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The New Indian Hero

Can you guess, whom I am talking about? Which new kid off the block is it? Someone in Hollywood, or in the sporting arena? Or some maths Olympiad or spelling bee Whiz? Couldn’t really be further off the mark.

The person who has caught my attention – is another old man. [The last man – to have caught the national sub-conscious with some endearing freshness was Dr. A.P.J]. Not quite a maverick – of which heros are normally made of. But a real solid hard core professional, with some delightful old school work and living style.

The kind of people, who call a spade a spade. Nothing flashy at all about them, zero tolerance for corruption, all about competence and team spirit. Consistent track record of executing large, mega, hyper complex projects before time and within costs. To top it, someone who wakes up at 0430 hours every day, does yoga in the morn and sleeps at 2130 hours.

The type of person India is desperately short of now. Just a thousand odd such people, 50 in every state – and we will be on our road to become a powerhouse in all spheres of life – economic, social, political, emotional and spiritual. People who can take the bull by its horns and get things done.

Someone who can take the lonely middle path in the India divided. The divide - in one side flanked by the inordinate love for the lucre and the limelight and the other by the play safe, protect ones limited turf, procure ones own peace and silently look other ways as the rest of the world goes to dogs. This divide in India is more damaging than the digital divide [of the haves and have nots of computing skills] or the North-South of divide [of progression vs regression] – because both sides of the divide are hurtling backwards with the speed of a bullet train.

Someone, who not just does it himself. But who also – urges, motivates and creates a large band of equally committed and competent professionals who use old school values and new age techniques to make India march forward with globally acceptable standards of efficiency and productivity. The glorious part of all this – our hero has achieved all that being from within the government sector all along.

Yes, I am talking of Dr. E. Sreedharan – with a tongue twister of an ‘E’. The man armed with the laurels of Delhi Metro, the Konkan Railway and Kolkotta Metro. I am sure he has numerous other feathers in his cap. But whatever little I know of him, is enough to have him as my hero of the decade. Viva Dr. Sreedharan.

I am pretty sure, there more such greats in our public sectors all over the country. In the academic institutions, the Navratnas, the banks and the bureaucracy. But we need many more – thousands - much visible, talked about luminaries who can inspire the innate insipidity into giant leaps.

Thanks STOI for carrying his interview last weekend. The trigger for this post.

September 21, 2010


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