World-Historical leaders

By Badri Raina . Dated: 8/10/2018 12:14:09 PM

There is one thing common to Donald Trump, Narendra Modi and Imran Khan: they see themselves as world-historical leaders, above and beyond decrepit old systems and habits of thought and governance. Unburdened by the deep structures of history, they relish attacking problems in direct and uncomplicated ways.
Thus, who would have thought Trump would set aside so much animosity and go meet with the dangerous Kim in Singapore? Or tell off his European allies on the issues of trade practices and NATO funding? Or break the Iran, the NAFTA, the Paris Accord agreements without winking an eye to established opinion?
Likewise, who would have thought Modi would do a prime-time Demonitisation, a hug in Lahore, a Surgical Strike across the border, and what else? Ah yes, demolish the legacy of the Freedom Movement in important new ways. Also, garner so many electronic channels without stooping to anwer questions in a live media conference.
Imran Khan clearly means to win time, space, opinion, and politics as he did the Cricket World Cup famously in 1992. Age does not wither him nor custom stale his infinite self-love. Don't be surprised if he at some point takes on the Pak Army as Mark Antony did the Roman Legions, single-handedly. A veritable Arthur who rids the realm of corruption and small-time thieveries.
Mr.Modi, you notice, has already congratulated him even before his formal oath-taking, sensing a kindred sort of spirit. Well then, we say, have at it, master spirits of the age; solve the Kashmir problem to everyone's satisfaction and be thanked for eons to come. But, if you fail, like all the others, do not be tempted to go to war.
And should you succeed, we will say bye-bye systems and orderly practices, only leaders matter. And we will commission a painting of Modi and Imran, larger and more magnificent than Michaelangelos' 'Creation of Adam' on the Sistine ceiling, and leave it to generations of Indians and Pakistanis to determine who is God and who Adam between the two.
And our hosannas to peace will be conjoint and louder than the bells at Westminister or Notre Dame as we will cease to be merely Hindus and Muslims and become human beings again.
We wait for Mr.Trump, Mr.Modi, and Mr.Imran Khan to come together in a new Yalta and sort out intractable old conundrums in godlike flourishes of magic.
Should they fail, the world will have no option but to return to honest hard work, participatory structures of decision-making, commonsense, and democracy.



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