Part I: 477th Maharana Pratap Jayanti
Courage is the quality that distinguishes great leaders from excellent managers.
In this month of May we celebrate 477th birth anniversary of Maharana Pratap, who is a subject of respect and pride for the Indian diaspora, around the world as he has become a symbol of courage, patriotism, sacrifice and struggle. On remembering his name, the picture of an incomparable warrior with the face aglow with bravery comes into our mind.
Though Mewar was always the best among the Rajput states, the kings of Mewar with support of their samants, nobles and the citizens established such traditions that small area or population of Mewar did not prove a hindrance in increasing the glory of Mewar. There came difficult times also when it seemed that the flag of Mewar would go down, but due to the valour and bravery of the Mewaris, if began touching the sky again.
Maharana Udai Singh, father of Maharana Pratap changed the centuries’ old tradition of “Perish but do not Surrender” to “Neither Perish nor Surrender”, and adopted “Krishna-Neetee”-the “POLICY of Lord Krishna” whose one name is also “Ranchod” -abandoning the battle field- to win a war…!
Over the past two decades, I have researched more than 50 rulers and the Prime Ministers of major kingdoms in Rajputana as part of my journey to write my first published coffee table book Rajputana Chronicles: Guns and Glories. I’ve found the defining characteristic of the best leadership is courage to make bold moves that transform their kingdoms.
Courageous leaders take risks that go against the grain of their kingdoms. They make decisions with the potential for revolutionary change in the governance. Their boldness inspires their teams, energizes subject, and positions their kingdom as leaders in societal change.
The dictionary definition of courage is “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear.” Courageous leaders lead with principles–their True North–that guides them when pressure mounts. They don’t shirk bold actions because they fear failure. They don’t need external admiration, nor do they shrink from facing criticism.
Courage is neither an intellectual quality, nor can it be taught in the classroom. It can only be gained through multiple experiences involving personal risk-taking. Courage comes from the heart.
As Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh once said, “The longest journey you will ever take is the 18 inches from your head to your heart.”