Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Republic Day

Today we had a Republic Day event in our residential complex. I had taken a printout of the national pledge in Hindi (when in school we said the pledge out loud everyday, so it is still in my head after about 35+ years of leaving school). 

I asked some of the older teenagers if one of them would read it out loud for all to follow. Each one said "Oh no - not I".  Fighting shy of doing this is bad enough. But I was really shocked when one of them - a Hindi speaking boy (the family speaks Hindi at home) said "I cannot read the pledge in Hindi".

What goes wrong with our systems? Why are we not able to put in some feeling of pride in youngsters when it comes to doing something on these patriotic occasions. Have we gone wrong somewhere? When in school, it was a matter of pride if we were chosen to sing a patriotic song or read out a pledge / speech.

Finally one of the teens volunteered and did a good job. They have it in them. But.... something goes wrong. And we need to find out and tackle it

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

More about responsibilitiy

A few days back I had the privilege of attending an event. The former Chief Librarian and HOD of the dept of Lib Sc of Mumbai University turned 75, and the dept had a small function to celebrate it. The gentleman said one thing which was simple and yet profound. He said "When I was the Head, I looked at my chair as a seat of responsibility and accountability and not as a seat of power". Very true - in two ways. Every chair is exactly that. And "Sir" (as we obviously called him) did exactly what he'd just said. What he achieved / did not was not the question. He NEVER flouted authority. He was available to everyone - including the young students (within reasonable limits), but I never remember it being a struggle meeting him.

There is a paradox here. My spiritual teacher says "Responsibility = Power". The more you take up, the more powerful you get. Seems like the opposite of what I said? No. The "Power" you get with more responsibility you take, comes from within. People see you as someone powerful. Whereas, if one "assumes" power comes with a seat, then one is "depending" on the seat for the power. Take away the seat and one loses power.

When one takes up more responsibilites, the power simply follows - one does not need to seek it.