In school I remember being very fascinated by the ‘Lal batti’ on the hood on my friend's father’s car. His dad was a elected representative, who happened to be ’not in power' at that time. Yet, the red light stayed perched in its place. Once switched on, it made a shrieking sound and the driver always seemed to have a very authoritative expression as he drove forth, fully expecting the ordinary ‘normal’ citizens to move aside. Honestly, at that time it was a splendid feeling!

Recently, the prime minister of our country issued a directive putting an end to the era of the ‘lal batti’. From now onwards only medical and law enforcement related vehicles would have the right to use this device. I believe this is a very symbolic move. There should be no place for self-righteousness, grandiosity, or position induced power. Those in ‘power’ have a responsibility to serve.

The lal-batti is a symbol of ‘self-importance’. When I look into my own heart I can see several such lal-batti’s - my education, my address, my financial status, my good english, even my honesty and sincerity. These are beautiful gifts I received and I'm grateful, but they need not create self-righteousness.

One young friend of mine walked out on the streets of small village and struck up a conversation with a young lady almost 4 times her age. My friend lives in a bungalow in a very nice locality in a big city. Her new friend probably lives in a tiny one room house in the corner of the village. The difference between them is stark. But in a conversation of 10 minutes they found something that connects them - she realised that they are both human, they both feel joy and pain, and they both want to be loved and appreciated. My friend had shed all her lal-battis!

I am inspired by this young lady. These youth are the real leaders of our country. I learn this from her - we are all the same, inspite of our financial, educational, intellectual, lingual, and cultural differences. We all deserve to be treated fairly. The keywords for leadership are ‘service’ and ‘responsibility’.