Thursday, September 7, 2017

Individual vs position: Public figures are bound by the people they represent

Dr KK Aggarwal

As individuals, we are different from what our position in society. But as public figures, whether elected, nominated or selected, we represent the collective consciousness of the people who we represent. We are bound by the people we represent.

Public figures often become icons, brand ambassadors, role models for people and influence thought, knowledge and behavior. When we become public figures, people watch us, follow us, trust us and idolize us. They often look to us for guidance, inspiration and support.

Public figures lose their privacy. This is the price that has to be paid for fame. It is up to you whether you would like to be a public figure.

But, once you choose to become a public figure, you have to be neutral, impartial, balanced (sthit pragya i.e. harmony with oneself, environment and nature) and not be disturbed by emotions.

Public figures must practice detached attachment, look for opportunity in every adversity. Listening skills are important. 

As public figures, we have no reason to be emotional, reactive, or prone to anger because as public figures our actions are being closely watched and scrutinized. Everything that we speak and do or how we behave towards others has an impact on people, especially the impressionable young minds. All in all, a public person must be a positive person.

Leaders or public role models should behave with dignity or in a manner worthy of their position, particularly in a crisis or handling a tough or difficult situation. This will set an example for others to follow. Our behavior creates our image, what others see us as. Remember, fame is not everlasting; it is fickle and may change at any moment. So, it has to be managed well.

Members of Parliament represent the public as they are directly elected by the people. Being an MP is a people-oriented job with direct interaction with the public. MPs have leadership roles and being in the public eye always, they have to lead by example and must serve as an example of good conduct.

Mr Anant Kumar Hegde allegedly assaulted doctors at a private hospital in Sirsi, Karnataka in January this year, over an alleged delay in treatment of his mother. This assault was captured on CCTV camera.

A public figure, who had no control over his anger, so much so that he was driven to physically assault another person, a doctor in this case, has been made a Minister of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship entrusted with developing skills and promoting innovative thinking. Action has yet to be taken against him. This has sent a wrong message to the society, especially to the young.

I know that I have changed after taking over as the National President IMA and we expect the same from Mr Anant Kumar Hegde.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this write up are entirely my own.

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