Monday Motivation: Festival of Thinkers

Recently, the young and dynamic Minister of Civil Aviation, GoI Shri. Jyotiraditya Scindia visited Symbiosis International University. He first delivered a speech to the students where he conveyed his thoughts on the meaning of success and how youth can align their success with the country’s progress. He talked highly of Symbiosis and the ethos the institution imbues in its students. Who could have been a better person to speak to the students about leadership than Shri. Scindia himself. Shri. Scindia floored everyone with his eloquent manner of speech which was replete with facts and figures, thus bringing to light the fact that he is a keen observer, an eclectic reader, and a man who has the foresight to bring in changes.

Shri. Scindia talked about the five tenets of Leadership. The first he said was Vision that a leader must have. He gave the example of Shri Jamshedji Tata who had set up one of the largest steel plants in the country on a barren piece of land. In the same context, he mentioned the Vision of Prof. Dr. S. B. Mujumdar, who founded Symbiosis 50 years ago and subsequently set up the vast campus in Lavale, on a hillock where education is imparted to thousands of students. He then talked about the courage and commitment a leader should have to pursue one’s goals. Shri Scindia mentioned the power of optimism that a leader must have to face adversity. He emphasized the importance of teamwork. He said that a leader must step outside of singularity and practice more plurality and multiplicity because only when a leader is inclusive can he allow others to share their ideas. But above all other attributes, he said that a leader must have compassion.

As we were all sitting enthralled by his speech the students, faculty and everyone including me were taken aback when he chose to step down from the dais, walked down the steps of the stage and went on to mingle with the students in person. It was unexpected but unique! His confidence emanated from his experiences and his power to remember his learning from them. He was sincerely interested in knowing what the students wanted to know! This is the mark of a leader! Whenever a student asked him a question, and there were many to the effect, he would ask them their name, the institute to which they belonged, and most importantly, he asked them, “what is your vision for the future?” This is exactly what universities prepare students for, to have a clear vision and pursue their Vision passionately. When one student posed a question about how to resolve the problem of students migrating from one state to another, to everyone’s amazement, he just replied, “why is that a problem at all?” He then went on to say that when students migrate from one state to another, they carry the knowledge of their state with them and when they go to other cities, they learn from them too and can bring back better solutions.

He said knowledge is not about limitations but about growing, bringing the world together- Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. A man of humility, Shri. Scindia even held Dr. S. B. Mujumdar’s hand to help him walk to the dais. With his knowledge and empathy, he embodies all the qualities of an erudite teacher. Therefore, I would say that he has all the virtues of being a leader who inspires all who interact with him.