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The dangers of hero worship

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The dangers of hero worship

Not to see faults in our leaders is injustice to the person concerned also, writes Ajit Kumar Bishnoi

Sir Winston Churchill was the British Prime Minister during the World War II. Early in the war, Great Britain was facing Nazi Germany all by itself. Under Churchill’s leadership, the British refused to succumb in spite of tremendous odds against them. He exhorted his people to offer blood, toil, tears and sweat. Not only was Churchill a successful leader, he was also a noted speaker, author, painter, soldier and war reporter. He was full of energy, which allowed him to do so many different activities successfully.

All of the above but especially a victory over Germany made him a hero in his country. After the war ended, election was held in Great Britain. Contrary to expectations, Churchill’s Conservative Party lost to the Labour Party. Atlee — a relatively less popular person — became the PM. What could have caused this turnaround? The British people decided that no matter how great Churchill was as a war leader, he was not suited to be a peacetime leader. Churchill was deeply hurt. But he was not a loser; he learnt quickly and returned to power a few years later.

I have taken up this topic because we are also led locally, state-wise, nationally, spiritually, etc. Should we not be discriminating in the choice of our leaders? Because if we don’t, we get hurt. Let us always remember that no human being can be perfect, only God is. Not to see faults in our leaders is injustice to the person concerned also. Shouldn’t he or she be made aware of his or her faults in order that such a person becomes a better leader, which is good for everyone?

But what do we generally see? Hero worship is the order of the day. It is no wonder that we are stuck with incompetent leaders, who are a disgrace, especially in the spiritual field. Have we lost our senses that we cannot have a balanced view? The person thus worshipped gets a false impression of his or her greatness and sooner or later falls down. The followers suffer greatly when such an event takes place. Not only does such hero worship hurt the followers, it hurts the person more. A person, who is too much in the limelight, may stop making further attempts to improve himself or herself, and just tries to bask in such attention. Another reason for hero worship is strong prejudice against others in the field. How can anyone ever imagine that a mere mortal is perfect in all respects and must be blindly followed?

How does one prevent oneself from falling into this trap? One should look for intrinsically good persons and there are many if one has an open mind. Will it not be better if one turned one’s attention towards self-improvement, rather than be engaged in blind hero worship? Also look for good qualities in others as well, because everyone does possess something. But the real hero is God only. Once we realise this fact, we can never go wrong. Those who are linked to God lose interest in other human beings except for guidance. This is also necessary.

I must warn those in leadership roles to discourage hero worship because it does no good to them except inflate their egos. They should not encourage hero worship for their own good. One should never begin to see oneself other than what one is and that is a human being, who will have many faults; only God can be faultless. Rather such a person in order to protect oneself should begin to worship God. This is a real safety armour. He or she should also look for ulterior motives of those who worship him or her, which is the case mostly. And, finally, one should realise that such worship is a disincentive for further progress because it lulls one to think of oneself as perfect.

Bishnoi is a spiritual writer and can be reached at spiritual@ajitbishnoi.com

 
 
 
 
 

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