I happen to work with an amazing individual. He is truly a very humane, humble person yet easily one of the most accomplished and intelligent. Its so rare a combination to see all these qualities in one individual. I definitely consider myself lucky to be working with him and learn from him. Yesterday was his birthday and its also our Foundation day and we have a tradition of inviting other leading dignitaries and public figures to felicitate on the occasion. And I was quite struck by one man who spoke straight from his heart and the point he made.... He elaborated Professor's greatness and said that its truly remarkable that anybody who has a problem in this field had only one person to go to and it was Professor; sometimes and often, he is approached by groups that differ fundamentally in their ideology and appear to be from opposite camps... Yet, they find in him a leader who can solve their problems.... Isn't this a very rare trait in people??
This struck me as a very qualitative measure of the greatness of an individual.. One who can accomodate all viewpoints, opposites and live an inclusive way of life. In my opinion, he has demonstrated the ability to rise beyond categories and boundaries that we create in our minds and is able to resolve conflicts and arrive at solutions for a range of opposite and diverse groups of people. If you are still wondering who I am referring to, well, its my dear Professor, M. S. Swaminathan. Organic lobbyists go to him to get across their points of view and get heard among policy makers.. Scientists working in GM technology go to him and explain the benefits and economics of GM crops. He listens to all groups, stakeholders, press, etc. and gives a practical insight to any vexed problem and directs government policies.
In my opinion, he scores 100% on this "measure of individual greatness" test:).