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‘Leaders Are Born and Not Made’! Narayana Murthy and Ratan Tata Demonstrate It!

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” – Ronald Reagan

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The clock ticked 7.10 in the evening exactly. The auditorium of NCPA was jam-packed, so much so that the security guards weren’t even allowing me inside when I stepped out for a tea break. The media pass came to my aid, and I had spent a good four and a half minutes, trying to convince the clan that I was all this while inside, had just stepped out to quench my thirst…

I am let inside finally, and the spectacle amazed me. The auditorium was houseful, and if I have to rely on the official records of the seating capacity, (which is around 1,109),  everyone was seated in rapt attention. I haven’t really been too fortunate to experience situations that would be in sync with the proverb, ‘Pin drop silence’; which is why I am quite fast in identifying circumstances when they are. And, this was exactly that…

There was pin-drop silence inside the NCPA auditorium. Nobody said a word, and the ambience heralded an air of optimism and great expectations. I tried looking around, and everyone around seemed to hold their breath! The center stage meanwhile, has been occupied by dignitaries. Key among them is the Infosys man himself, Narayana Murthy, accompanied by Atul Nishar, President, TiE Mumbai, and Harish Mehta, Chairman and MD, Onward Technologies. 

Achievers from different walks of life are awarded by the trio like the outstanding Indian entrepreneur in categories like B2B e-commerce, deep tech, fashion, and lifestyle. An outstanding serial entrepreneur, angel investors, and value-creating institutions also carved a hefty space for themselves. Yet, the air chronicled the desire for more…

And, then there was this grand entry of the tycoon. With an immense vigour and an unpretentious gait, Ratan Tata walked in, and he had to stop midway, to thank the audience, owing to the innumerable applause and cheers from them. For me, time seemed to halt, and after a few seconds, when I was back to my senses, I could spot Ratan Tata sitting at a distance of 2 feet from me…

Ratan Tata was being awarded the Life Time Achievement Award, by Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy. All through this while, Mr. Tata seemed jovial enough and didn’t quite speak much, except for when he was asked to speak a few words. In his hoarse voice, he held the microphone, and said ‘Good evening’. The words literally came out as a plethora of benevolence, and everyone in the audience responded with the same enthusiasm. 

He spoke about startups and startup investors who lose money by sinking, will not get a second or third chance. An investor in startups himself, he said that old fashioned businesses would weaken gradually. Also, the future lies in the young founders of innovative companies. 

Seconding this, Narayana Murthy, opined that pension funds and banks must also invest in Indian startups. He stressed on the fact that a positive atmosphere cannot be created for startups, purely on the basis of investors. In order to raise funding, pension funds and banks would have to come forward and invest. 

Post the speech, everyone awaited a moment of surprise, however, what was about to happen, left everyone dumbfounded! Narayan Murthy bent down to touch the feet of Ratan Tata, and there was an immense euphoria in the ambience. A euphoria so profound that my hands are still shaking while writing the article. Probably, this is why they say that ‘Leaders are born, and not made!’ And, who knows it better than me! 


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