A handy guide for leaders
It is very important, when you are a leader, to promise those who follow you all manner of things you are going to do for them. What? The people have no food to eat? Soon, they will, under your exemplary leadership. And they will also have schools, roads, bullet trains, money, and all sorts of both regular things and special goodies. It is vital that you do not put a time frame on this. Some people, usually the nasty sort, manage to keep track of such promises and throw them in your face at some later date. So never again say that you will bring back black money by some particular time. It should be enough to say that you will do it. You are a great leader, are you not? How dare anyone doubt or question you?
It is vital to have easily palpable, digestible and memorable slogans. To take the slogans further to the hearts of the people, you need a large collection of hard-working volunteer supporters. They will spread the word, champion your causes, and nudge the slogans along. Representation pic/Thinkstock
You must also look around you sharply for new things to promise. For instance, even though you have lived in this one country all your life, you may not have noticed that many people die in road accidents. Understandably you are shocked at this horrible information. You immediately promise to do something about it. One day.
You must make it clear that you have a larger vision than others around you. Therefore, you must raise your eyes above the filth below, preferably from an aeroplane. Then you can fly to foreign climes, shake hands, pose in photographs, take selfies, and perchance sign a deal or two. More importantly, you have to spread the word that you are a deep thinker and an effective doer.
Slogans. It is vital to have easily palpable, digestible and memorable slogans. These give your visionary ideas a little grounding, if one can dare to use such a pedestrian term. Did not the filth below remind you of a Clean India? There you go. Make in India. Feed in India. Grow in India and so on. I would not dare to suggest that anyone you know should actually get down to the ground and get working. That would be rude and disrespectful. You have promised, have you not, that one day you will do something?
To take the slogans further to the hearts of the people, you need a large collection of hard-working volunteer supporters. They will spread the word, champion your causes and nudge the slogans along. These supporters must be of various ages and from different social groups. Some will work on social media. Others will write columns. And there are those who will appear on TV for you. These will also make the excuses or provide reasons if perchance some anti-national person asks any too-clever-by-half questions.
It is possible that people from your own group will do things to embarrass you, far worse things than those that oppose you. It is imperative that you largely ignore them and everyone who is similar to them. This keeps them in their place and shows the world that you are far above them. Remember, the aeroplane can always come to your rescue. If you cannot remain completely silent, make a wise, generalised remark about good behaviour and then change into another gorgeous outfit, beautifully coordinated, starched, ironed and what not.
Have regular interactions with the people. To show how much you care, ask them what they would like to listen to you talk about. If people suggest uncomfortable topics — and some are just born trouble-makers — you must completely ignore them. You can discuss stirring topics like better quality pavements, how important it is to be good, listen to your mummy-daddy, and similar life-affirming stuff which is sure to put steel into the backbone of a nation.
There is also a chance that things will go wrong and bad things will happen. Make sure you do not address the nitty-gritties or the particulars. Always stay away. Make stirring speeches about matters that you care about, only skirting vaguely; forget the actual thing that everyone is bothered about. People forget. And since you have largely stuck to the no time-frame rule, nothing will ever come back to stick on you.
Silence, you will discover, is a great virtue. Oh, that’s what the man in the same job before you tried to practise too. Ah well...
Ranjona Banerji is a senior journalist. You can follow her on Twitter @ranjona