Both President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi come from different kinds of political upbringing. But when it comes to leadership, they share a similar view which is quite in contrast with most of the politicians of the country who tend to go to any extent to leave their legacy, in their own lifetime.
Some politicians acquire self-declared greatness in their own lifetime, some get their statues constructed even as they don’t know if their political career would last long. Some politicians invest their entire political capital to ensure a golden future for their children and their clan. Modi and Mukherjee, however, appear to be coming from different planets when compared to other politicians of the present. They have also proved that true leaders never desire to leave a legacy for themselves. It is for the people to decide when the leader is gone.
On two occasions in recent months, Modi and Mukherjee have talked about the legacy they may like to leave behind. Both have sounded similar. If the greatness of their view is to be analysed, it draws a parallel with India’s first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru’s last wish to get his ashes thrown in the Ganga.
— India Today (@IndiaToday) March 17, 2017
“When I die, I should like my body to be cremated. If I die in a foreign country, my body should be cremated there and my ashes sent to Allahabad. A small handful of these ashes should be thrown into the Ganga and the major portion of them disposed of in the manner indicated below. No part of these ashes should be retained or preserved,” Nehru had once written in Will and Testament.
While speaking at an India Today event today, President Mukherjee said, “I am part of this democracy. I am part of the mass and will melt into it without leaving a legacy.”
“I will never consider that because of holding the office, either my wisdom has increased or my importance has increased. Always I kept in mind, and which I think, and it is very relevant, that office is nothing but a service. And the service to the people. Umpteen number of times I have spoken, for whatever I have feel,” the President added.
PM Modi had echoed similar sentiments during an interview to CNN-New 18 in September. When asked where does Narendra Modi like to find himself in Indian history, the PM said, “Why should a person who loves to live in the present worry about history? One must not make that mistake in one’s life. Unfortunately, in our country, governments, political parties, leaders have always tried hard to make their own image.
“What if we had dedicated to build the image of our country rather than our own? The image of this country is the unending legacy of 1.25 billion people. Modi is just one of those 1.25 billion Indians, nothing more. Modi’s identity must get lost among those 1.25 billion people. There will be no greater joy for me than Modi getting lost in the pages of history.”
We wish all politicians make similar wishes for themselves. India would become much greater than what it is now.