When Sundar Pichai said at the Sri Ram College of Commerce in New Delhi that he would not have qualified to join the prestigious college on the grades that he had, he was raising a very fundamental question.
The Indian-born new CEO of Google is on his first visit to India and is expected to make some major announcements that will benefit India.
But that is not what is important for me.What stuck me in his words was his brutal honesty in admitting that he was an average grader in college. Maybe a successful leader can flaunt his weaknesses at such gatherings to show that he is not ashamed to talk about his flaws because he has reached the top despite those hurdles.
But there is a more important lesson in this for all of us. Is a good grade enough to take you to the top of the ladder?Actually, a little bit of research would show that most of those who have reached the top have been average students,worse many of them have been drop-outs.
In fact, if one checks the list of top 100 Forbes entrants at least 40 per cent of those were drop- outs for various reasons and had to discontinue their studies or take a temporary break.
The list features not only Indians but the most successful business and other top leaders of the world.
The latest move was to make graduation a minimum qualification for contesting the panchayat elections in Harayana by the new BJP government headed by Khattar.
There had been a big debate on a move that normally should have been welcomed by the people who have been making fun of their illiterate representatives in the assemblies and parliament.
It was earlier said that they were left with no choice because meritorious or educated candidates were not available. But now that a move has been started to set up minimum educational standards for politicians it is being said that this move is undemocratic because if this is implemented it would deprive at least 50 per cent of the state’s population of their democratic right of contesting elections.
Besides, there is another point that cannot be overlooked in this context. If we see the record of the successful leaders of the country the topmost name that comes to mind is that of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi about whom the Illustrated Weekly carried an article that began by saying that if she applied for a clerk’s job in her own government she would not qualify.
Indian history also shows that one of the most popular,powerful and successful kings of all times was Akbar who became King at the age of 12. On the other hand the most learned politician of our times who a master of many languages was P V Narsimha Rao was also the most corrupt. That was before UPA II came to power that is.
Does that have any lessons for us?
By Amitabh Srivastava