Changing of the Guard

By April 14, 2016 Social Political

Every once in a while there are turning points in our lives when an event or a happening brings in dramatic changes, urging us to view our lives differently. These turning points may not be as significant as a world war or a major revolution, but they do reflect our mood and the dialectics at play in a given situation. For us in India, this seems to be the situation we are in at the moment, with a changing of the guard guiding our lives and our future.

Politically, after much ado, we witnessed a changing of the guard in both the ruling party and its opposition. The Indian National Congress party proposed 43-year-old Rahul Gandhi as its Vice-President and the person who would lead the party this moment onwards and could become India’s future Prime Minister. Its rival, the BJP, nominated Narendra Modi (20 years senior to Rahul Gandhi) as its prime ministerial candidate with the confidence of winning the General Elections in May 2014.

Both Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi replace a line-up of senior, and much older, politicians who have been in the forefront of Indian politics for years together. But the most surprising turning point in Indian politics was the arrival of 45-year-old Arvind Kejriwal (and his Aam Aadmi Party) who won the recent elections in Delhi to oust 75-year-old Sheila Dixit who had been Chief Minister of Delhi from 1998 to 2013. This is, perhaps, just the beginning. There are many young turks taking over the political reins in India.

In Indian business and industry too there’s a changing of the guard. Just over a year ago, (then) 44-year-old Cyrus Pallonji Mistry took over the realms of the Tatas, India’s largest and most-reputed business house, as the Chairman of Tata Sons, replacing (then) 75-year-old Ratan Tata who had lead the Tatas for 21 years. Cyrus Mistry is not the only young icon of Indian business today. The last couple of years has seen a ‘generational’ change in many leading Indian business houses.

For instance, in 2012, after 48 years, (then) 88-year-old Keshub Mahindra of Mahindra & Mahindra handed over the leadership of the company to his nephew (then) 56-year-old Anand Mahindra. Rahul Bajaj (now 75 years of age) of the Bajaj Group has decided to hand over the realms of his companies to his sons Sanjiv and Rajiv, both in their early forties. Shashi and Ravi Ruia of the Essar Group are also in the process of handing over some of their responsibilities to their sons Prashant and Anshuman; while Harsh Goenka, Chairman of the RPG Group, appoints his son Anant Goenka as MD of Ceat Tyres, its flagship company.

Indian sports has also experienced a changing of the guard with Sachin Tendulkar (40 years), our leading cricket batsman and a national hero, stepping out of the limelight and making room for younger players such as Mahendra Singh Dhoni (32 years), Virat Kohli (25 years), Cheteshwar Pujara (26 years), Shikhar Dhawan (28 years), among others. Other young sportspersons who have won our hearts include Saina Nehwal (23 years) and PV Sindhu (18 years) in badminton, Amit Kumar Dahiya (19 years) in wrestling, Gaganjeet Bhullar (25 years) in golf, Gaurav Gill (32 years) in car racing, among many others.

In other fields too we have witnessed a changing of the guard: Raghuram Rajan (50 years of age) replaced D uvvuri Subbarao (64 years) to become our latest Governor of the Reserve Bank of India; Ranbir Kapoor and Ranveer Singh stole much of the Bollywood limelight from older stars Aamir Khan, Shahrukh Khan and Salman Khan; and contemporary home-grown writers such as Amish Tripathi attracted both Indian and foreign publishers and film producers. Such changes promise a younger, energetic and refreshing future for India.

Source: India Today January 13, 2014 issue

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