Rahul tip on leadership: ‘let others take the glory’
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Echoing former US president John F Kennedy's famous remark, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country", Rahul also exhorted the youth to stop asking politicians what they can do and think about what, as citizens and the youth, they can do to help others.
Rahul was moderating a talk by Vinton G Cerf, vice-president and chief Internet evangelist for Google, on 'The future of Internet: 1.2 billion empowered Indians' at Jawahar Bhawan on Tuesday evening. It was part of a series of discussions organised by the Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies.
Referring to his discussion with Cerf earlier in the day, Rahul said the former had freed the movement of data. "This is a very good guide of leadership.
Somebody creates the environment and lets others take the advantage. You sit quietly and watch and let others take the glory," said Rahul.
His remarks came in the backdrop of his persistent refusal to assume any role in the government and his insistence on strengthening the organisation by roping in the young generation into politics.
While Rahul was engaged in an intense discussion with Cerf on how a university could become exclusivist, as a Harvard or an Oxford can cater to a selected few but cannot go to millions of other students, and about the implications of internet on the future of universities, a student from the audience asked how he (Rahul) could help given reports about Class VIII children not being able to read or write properly.
Rahul replied that there are two ways to look at how to provide a good education system — either in a linear fashion or exponentially. He said if Sam Pitroda had wanted to provide telephones to everybody in a linear fashion, he would not have achieved it. They (Pitroda and others) thought of a PCO and that led to the telecom revolution, as a result of which everybody has a mobile in his pocket today, he said. "To say that the internet is not connected to an eight-year-old child is to disconnect a large avenue (for the child). Let his aspirations catch fire. You are going to stop asking politicians how they are going to do it. First ask how you are going to do it."
Rahul cited an anecdote about his student days in England in a bid to explain the need for a non-arbitrary system. He said he was walking with two friends, an Englishman and a Nigerian, when the traffic light turned green. The Englishman crossed the road, but he and the Nigerian stopped. The Nigerian explained to the Englishman that in his country, he would be killed if he crossed when the light was green.
"For us, life is very arbitrary. We are used to complexities — how to deal with red lights, how junior ministers should deal with seniors. According to karma, everything is random. We are good at dealing with complexities. The challenge is to try and build a structure that is not random, not arbitrary," he said.
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