June 2020 \ Cover Story \ COVER STORY

Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare

By Sayantan Chakravarty
  • Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Science and Technology, Earth Sciences

A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way

—John C Maxwell

On his website, Dr Harsh Vardhan calls his journey the political pilgrim’s progress after an eponymous novel by John Bunyan. There is scant doubt that he’s made much progress in his political career. From a young minister in the Delhi Government in 1993, Dr Harsh Vardhan has quietly but steadily progressed into one of India’s best known political faces, especially after his admirable management of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both as a medical professional and India’s Union Minister for Health, he’s lived up to author John Maxwell’s billing about being a leader who not only knows the way, but also goes the way, and then ends up showing the way.

In these troubled times, he’s indeed shown the way about being a leader. The world’s premiere healthy body and top doctors worldwide have acknowledged the accomplished manner in which he has gone about his task in India during the COVID-19 pandemic. In May 2020, Dr Harsh Vardhan made an entire nation proud when he was elected chairman of the 34-member executive board of the World Health Assembly—the organization that is the decision making body of the World Health Organization (WHO). Many years ago, Dr Harsh Vardhan was an advisor to the WHO, an institution that has conferred upon him rich laurels and accolades from time to time. He has taken over the reins of the executive board of the World Health Assembly during one of the worst health crisis in the history of mankind, and a period when the WHO’s own credibility has plunged to a dismal low after the poor handling of the coronavirus outbreak from China’s Wuhan.