a small mob of frenzied cinema-zealots masquerading as Rajinikanth fans represent the seven-crore plus people of Tamil Nadu? 
BJP has been assiduously wooing Rajini and nudging him to join the party. The vociferous Tamil Nadu BJP president Tamilisai Sounderarajan is on record saying: “The theme of Rajini’s politics is going to be anti-corruption and other than BJP, no party in Tamil Nadu is suitable to his theme.” But this national outfit received a snub  when Rao said that his brother prefers to float his own political party and may not join hands with anyone. According to him the name and the structure of the party were being worked out.  But BJP has not given up yet! 
The entire episode looks like continuation of the long-running theatre of the absurd. This became bizarre when Rajinikanth gave a clarion: “I will call you when there is war” and his frenzied fans immediately responded: “We are ready, Thalaiva (leader)” and to prove their servile loyalty, they put up huge banners all over the place. These zealots have reduced politics and war into a filmy joke! In a democracy, any adult citizen can enter politics at his/her pleasure. If Rajinikanth wants to do this, nobody can stop him. 
All  that is required is leadership qualities. Robert K Greenleaf (1977) defines a leader thus: “He is servant first…it begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve first. The conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of a need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions. For such it will be a later choice to serve-after leadership is established. The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them are different varieties of human nature.” Wonder in which variety Rajinikanth fits in!
Laub (1999) refines it further and states that  the servant-leader sees himself or herself as a servant first. From there the desire to lead emerges. In a sense for them leading becomes a form of serving. Servant-leadership is a state of mind and way of being rather than a concept that is defined. The true measure of the servant-leader “will be the positive growth of the people he or she leads.” Humility and lack of flamboyance are the hallmarks of such leadership. What Tamil Nadu needs today is such a leader. 
The hyperbolic drama with which Rajinikanth wants to ‘enter’ politics does not fit into this bill. Question is whether he is entering politics to serve or politics is entering him to grab power? If it is the latter, he will be doing a great disservice to the Tamils who made him out of nothing! 
—Writer is former Army and IAS Officer

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