THE other day I heard a voice singing, it was that of a young girl. Her voice was melodious, her tone beautiful, plaintive yet resonating. I had heard about her from other singers, who had scoffed at her and said she could not hold a note, but that day as the conductor of the choir she sang in heard her voice, I saw her smile, and knew she had earned her stripes. That day, many of the other singers had not turned up, and that was why she was given an opportunity to be heard. That is exactly what is happening to leadership in our country. A few years ago, while Advani and Vajpayee ruled the roost, it took a determined Modi a lot of pushing and shoving before he was recognized as a leader who could get today’s ruling party into the saddle of power. But he won. In the oppositionit’s atougher battle, asthe mother-son duo cling onto power, and even as they do, good leaders like Scindia leave. As I watch the US elections, I see how the Democrats are now going about electing a leader to oppose Trump. Every week, there’s a feeling that different men and women are winning, and as they fight one another for leadership, through their own party ballot, the best man or woman will ultimately het a chance at the hustings. In our country,the bestman or woman gets pushed down. When they do, two things happen; either like Scindia they leave, or else, any leadership quality they have gets erased from them as they learn to become ‘yes’ men or women.We need an opposition leader, and we also need structures and systems set in place within political parties to see that the best man or woman wins, and not the one who is the son or daughter of somebody. This, and only this will help to strengthen democracy in the country. I can still hear the voice of that young girl singing, so melodious, so beautiful, and yet suppressed for many years by others. Can you also hear the sound of leaders, maybe hundreds of thousands in our huge family of a billion and more, just waiting to stand strong and victorious and lead our country forward? If you can, then start putting the system of selection in place, and tell those at the helm today, to retire hurt and go back to the pavilion..!