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The first and foremost quality of a leader should be his ability to render self-sacrifice.
Satbir Singh Bedi | 25 Aug 2013

 
The lives of great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Benazir Bhutto, Shyama Prasad Mukherji, Bhagat Singh, Lala Lajpat Rai, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Pramod Mahajan, etc. tell us that the first and foremost quality of leadership is that the leaders should be full of self sacrifice.  They should be able to bear
the police excesses for the love of their principles, they should be able to undergo life in prison and if need be, they should be able to lay down their lives for the causes dear to them.  Now let us take the case of Mahatma Gandhi.  He was able to live and die for his principles.  He was informed of threat to his life by a CID man who wanted to accompany him with a pistol but Gandhiji refused to be protected like this.  He preferred to die like a brave man rather than live the life of a coward.  Indira Gandhi was advised that she should not have Sikh body guards but she refused the advice of her intelligence and stated that if she is not guarded by Sikh body guards then it would be against her policy of secularism.  Benazir Bhutto was aware of her impending death but like a true leader, she returned to Pakistan for bringing democracy back to that country and in the process laid down her life.  Lala Lajpat Rai was able to face lathis of the British police and lay down his life because he believed in his principles.  Same is the case with Bhagat Singh who told the British bluntly that their rule had no validity and told them that they should shoot him because he is a rebel and should not hang him like a criminal.  His bravery was simply matchless. Pramod Mahajan, etc. faced police excesses during emergency and stuck to their principles which brought democracy back to the country.  Pramod Mahajan laid down his life but did not yield to nepotism and favouritism.
 
From the above, it is clear that a leader can be successful only if he has an obsession for his principles and should be able to lay down his life for the causes dear to him.  He should also be able to bear the police excesses and fight the despots in the Government.