A good leader not only shows the path but also walks the path together

By May 23, 2023 March 20th, 2024 Newsroom

Sunil Babu Pant

Founder Chairman of Blue Diamond Society (BDS)

In early 2002, I was invited by Naz Foundation International to attend a 3 days training on how to run, manage community based sexual health and HIV programme for MSM, in Lucknow India. We were not allowed to use the words like homosexual or gay or lesbians or even transgender those days,  I guess due to USAID funding under the Bush Administration, also perhaps India was not yet ready to talk about ‘gay rights’ by then.

There were about 20 other community leaders like myself representing various states and cities of India. Blue Diamond Society and Bandhu were the only ones outside of India. 

This was my 2nd meeting with Shivnandan Khan and also Aditya Bandhopadhya. I met them both in Dhaka Bangladsh, a few months before, at a national consultation meeting organised on MSM sexual health and HIV by Bandhu. Both are very impressive talents.

It was all overwhelming for me, the first time seeing so many community members but also at some kind of official gathering – was unbelievable. I was very impressed by Shivanandan Khan the way he gave opening remarks, highly motivational, but didn’t know much about him and his leadership qualities. But with that 3 days training in Lucknow, I got the opportunity to learn from him very closely and knew his leadership qualities better. Impressive leadership traits he had that hugely impacted me are: his in-depth knowledge on gender, sexuality in relation to religions, spirituality, traditions, customs,  Society, history, economics, politics, laws, oppression and movements. He was so confident with his conduct, very very involved and passionate about making the world a better place for sexual and gender minority communities. 

He designed that workshop in such way that we all become like a family. We had many views, some arguments but a lot of learning,  team building,  envisioning our collective yet diverse rights movements. He said many good things during that Lucknow training but one thing that sparked my consciousness was:  ‘A good leader not only shows the path but also walks the path together’, that was enough for me to shape my own trajectory of activism.

About the contributor:

Sunil Babu Pant (Anaagarik Kashyap),

Meditation guide,  Film maker,  Member of parliament of Nepal (2008-12), Founder Chairman of Blue Diamond Society (BDS).

Here are some of the tributes in Shiv’s memory. 

Joey Joleen Mataele

J V R Prasada Rao

Dennis Altman

Manisha Dhakal

Paul Causey

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