As the date for electing seven trustees of the Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP) draws near, we urge all Parsis eligible to vote, to come out in strength, on Sunday, 29th May, 2022, to cast their precious vote, exercising due diligence. Don’t just vote for someone who seems good in print and social media. Vote for those who have a proven track record of providing selfless, good service to the community.
Avoid dream-merchants at all costs for they sell dreams that usually turn into nightmares. Don’t fall for fancy academic qualifications for these are not necessarily the measure of a person’s character or integrity. As we all know, education is essential but may not necessarily change inherent personality traits.
Unfortunately, in our community every proverbial tinker, tailor and sailor thinks that he or she can become a trustee. Yes, every Parsi is as eligible to vote as he/she is to contest, but would he or she be capable enough?
In our opinion, not everyone can or should become a Trustee. Simply desiring to be a trustee doesn’t mean the person has the capability, skills, knowledge, understanding or more importantly, the capacity to think and act independently – with wisdom and integrity. William Shakespeare once said, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them”. We have seen what happens at the BPP when leadership is literally thrust upon some… Such trustees do harm to themselves, the BPP trust and to the community.
Since 2008, when Universal Adult Franchise was introduced for the first time under the High Court framed BPP Scheme of Elections, we have stopped getting surprised seeing the kind of persons aspiring to become trustees… with some even making it to the proverbial hot-seat to wear the ‘crown of thorns’ before the community’s trust (pun intended) is crucified! Likewise, we have stopped being surprised when those charged with Trusteeship can’t seem to figure out what constitutes leadership or responsibility.
Are We Ready For Change?
The question is, are we, as a community ready for change… and change for the better, or are we still going to vote blindly? Are we still going to buy dreams that will turn into nightmares? Are we going to fall for sops and freebies, forgetting that in reality, there is ‘no free lunch’? If you are promised something free, please don’t forget that somewhere, someone else will be paying for it or impoverishing the charitable trust.
As a voter, be vigilant and well informed! Don’t go by what you read in unregistered pamphlets that come free to you by e-mail, WhatsApp and during election season, even in print at your door-step. Don’t get carried away by fake news and what is circulated anonymously or under fictitious names in WhatsApp groups. Talk to the candidates directly or ask them questions at their campaign meetings.
Knowing The Leader…
How would you know that the person you are voting for is a reasonably good leader and ‘trustee material’?
The first test would be to determine whether the person is chasing the High Position or a Higher Purpose? Find out whether the trustee aspirant is ‘Power Driven’ or ‘Purpose Driven’? Afterall leadership is about caring about something beyond individual self and leading others to a better place, even if it means the leader takes a back seat or ends up with no seat at all.
Power often comes with leadership, but it’s not what drives real, purpose-driven leaders. A purpose-driven leader would have clear thinking and clear vision. However, vision again is not to be confused with dream merchandise that politicians usually market with attractive packaging before elections.
Sop With Mop…
A true leader will seldom promise to give you anything. He or she will tell you and show you how collective good of the community can be achieved with cooperation. A good leader would aim for sustainability for all stakeholders and not simply offer sop with one hand and a mop with the other to sweep it away!
Please keep an eye on those who care more about making promises than keeping them. Always remember that leadership isn’t about pomposity and grandiloquence – it’s about actions. Judge the sitting trustees aspiring for a fresh term by their actions and performance and not their empty words and promises. Judge all other aspirants by their track record of service to the community. Leadership may begin with vision for a better future, but it’s delivering the vision that ultimately determines success or worth of leader.
Passion And Integrity…
Only leaders who demonstrate integrity can garner trust among their fellow colleagues. These are men and women who are not afraid of the truth and are capable of standing up for what they believe in. Leaders with integrity also often have an enduring passion for what they do. They don’t do what they do for name, fame or personal gain but simply because they love what they do or want to change for the good of all. In fact, it is this very passion that becomes the basis for their success, popularity and happiness.
Turn Out To Vote…
Remember that exercising your franchise is a duty and responsibility. We know it’s summer and very hot outside. We know it’s the summer holidays. We know it is a Sunday. We also know that a degree of ‘voter fatigue’ may have set in. Also, ‘nothing will change’ is a common refrain that we may hear. But, by not voting, things could change by default for the worse!
Also, if you think that just your one vote in a pool of a few thousand cannot make much of a difference, consider some of the closest elections in the recent history of the BPP where good candidates have lost by just a few votes.
Participating in BPP elections is one of the key freedoms and rights of a Parsi Zoroastrian. No matter what your personal ideology may be or who you may wish to support, it is important for you to exercise your right to vote!
Please do vote and please vote wisely!