Sindhutai Sapkal

Sindhutai Sapkal

Selfless Leader

स त्वं मदीयेन शरीरवृत्तिं देहेन निर्वर्तयितुं प्रसीद। दिनावसानोत्सुकबालवत्सा विसृज्यतां धेनुरियं महर्षेः।। (Raghuvamsham II.45)

Such one as you are, be pleased to appease your hunger with this body of mine; and this cow of the great sage – whose calf is anxiously waiting for her return – be set free! 

 Through this beautiful account of King Dilip (where he offers himself to a lion to protect a cow), one can visualize what Pandit Kalidas emphasizes as a virtue of the Leader. The ability to set aside one’s own matters and focus on the long term interests of all those who rely on us, is a critical one. The Leader goes to great lengths to ensure this as he/she realizes that Leadership is always about others (stakeholders) – in the accomplishment of the organization’s purpose.

The story of Sindhutai Sapkal is heart rending, in this regard. The Maai or mother, for over 1200 children till date, she has adopted these orphaned children and raised them, despite the endless trials and tribulations of her own life. From being forcibly married at the age of just 10 to a man of 30, to taking up cudgels for oppressed women, which caused the community to reject her, and subsequently even her husband and mother discarded her, she was always up against the greatest difficulties. She even took to singing and begging to keep her new born daughter alive. Out of her distress, was born her passion for the cause of the abandoned- she fought for orphans, women and even tribals in Chikaldara in Maharashtra. Ceaselessly, she continues to raise money and nurture the homeless and hapless. This has won her innumerable awards and glory including the Padmashri. Selfless Leadership!

Do you put the interests of your stakeholders before your own, at all times?