Time magazine chose Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, as the Person of the Year 2010. At the age of 26 he is a remarkable success with his networking enterprise which has made him one of the richest young persons in the world. I do admire Zuckerberg’s skill and enterprise. But does he deserve to be the Person of the Year? Is Time indirectly telling us that entrepreneurial success is the most important quality today?
The readers of Time had wanted Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, as the Person of the Year. But Time dishonoured its readers’ wish. The common person does not determine the codes of success or greatness; it is determined by the powers. Such powers can even arrest those whom the common persons may acclaim as heroes. The desire of the Time readers, however, indicates that the common person still admires certain age-old values such as honesty and transparency.
My choice as the Person of the Year is Dr E. Sreedharan, the man at the helm of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.
Dr Sreedharan is the epitome of what the readers of Time and most common persons would demand from a public figure. He epitomises integrity and transparency. When asked by his guru, Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha, to give a one-word answer to how he succeeded in achieving such a remarkable feat as the Delhi Metro, Dr Sreedharan’s answer was: “Integrity.”
Would WikiLeaks ever be able to find any incriminating conversation that emanated from Dr Sreedharan? I think not. Of course, Dr Sreedharan is not a political figure. But why should chicanery be the normal attribute of a politician? Can’t a politician be simply honest and straightforward? Why not? Why should the WikiLeaks revelations evoke so much fulmination from politicians across the world? Why did these politicians speak so much, about their counterparts or other countries, which they would be ashamed of if made public?
In more plain words, why has the age-old value of honesty died so pathetically?
Dr Sreedharan has launched a Foundation with the intention of bringing back the forgotten values of yesteryears. Foundation for Restoration of National Values [FRNV] is “an effort to rekindle the love and respect in the people for their society and country by awakening them to their national and cultural values,” in Dr Sreedharan’s words. In 2008, the year in which the Foundation was set up, FRNV organised a seminar in Delhi which was attended by leaders of national parties and top-level bureaucrats. The papers presented were later anthologised into a book titled Restoring Values published by Sage India. Dr Sreedharan presented a copy of the book to each employee of DMRC.
Dr Sreedharan says, “DMRC is not an organisation, it is a culture.” How many leaders today would be able to say that about their institution?
That’s why I elect Dr Sreedharan as the Person of the Year.
FRNV has a website. If you are interested, you may click here. But the Foundation is not a movement at the grassroots level. It is rather meant for decision makers. However, anyone can become a friend of the Foundation by filling in a form online.
[Photo courtesy: Timescontent.com