It’s a new year, and so many people love to say, “good riddance, 2008”; In my next few postings I would like to share with you what I have learnt in 2008.
Biggest lesson I learnt in 2008 is the power of inclusion. The emergence of Obama is a story of inclusion. Usually elections are fought on narrow lines, and most politicians forget they represent the entire country and not just those who voted for them. Obama has shown great courage, conviction, and 360 degree view of America while choosing key members of his team.
It is interesting that a man with such high sense of inclusion has his background rooted in three continents. Deep sense of inclusion probably brings with it other values. He showed respect for his opponents and their right to privacy, he resisted personal attacks even when he got the opportunity. What we see as a victory of social networking also emanates from Obama’s inclusive spirit. He did not depend on campaign funds from just a few; he included more than a million Americans in his cause – no wonder his victory became a cause for millions and not just one man’s aspiration. The more you include, the more you increase your chances of success. In a sense this is counter-intuitive. Isn’t success about exclusivity, isn’t success about one’s ability to exclude others from success?
OK, let’s take another example. The year gone by saw our Prime Minister consumed by one goal – of completing the 123 agreement with the US. This meant two things: one, it takes India into a nuclear future; two, it ushers in a new relationship with the US. For most of the history of independent India, the two largest democracies of the world have not been the best of allies even with the best of intentions – that past is now history, as we look forward to a new collaboration. From a different perspective, Dr Manmohan Singh’s presence in office for five years also comes from a spirit of inclusion – of the willingness to include different shades of people and perspectives, so you can meet the larger purpose.
We have seen how leaders of coalition governments without this spirit have not been able to last their full term.