Who is powerful. Before this, one has to define power. Not from the point of view of any dictionary but by what we think is power. This can be subjective.
For me, a person has power if he knows powerful people. I don’t intend to hit an unending loop. There are institutions headed by someone who gains power by his virtue of his being there at the top. He is the “approval” kind of a guy. All papers, decisions, what-next, falls on this guy. “I have to call him”, or “have you called him” or “I have spoken to him”, “as per him” – the constant reference to HIM begets HIM the power. Now, if you know HIM, you have the power of whatever you want to make use of HIM.
Likewise, there are several burocracy- created people, who are powerful till alive or retirement. The power of one man increases in direct proportion of how many of them he knows.
Now what is meant by “he knows so-and-so”. Even a parliament Chai-walla (not NaMo) knows the Prime Minister. Yes, that Chai-wallah can be powerful but in a certain sort of way. A Chai-Wallah can bring to the table a Chai and his power extends that much. A Chai for a Chai or probably less. A Chai walla in your office can provide you Chai then, for some limited period, use your office PC to surf Internet or use you phone to call his wife in jhumrilallaia.
Hence, powers I muster is the powers I get on the table. That means, powerful are first powerful themselves – whether it’s an ownership of Chai or Television Channel.
If I know someone who knows the Police Chief, an MLA or an MP, a tevelanglist Lawyer, Arnab et al – to use his powers I need to have equivalent powers. In other words, I can use him to the extent of how much I can be used by him.
Off hand, I can remember Malcom Gladwel’s one book (I think Tipping Point) where he calls such people – Mavans. You just have to know this One Great Guy. And he knows a hundred thousand. He can move things for you – definitely at a cost of Money or influence- mostly influence for all money is in influence.
So what can be concluded at the end of it is one should use time and energy to gain power. Your power depends on what you can give and how you can leverage that value to take what is desired. Remember, power is exchanged with power. Money is power if one gets onto a zone where there is power. Money buying a clerk who passes your goods without tarif is power. Money buying Smart Phones is dumb.