Wise man of people degrading leader (5)
I believe the answer is:
'wise man' is the definition.
(I know that Rishi is a type of sage)
I don't understand how the remainder of the clue works.
Can you help me to learn more?
(Other definitions for rishi that I've seen before include "Spiritual leader" , "Poet" , "Revered man" , "holy man" , "Hindu sage or saint" .)