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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Battling Corruption

Hon'ble Prime Ministers address from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the 15th of August touched the inner chords in the hearts of many of us. While talking about the menace of corruption, one could clearly feel his passionate resolve to eliminate it from the national fabric. That the Chief Executive of the nation feels the pain of the common man who is affected daily by this menace, is a cause of immense satisfaction and pride.

Having worked in the system for over four decades with adherence to value systems at the core of my working, I realize that corruption even after seventy five years of freedom, is still a deep rooted disease engulfing many facets of the tantra of governance cutting across sectors and state boundaries. 

For a common man, and it is true, it is almost impossible to interact with any part of the tantra without going through harassment or graft or both. Everyday we read about raids and recoveries of immense cash from those in power, a job that the investigative agencies are doing to the best of their abilities, yet have merely scratched the surface so far.

That the present Government has come down on corruption with a sledge hammer is indeed heartwarming. 

Having handled many massive organizations, I realize that corruption is not a disease but a complex symptom of many areas that would need to be redressed. And the first and the foremost is the organizational culture. Adherence to value systems and that too driven by the top echelons is as essential as the focus on delivery. During the course of my journey however I found it sad that issues relating to integrity, conduct and behavior were never considered worthy of discussion in official forums.  

It is indeed essential to put on table issues relating to integrity, conduct and behavior for a meaningful  impact. During my stint with Madhya Pradesh Tourism, we had almost eliminated corruption by organizing "Corruption Conferences", with the first conference held in 2007 making a massive dent. 

And there should never be any pardon for an act of dishonesty or a conduct that is undesirable. Those who indulged in cases of corruption, sexual harassment and drinking on duty were never pardoned and given exemplary punishment. While mercy is a virtue, it fails to be so if dispensed in such cases. 

Culture is the most important strength or weakness whether it is organizations or societies. This is what differentiates between mediocrity and greatness. Unless the core issue of corruption is handled head on while also taking sustained steps to inculcate a culture of honesty in the society, we would keep on discussing the issue ad-infinitum. 

With hope, we live on..........

Thursday, August 11, 2022

The ultimate virtue is Courage

I am back after a long hiatus, the reason being the unavoidable writers itch.

Yes the mind today was occupied with what is right and what is wrong and how can we guide people and organizations on the right path. Being ethical and having a very strong belief in fundamental human values and practicing the same with ease in the daily routine is what the real challenge of life all about. 

Having led many large organizations and dealt men in tens of thousands has brought me to the conclusion that the ultimate virtue is being a good human being and treating others as one would like to be treated by others. Easier said than done but a path that should be pursued by all as long as one is alive. 

It is a path on which collective guidance and collective mobility is the need of the hour. 

I often wonder what is the ultimate virtue for a human being. What is the mother of all virtues, that encompasses all other virtues. Is it integrity, humility, being ethical or something else. Does being of a high integrity cover all other good traits and does being humble mean that the person would stand up for a fellow human being in need or will he be prudent and weigh the pros and cons regardless of what is right. Can mere integrity and humility propel societies and organizations forward. Yes these are essential traits but are they complete by themselves I often wonder.

Life on a roller coaster is how how I would define my life so far. Plethora of postings at a variety of places and several diverse organizations have led to an experience that many would consider an unmatched one. Riding the sine wave with its ups and downs have instilled in me a very strong belief that the Courage to stand up for what is right is the ultimate all encompassing virtue.

Indeed it is the Virtue or Value Number One.

I have come across honest and the dishonest, humble and the arrogant, sincere and the insincere, soft spoken and the blunt ones, almost in thousands, but have rarely come across people who have the courage to stand up for what is right regardless of the price that may be required to be paid. All high sounding dialogues and proclamations fade into oblivion when the moment of reckoning arrives. Yes there have been few and the finest example is that of Mahatma Gandhi, who have the courage to stand up when the the moment arrives, but those could be counted on fingertips with a couple of fingers to spare. 

Yes a man who can remain erect when the moment of reckoning arrives, has to be honest, sans ego, soft spoken, humble and with all good traits. 

Courage indeed is the mother of all virtues and it is not about the size of the biceps, the post that one flaunts or the money stashed away. Gandhi had courage of conviction and that led this one frail man in a loincloth taking on the might of the British empire and getting India her independence. 

Yet how does such values get inculcated in as many as possible and the answer is simple: by putting them on the table, by talking about it as frequently as one can and by the leader practicing them for others to emulate. 

Practicing is indeed not the right word for values, perhaps living them with ease is. Yes for the world to be a better place, we have to live a life of goodness and there is no goodness without courage.