What do we need to leave a legacy?
To leave a legacy, you don’t need recognition; you only need a desire to contribute. An Indian saying instructs us, “The Rivers don’t drink their water; the trees don’t eat their fruits. The clouds don’t eat the crops to which they give water, and the endeavor of good people is only for helping others.”
C. Rajgopalachari – popularly known as Rajaji- was India’s first and last Indian born Governor General. He was a distinguished lawyer and statesman, an accomplished scholar and writer; and the recipient of India’s highest civilian honor, Bharat Ratna. His contributions to society were dependent neither on the office he held nor on his clout – he had no glamour, and only his service defined him. In the decade following India’s independence from British rule, he made lasting contributions to the polity, art, music, literature, and social causes.
When Lord Mountbatten left for England to attend a family wedding, Rajaji was appointed as acting Governor General. In the few months that he stayed in the royal palace, he lived simply – he washed his clothes, polished his shoes, and ate quietly. But, it was his abilities that attracted the leaders of the Nation at that time, to ask him to take up more responsibilities.
In 1990 Richard Nixon, the former President of U.S.A, released a memoir where he mentioned that one of the most dramatic influences in his life was Rajaji who spent a few minutes with him one afternoon, thirty-six years ago. During that meeting, the duo discussed, besides other issues, spirituality and reincarnation. The profound effect of these ideas –shared in a brief exchange- helped Nixon shape his speeches over the next three decades. John F. Kennedy too remarked that Rajaji had the most ‘civilizing influence’ on him; he declared Rajgopalachari had excellent precision, clarity of thoughts, and elegance in language.
One could be the most ordinary in the externals of life, but it’s our personal authenticity that helps give the best we have. This small contribution of goodness- whether it’s of a monkey soldier or a pure politician cum scholar, has far-reaching effects; it could influence the movers and shakers of the society.
To leave behind a legacy what we need is genuineness, not greatness or pomp.
To be continued….