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India now needs true leaders at all levels. What are leaders for? Not only for high-falutin ideas and projects or for talking foreign policy. Depending on the condition of the people and society, they need to lead, even if it be in leading people to stand in line, patiently. This can be a greater act of leadership and worth talking about than other 'important' issues. Yes, sadly it takes great leadership in India today to teach people to stand in line safely. I have a long standing policy of not going to places and occasions in India where the crowds are too much or known to be a bit unruly, would never take my kids or family there.|
I have resolved that the next time I visit a temple or anywhere in an Indian crowd, i will make a personal effort to ensure the lines are safe for all, if it starts to look like an uncontrolled mob. We can all do this whereever and when ever we can at an individual level, not to simply tolerate the pushing and jostling.
I remember, once in Las Vegas, we were with our 1 year old son, we were waiting on the roadside to watch the evening show outside the "Treasure Island" Casino. They have an enactment of pirates and ship-battle that we were told would be great. It was not crowded when we arrived. Slowly the crowd built up and by the time the show began it was jam-packed, eight-nine deep all around us. In my usual fashion, i became quite anxious and worried about a stampede as the show finished and people had to disperse. I remember tucking my then little son under my jacket, to hell with the pram and prepared to form a protective cover for my kid along with my wife. I was utterly overwhelmed at the patience and kindness of people in the middle of the crowd, who made way for us to get out, thinking we had an emergency! I will never forget the feeling of relief, as we reached the edge of the crowd and I looked back - thankful that people can be like that too in massive crowds formed out of people from all over the world at random. How I would like India to be like that one day, again. I am sure it was so in the past, that is why they had the tradition of such large crowds in temples and places that were so narrow, for thousands of years. We are from a civilised, tolerant and kind culture. Just need to reclaim those ways of living.