I haven’t been able to live up to a few of my own magnanimous gestures at times. Having given myself more credit than I deserve, I have fought hard to live up to my promises; sometimes, to others, but often, to myself. I am just one person, responsible for my own actions, and the only one to bear the consequences.
Imagine Gandhi, Nehru, and others, who took a few such magnanimous decisions for 700 million Indians. Was Gandhi fair in asking the Indian Government to give Pakistan the money India technically owed them, so that they could fund their on-going proxy tribal war in Kashmir? Was he trying to be fair because India had to be fair to her neighbours? or was he exhibiting some personal gesture to himself? – that the people he leads are always fair to others. What statement was he trying to make?
Was Nehru fair in asking India to be secular? Did he (or they, the Congress) base the decision that allowed Indian Muslims to stay in India, on his own principles or on a more collective mindset of India? Pakistan was enforcing the Hindu exodus from its land and Nehru decided that India will accept them all, and there would be no corresponding enforcement from the Indian side. In a way, its like offering the other chin…..
Now, on the history per se, I have no strong opinion because I am not really privy to what exactly transpired then. The facts, the thoughts, the opinions; I have to read a lot more history before I am even close to giving my own opinion….But the point in question here is about whether leaders have the rights to be magnanimous, when all they are implicitly entrusted with is just the main cause. There are two “causes” here –
– The issue where magnanimity is being shown – India being secular (Nehru), Give Money (Gandhi)
– The issue on which leaders were made – Independent India (Nehru, Gandhi)
I might be mistaken here; these might not be two separate entities. Independent India might subsume Secular India or Internationally Fair India. But from first looks, it appears that some form of constitution had to be in place before the leaders took these decisions. But of course, I am grossly overlooking the urgency of the situation in 1947. The extreme nature of Partition might make these arguments on academic aspects of leadership look trivial; or to some extent, even offensive.
But in less extreme cases where leaders make choices for their “subjects,” do they have the right to be magnanimous on issues that are out of their leadership domain in a strict sense.
At a personal level, when individuals make commitments, stick to their signatures, their word, their promises, do they reckon with all the other agents who actually have to carry out their word? Agents like emotion, selfish instinct, reflex, malleable thought, maturity, micro-evolution, etc. Leadership at the micro level seems to be so hard……I wonder about Gandhi…