Timeless ideas from the land where the Sindu Flowed

...As applied in the present context

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Reference 5: TRANSITION TO REAL FREEDOM: Through Institutions Built on Righteousness

Book Publisher: Notion Press
Author: Nixon Fernando
No of Pages: 363
Paper Back Price: Rs. 649 /-
I.S.B.N: 978-1-64429-905-0

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There is a need to re-orient or fine-tune attitudes and systems in the various institutions that add up to make the post-independence India.This is because there is un-fathomed depth in the understanding of human nature in Ancient Indian thought. And democracy in India must take one additional step towards its complete fruition in empowering people. So even while staying fithful to the Constitution of India great opportunity exists. ...

This book is a generalist's look at what each of the the instituions must do, it is therefore indicative of what must be. It remains for experts in each field to guage the general requirements and spearhead corrective measures so that each of these institutions deliver at least the bare minimum towards setting up genuine freedom at the grassroots. And then moving even further they may explore the space that amounts to 'excellence' in their respective fields.

The book looks at several indicative fields namely politics, economics, Judiciary, Police, Social Service, Health Care, Sports and Arts, Education and Media. (The chapter on sports and arts can be read here down below). This collection of essays should give a sense of direction the professional must work towards so that his contribution, besides giving him bread and butter, will add to wellness in society and embrace the highest aspirations of freedom.

A line is an ideal, a line does not exist (because a line is a locus of points), but it gives sense of direction for a lot of practical work that an engineer does. All ideals are like that. When it comes to the question of being practical it is sensible to follow the better ideal for optimal effect on ground.

The ideals generated by our ancient wise have been discussed at length in the earlier two parts of the book. This book takes the agenda further and tries to interpret what that would mean to those who are dirtying their hands in the soil. Let the idealism set high benchmarks, let the consciousness rise and let practical action be inspired by excellence. That will take India to its highest potential.


Founder and Dean, Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai,
J. L. Kellogg Distinguished Professor (Emeritus in service) of Accounting and Information Management,
Northwestern University, Illinois, USA
Executive Professor and Strategy Advisor to the Dean, Bauer College,
University of Houston, Texas, USA

Mahatma Gandhi has inspired the likes of Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Obama—not without reason. He is also the mascot for the Swatch Bharat Abhiyan. However cleaning up the streets is only a token of the possibilities of Gandhiji’s Vision. Mahatma Gandhi is more relevant to cleaning minds. I firmly hold that free India has underutilized the Gandhian vision and the persuasive arguments made by Nixon clearly show that we have indeed not done justice to him. Mahatma Gandhi had a vision for India, but the turmoil in the decade of Indian Independence did not allow for the fruition of that vision. Gandhi wanted every Indian to have control over his own destiny and that is far from the reality of today. And Nixon has taken up the laborious task of trying to interpret for us what that vision would mean in this time and age of Industrial Revolution by Disruptive Technology. And I would say that his 25 years of research has indeed come up with compelling findings. ...

I have known Nixon for the last six years ever since he joined Great Lakes to help the mercurial Mr. TN Seshan with some research work. From there he was sidestepped into a junior faculty position at Great Lakes and in the meantime he has been on the job of writing his analysis of the way forward for India. He comes through as earnest individual who goes about his work in the best way he can. He has been one of the outstanding students of his batch when he completed PGPM Flex program (equivalent to an executive MBA) at the Great Lakes. He can play some good picnic songs on the guitar and sing along, but what has impressed me most about him is his deep understanding of the Bhagwad Gita. Along with the Legendry TN Seshan the three of us have authored a book on leadership “Yogyathwa: Simple access to powerful relationship” which is a unique book that deals with transformational leadership as analysed from first principles. It is heartening to see that Nixon has dedicated his talents towards this particular project instead of pursuing a career as a NET qualified Physicist. And this research related to the visions strategies and plans has produced something that must take up the thinking Indian’s serious attention.

When setting up the Great Lakes Institute of Management, I had no doubts in my mind that the way to go for an outstanding Indian school was a “Global Mindset and Indian Roots” and that is the tag line for the school now. I have great instinctive belief in the deep wisdom of this land, which talks of the whole world as one family. Yogyathwa was based on that principle and this book by Nixon manifests that same faith in another valuable context.

This Part of the book entitled ‘Transition to Real Freedom: Through Institutions Built on Righteousness’, is a follow up on the Parts I and II. In this part he attempts to build a national narrative based on principles that he explores in the earlier parts. In the first two parts of the book he has dealt with some very tricky questions that have tormented Indian and western intellects for a long time now. For example, from the Part I of this book it is evident that there is a baby sitting in the caste bath water and that it is not all muck as it is usually made out to be; it cannot be dismissed in a flourish. He is showing a way to separate chaff from grain in this debate. He argues that it is only misunderstanding that has led to the ills of the system. This new perspective can transform the way we deal with caste and communal problems. We can truly put these issues aside and focus on the nation’s development.

The part 2 of the book deals with something close to my heart—the self-empowering of the villages of India. In the experiential leadership training course called Karma Yoga initiative our students at the Great Lakes in Chennai have adopted twenty seven villages in the vicinity of the campus where they interact with the local population and participate in their development. While Karma Yoga trains the students in leadership it gets them accustomed to the realities of the villages. The course has a transformative effect and helps the students pepper their passion with compassion and shows them the importance of “Transformational Service Leadership” through “Experiential Learning”

An important point that is conveyed in the Karma Yoga initiative is for the students to empower the villagers, so that the villagers rise on the strength of their own wings and this is exactly the approach that Nixon has taken in this work. I vouch for the fact that there is immense talent in the villages that only needs nourishing and channelizing. I come from a poor village in the Pudukkottai district but look at what my brothers and I have achieved in our life time. With the right values, guidance and team work I am sure every village can rise and that in turn will transform the nation.

Two sections in this book relate directly to the work I do; one on the management of economic goals and the other on education. I am in total agreement with Nixon that the purpose of the economy is to serve the people and that it is not a good system that mounts misery on the poor of a nation. The idea of encouraging entrepreneurship in the rural areas is sound. But the challenge is huge because of severe bottlenecks and I am sure the people of India will surmount them. We may have missed the manufacturing revolution but I am sure at least services can be rendered to one another in the villages so that everybody gains. For a young India with more than 50% of the population below the age of 25 years the challenges may be great but the opportunities are even greater. Small business spread out in the villages is the way ahead and therefore the surrounding environment must be enabling towards that.

As for education, I have always held that my third grade passed mother was a university to me and my brothers. And when Nixon defines education in its all-encompassing form as it being a phenomenon linking one generation with the next I completely agree. True that even the illiterate man can be educated and the PhD may be ignorant. It all depends on what you give value to in education. What was the need of instituting the Karma Yoga project, of having the students themselves run the committees in Great Lakes, of ensuring experiential methods for teaching, ensure that the campus gets a good rating with Leeds? It is so that the students pick up much more than just knowledge as they go out. But even that I assure you is not complete. A child starts learning from the womb and I bless all those mothers and families that live high values and inspire their offspring to develop into better human beings.

I commend the use of the magic word “Dharma” in this book. We have explained in the book on Yogyathwa as to how it does not mean religion in the sense that it is used today. It is about being inspired by the Ultimate CEO lord Ganesha (or Allah-U-Akbar if you are a Muslim or Jesus Christ if you are a Christian) and doing what is good for humanity without giving consideration to caste or creed or sex or religion. If the goal of a person’s life is to do the will of the Ultimate CEO it brings great blessings upon him and those around him. Making Dharma a part of everything we do, be it politics, economics, education or policing or administration, anything—is how Indians are expected to live. It makes them excel. In the parlance of Yogyathwa, it makes them true leaders. Let us find out what is our dharma in this present India and world and do it to the best of our abilities. I am sure in the pursuit of Dharma we will not only get pleasure along that way but also joy and fulfilment of life.

As a baby I had been placed on the lap of Gandhiji the father of the nation for some time and I have considered it a blessing and an inspiration to do my work for the nation. And it delights me that when we are in the eve of the 150th year of the politician-saint’s birthday, I am forwarding this book that attempts to address his concerns for the poorest of the poor from among the Indians. Gandhiji had great faith in the common man. You give them the opportunity and they will rise to the fullness of their being. It is time the people know what Gandhiji wants from them and what is possible in their hands. The directions Nixon has shown will go a long way towards understanding what that Gandhian vision is. I strongly recommend that any Indian who feels frustrated that there is no way ahead for India must read it. Do not be to disturbed by references to Dharma and the spiritual texts, Nixon’s methods of drawing secular but spiritual wisdom from the works of the wise is sure to benefit serious thinkers and light up the path ahead a little more.

You the Youth of the Nation Must Act. I am delighted to place before you this compelling argument asking us to go back and understand what Gandhiji wanted for India. And the youth of this nation must act and act now. We have a task to do in the world, to rise up to great heights and to show them how great peace is possible within and amongst religions of this world. It is all hidden in the wisdom of our ancient sages. You must draw from that wisdom and realize freedom for your fellowmen.

The work required is great and if you must take the lead then you must take unconventional decisions. I always tell my friends if there is a Conflict between Your Interests and Beliefs Versus the Nation’s Interests and Beliefs, they You Take a Back Seat and the Nation and the Leadership Chair should take the Front seat.

Dr. Jaswant Singh of BJP is a friend of mine and a former Home and Finance Minister in the BJP Govt. You may recall that there was a high-jacking incident of an Indian Airline Plane by a few Terrorists from Pakistan and in the negotiation with the terrorists, Jaswant Singh as the Home minister has to decide between whether to send HIS OWN SON as a hostage to the terrorists so that the remaining hostages can be released or Stall and probably get one hostage at a time get killed. Obviously his personal interest and the family's recommendation is Not to send the Son but he decided in the interest of India; he decided to send the son and AGREED to send him. Of course our brave Commandos helped and the folks also left to Kandahar. Who says India has no leaders. We have but we have to Find them. I have seen too many non-leaders flinch from this responsibility.

Even as you consider what you wish to do with your talents, PREPARE TO BE LONELY AND TAKE A BOLD DECISION THAT MAY NOT BE POPULAR.

Be Proud of What YOU WANT TO BE. But Be the BEST. The Key is YOU need to ENJOY your life. The day you wake up and feel frustrated that you need to go to work, clearly tells you that you did it for someone else. There is a nice book: ‘Control Your Destiny; Or Someone else will’ (on Jack Welsh) by Nel Tichy and another author from Fortune Magazine. If You have some doubts, Pray to Your Mom wherever you are and ask her to Guide You mentally. You will be blessed and will choose the right decision. Analyse with Your Brains and Experience, but DECIDE BY YOUR HEART;

Many of us often wonder what lies in our future without ever noticing what is in front of us. The future relies on speculation, and uncertainties, but the PRESENT (WHICH IS GOD'S PRESENT TO YOU) gives you the facts. No matter how harsh or sweet the present is, accept it, grow with it, enjoy it and be grateful for it. Start to be happy even among adversities NOW rather than what the future may hold. Everything is in your ATTITUDE; Your Attitude Decides the Altitude you reach. You Are an Eagle, With Energy and Excitement, You soar to the Highest Altitude; Of Course, don't hang around with Chicken: Why? Chicken can't fly and on top of it you will get Chicken Flu;

ANY TIME IS THE RIGHT TIME to PONDER, THINK and PLAN. WHO YOU SHOULD BE? is the Great Question you should Ask Yourself and you should take Inputs from your Gurus, Parents, and Good Friends but ultimately You need to decide based on a SWOT analysis of yourself and a Soul Searching question of What Really Turns You On. But Make Sure that "You are Propelled with Intellect and Steered by Values” as I always say and the answer will be there.

The way ahead for India may be tough but Note that Whatever Your Heart combined with your Brains can Conceive and Believe, You can certainly Achieve. Of Course A lot of Dough requires a lot of Plough. Impossible is not a Fact, it is just an Opinion, A smile is a Curve that Sets things Straight. A Can Do and Will Do Attitude will take you a long way. Play with Passion, with a tinge of Compassion,

Dare to Dream with Cream of Will, Go For Glory and become a Great Story for your future for your family and for the nation ….

God Bless You all. JAI HIND

Founder and Dean, Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai, India
J. L. Kellogg Distinguished Professor (Emeritus in service)


I was walking down a street in Chennai a few paces away from a small roadside shrine when I saw someone smashing a coconut as an offering at that shrine. Almost immediately, a young emasculated man in tattered clothes scurried about picking up the broken pieces of the coconut; apparently, it would provide him a morsel to ease his hunger. Similarly, I came across a poor woman carrying a two- or three-year-old child in her arms near a busy bus stand in Pune. She had chanced upon a half-eaten pod of corn, and she was feeding the little child with it. The tenderness with which she was nurturing her child was readily visible. It was also evident that she herself was hungry and that she was compassionate in her offering to her child—a few mouths full of corn so that the child would have something in the stomach. ... This is not an unusual sight given the levels of poverty in India, but on both occasions, when our eyes briefly met, the hurt pride was clearly visible. They did not particularly cherish being in that predicament. Their life situations had them cornered, and these bits of food were straws they were clutching on to.

I have heard a saying about the plight of villagers along the following lines: ‘He was a sarpanch in his village, and now, he is a security guard in the city.’ The deal is not at all good for the villagers of our nation and for the poor in general. This has often made me wonder what could have gone so grievously wrong.

Could these people have done something about it? Lost in the city streets, they were merely surviving. Life was dishing out to them like a rough sea would to a piece of floating wood. What could they have possibly done?

And yet, I am sure that there is a solution to this. Much of this wretchedness can be removed by energizing our villages. Individually, there is an incredible energy in them that can be tapped into, and even better than that, they can do amazing things for themselves and for others as part of teams…

There is an interesting indicator for this. We know that the present format of annual Ganesha celebrations became popular only in the beginning of the 20th century. The person to whom this is credited is the freedom fighter Bal Gangadar Tilak. The British did not want to interfere in the religious life of the locals, so they did not do anything much to stop these celebrations. After all, what threat could a bunch of harmless worshippers pose to the British government? They allowed it. But we must credit it to BG Tilak’s ingenuity that it was a great demonstration of what the Indian people can achieve together if they get an opportunity to organize themselves around a positive idea. Look at the competitiveness and scale of what these small teams achieve. The best of the huge Ganapati and Durga pooja pandals are designed to last for a maximum of just fifteen days. And one can see the kind of organizing and mobilization such feats take. Much more can be achieved if, instead of this task, the villagers are tasked with the more permanent goal of their development and prosperity.

It only takes a look into the kind competitiveness neighbouring villages enjoy. They fight it out like crazy over inter-village sports and other inter-village rivalries. The lengths they go to protect their village ‘pride’ on matters close to their hearts has to be seen to be believed. And a well-wisher statesman would surely come up with ingenious ways to re-direct that competitiveness towards the emancipation and development of those very same villages.

A special note: When the alumni of the ‘85 batch of St. Paul’s high school, Belgaum, had their silver jubilee reunion in 2010, the late Fr. Agnelo Pinto, who was the principal when we were in school, addressed us. He was bothered about the plight of the villages which were situated less than forty kilometers from our school and wanted us to do something about it. I sincerely hope this book will move things in a direction that will offer solutions for these villages and likewise others in India and abroad.



How free is India? ** A lost opportunity ** Which direction to take? East or west? ** India must evolve its own solution ** The current generation has the right ** The responsibility is mine ** Liberated beings are essentially trustees ...


That special group ** Proper design of the overall democratic system and peoples’” awareness of their role in it ** In a democratic context, dharma also enjoins a duty on the citizen ** Leading lights must sensitize citizens on their dharmic duties in a democracy ** Participation and leadership in community self-rule ** Not just a king-maker but also be a king when it is required ** The fourfold dharma of a citizen of a democracy
The many ideas of freedom – Where does India stand? ** Does one need to look beyond democracy and capitalism in India? ** Two nations in one India – The challenge and the opportunity ** Challenge ** Opportunity ** Is this two-nation conceptualization necessary? ** The expected advantages
The goal ** The present arrangement has a character of imposition ** The village body is powerless ** Change is imminent, and it calls for a shift out of the ‘I know better’ colonial mind-set ** Effective decentralization can bring in its wake much good to the nation
Looking at it from the point of view that people must be happy
Issue 1 – Decisions need to be taken on the amount of money required for political activities in a democracy
Lesson 1 – The common citizen must pay if he needs to be the beneficiary
Lesson 2 – If there is no financial patronage, there is no possibility of honesty in politics
The answer is with the citizens
Issue 2 – Internal democracy in choosing leaders and internal communication for sharing ideas and venting emotions
Issue 3 – In dharma, there is transparency; honesty is the characteristic of a person who can lead a nation in dharma
All reservation ideas are open admissions that there is a lack of faith in the people who are to be voted into parliament or that there is a lack of mutual trust ** This idea is not the foundation of society ** A parliament of selfish representatives ** Selfish leaders ** If India seeks prosperity, the parliament cannot represent selfishness
1. Change mind-set
2. Change parliamentary procedures
3. Selfish representatives are non-leaders
For the time being discourage the narrow R=representative

Economy-wise, we are doing our best by global standards ** Economy first or life first? ** Can the nation slight the environmental challenge and romp ahead regardless of global consequences? ** Should the nation plan for a society that cherishes material aggrandizement or one that cherishes detachment? ** Capitalism is not a sacred cow; it too is an ideal – Practical capitalism must balance out the ideal’s negatives ** Shed the belief that this is a dog-eat-dog world; there is competition in dharma, but there is also great compassion ** The economic order does not throw up the right kind of leadership that is free of the blinders of capitalism ** A need to strengthen traditions that have spiritual sanction and purpose so that the adverse impact of capitalism is softened ** Making provision for both alternatives ** A different way ** The villages of India are an opportunity to counterbalance tradition and capitalistic rigor; the economic solution is that rural produce must be patronized ** Village industries need initial patronage and protection ** The five-point solution ** Tapping into the advantages of close-knit communities

Is the present judicial system dharmic? ** Today, money can buy better justice ** Dharma of a lawyer is decided by the larger cause ** Justice needs to have a public fervor ** Should increase in lawlessness should give more bread and butter to men of law? ** The existing system is basically reactive ** THE IDEALISM OF THE EXISTING JUDICIARY ** Ideal judiciary – Two important traditions that gave completeness ** The tradition of isolation of judges ** The pocket in the lawyer’s back ** GIVING POWER BACK TO THE PEOPLE THROUGH THE RE-INTRODUCTION OF GRASSROOTS-LEVEL COURTS IN A MODERN SETUP: ** Village courts ** The next higher level ** Protecting the authority of panchayat courts **

A colonial character is today’s norm ** The dharma perspective on policing ** It is a citizens’ system ** When the police take to dharma ** Community participation in policing; guarded from the inside and monitored from the outside ** A self-policing panchayat ** Citizens’ policing must also happen in cities ** Novel efforts must get the system’s patronage: **

Social work completes dharmic arrangements ** Social service results from doing justice to an inner drive ** Organizing social work is a challenge, but it has great rewards ** How that organization will shape up ** To push the system towards dharmic wholeness, social service must cater to some basic grassroots-level goals ** INTER-PERSONNEL RELATIONSHIPS IN SOCIAL WORKERS’ ORGANIZATIONS NEED SERVICE SPIRIT: ** No rigid command structure and yet cooperative ** Teaming-up and mutual respect ** Loose federation – Enlightened anarchy ** There is no duty ** Adequate defence against vested interests ** A coordinating agency promoting a ‘flat’ structure ** Practical constitution of social workers’ councils ** Minimal secretarial infrastructure ** Fine structure of councils – Customized and flexible ** Setting up task forces using volunteers ** Maximizing output through planned teamwork and cooperation ** Setting benchmarks for society by proper profiling of candidates for the councils ** While electing ** The council must be non-political and one of its kind for an area

A radical solution is imminent for healthcare ** The present medical institution is a limb of the capitalist system ** The current system is predominantly cure-based and reactive ** Government support dilutes the impact of hard-core capitalism ** Need for an alternative approach ** Solutions by virtue of dealing with the dynamics of demand and supply of medical services ** Facilitating other institutions for holistic health and medicine ** Medical research institutions with the duty of monitoring society ** Government and private hospitals ** Self-rule is destiny; all planning for systems must be done with that in mind

There is a valuable spiritual dimension to sports and arts ** A group’s approach to sports and arts must therefore reflect connoisseurship ** Institutional reforms to cater to a sporting and artful nation ** Akhadas (and sports/art Gurus) and their funding ** Elected bodies for managing sports/art forms ** Regional sports centers ** Similar solutions for art forms ** Patronage for the arts and sports – Celebration of life and service to society:

What truly distinguishes a person? Primacy of wisdom in an individual’s pursuit of education ** The education system tuned to a higher purpose ** Expanding the definition of education to include all learning processes in human interaction ** Specialized institutions catering education ** How a broader definition of education will affect some institutions ** Dare to stand by indigenous legacy – Formal education needs to be supplemented with indigenous inputs

Challenging times for the fourth pillar of democracy ** Dharma perspective on media values ** Facilitating the media to be dharmic ** Raising the quality of debate in the various institutions of the nation ** The pitfalls 1: Log in the eye syndrome ** The pitfalls 2: Wild dogs ** The pitfalls 3: Pigs ** The importance of the pitfalls in media consideration ** To summarize


Section 8 : Chapter 1:
(sample chapter)

What do sports mean to people? There are individuals who are serious about sports and arts for the sake of human interaction, recreation, exercise and adventure. But by far, most people consider these as entertainment (for these are known sources of pleasure and excitement), and a few persons consider these as means of livelihood and status (in related activities and in the support structure). Several institutions also look upon games and sports as a source of glory at competitions. A minuscule minority of the population take it as a prayer, a method for concentration, a trigger for alertness, etc. Most artists and sportsmen consider arts and sports as that which brings the best out of them. Therefore, these are the basic motivating ideas which, as of today, spur institutions, governments and individuals to action in the field of sports and arts. ...

Each nation has its own take on what sports is all about. In as far as India is concerned, there are campaigns being run for ‘marks for sports’ and most recently for ‘fitness’. And these are making an attempt to change mind-sets. However, the old perception lingers on, and as such, the focus of the intellectual mainstream is on the spoils of victory—the medals at the Olympics, the trophies at the world games, the money for winners and the glory for the triumphant. The idea of sports being a promoter of team spirit, health and other virtues is something of an afterthought.

Therefore, an Indian, having grown up in a cultural environment that holds this view, will not readily agree with sayings like ‘the important part of sports is not winning but playing well’. Most will wonder whether there is any sense in it. There are, of course, many who will be able to quote such sayings but will lack the conviction to translate that awareness into related activities in life.

There is a valuable spiritual dimension to sports and arts: For the good of sports and society, these opinions must change in a very fundamental manner. The overall status of sports and art forms should be elevated from their present status of being a source of mere entertainment, relaxation and profession to being a necessary part of an individual’s personal life. They must become an integral part of life in a community too. As the actress and dancer Mallika Sarabhai points out, ‘Arts are generally perceived to be the cherry on the cake; it should be rather thought of as the yeast.’

Obviously, this point of view is acceptable only if due regard is given to the wisdom of seers. That is, there is a need to take into reckoning the view that the best in man, in terms of potential for action and happiness, is brought out by the best of sports and arts. Or, as we have it in the Bhagavad Gita, ‘The path of knowledge and the path of action lead to the same goal.’

That goal is, as indicated by the wise, the best that man can be in his lifetime. One need not go that far into the unknown too. With a little bit of analyzing, by focusing on the attitudes of the majority of the best of artists and sportspersons, by paying heed to the latest concept of ‘the zone’ now taking shape in the west (it’s about the state of mind in which top players peak during performances; the study is in the context of basketball) or the ‘tunneling effect’ as athletes put it and by falling back a little onto the works of Rabindranath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda and others like them, it is easy to come to a similar conclusion. Abraham Maslow has also extensively studied this under the concept of ‘peak experiences’ and ‘plateau experiences’.

A group’s approach to sports and arts must therefore reflect connoisseurship: Understanding sports and arts in its higher dimensions will result in a change in view about a lot of other things related to sports and arts. All sporting and art activities should be firmly grounded in health-consciousness, personality development, character-building and spirituality rather than in victories, profession, prestige and entertainment. New institutions will have to be set up and old ones re-adjusted to suit this extended framework of utility.

In the light of grassroots freedom, the change in fundamentals will manifest itself onto the beliefs and initiatives of the neighborhood community. It will create a new set of aims in communities and produce additional sources of motivation to patronize the arts. And if this approach turns out to be right, it will find perfect resonance with indigenous arts and sports forms available in every locality/community.

From a national perspective, such activities will be taken up with a more enthusiastic outlook. It will be looked on as a means to ensure that there is productive activity in the villages. It will be seen as a source for team spirit. It will be counted upon to provide a good reference point for physical and spiritual health standards. And of course, it will also be seen as a means for release, entertainment and prosperity.

Looking at it from individuals’ point of view, such activities will stimulate in each citizen the need to inculcate a certain sense of self-discipline and strength of character (viz. freedom from weakness at crunch moments). It will help individuals develop the ability to focus on the ‘now’ and rely on the ‘power of now’. It will prod individuals to relish being in the action-world and down to earth. It will encourage them to give their all to their performances while being in the ‘zone’. Excellence will be their watchword. As Rajnikant, the South Indian matinee idol puts it, ‘Irrespective of how great your past achievements are, each time you need to get back to scratch, down to the floor, to the bottom and work upwards from there.’ He relates to it as a cause for humility and success. Consequently, the arts and sports provide a proper working space so that participants may learn more about themselves. Such activities help sensitize individuals in the appreciation of true merit, hard work and excellence.

Institutional reforms to cater to a sporting and artful nation: When the purpose, motivation and reason for the arts and sports in a nation are readjusted to the higher goals that inspire the best of sportsmen and sporting communities, the institutions that cater to these activities also need to be readjusted to suit the altered goals.

Among the institutions concerned with sports, there are two broad categories. One consists of the kind of organizations or institutions that are associated with the top-down initiatives that exist today. Such organizations and initiatives will be concerned with the various sports that have popularity and standardization at the global level. At the national level, these organizations include the ministry of sports, the bodies that come under it, the various autonomous bodies concerned with the various sports, the federations answerable to international federations, the organizing committees of various sporting events, etc.

The other kind of organizations will be those that concern themselves with indigenous sports that are popular in particular localized regions anywhere. These organizations must be basically built from the ground up, based on the popular will of the people. These organizations must have the strength and enough executive power to keep the said games fruitful to the cause of society.

As for the former up-to-down category, addition of new institutions may not be required. However, there is a need for work towards molding the existing institutions in such a manner that they are as democratic, transparent, involving and accessible as possible.

As for the latter group of down-to-up initiatives, there is a need for a lot of work. New institutions need to be created in virtually every village of the country. Traditional institutions need to be rejuvenated, and new methods of patronization need to be found. The character and purpose of the possible institutions can be roughly described in the following examples.

Akhadas (and sports/art Gurus) and their funding: These will be learning centers working at the grassroots level, focused on a particular game/art but disseminating much more than mere techniques and skill connected with it. The akhadas will also form a nerve center or storehouse for a lot of information. These are to be built on traditional lines. They will have to be built around acharyas and Gurus—coaches who are friends, philosophers and guides to the students. These teachers will be human institutions constituting treasures of knowledge held within a community. These persons who run akhadas must be trendsetters, icons and inspirers carrying on their work through their unique missionary zeal. They should very much be an integral part of life in any particular community.

The important difference today will be that these traditional akhadas will now have a new system of patronage in a democratic self-rule environment; it is needed for their survival. It will not be all that easy to have the students take up professional specialization in such games; rather, the focus should be on part-time training without compromise on the aim of excellence.

Patronage for such institutions was earlier arranged through the support of kings, rich persons, local zamindars, etc. The reason for this patronage was partly because sports were also a form of identifying talent for intake into armies and higher office. But that was not all. Kings prided themselves on the availability of ‘gems’ in their courts. Men of learning and the arts were patronized since the kings were taught to be connoisseurs—a sign of great prosperity of nations. Now with the absence of such arrangements under kingship, there is a need for new methods of patronage.

CSR-supported initiatives and advertisement budgets and local-government supported initiatives seem to be the most attractive options for patronage besides patronage by the rich. This will be facilitated if there is widespread awareness amongst the people that sports and arts are an integral part of a good life.

To sum up, the local communities, government officials and individuals (from within or outside each sport) must go out of their way to ensure that akhadas develop around inspirational sports teachers and that they find support and sustenance without any compromise on quality or self-dignity of the institution.

Elected bodies for managing sports/art forms: A federation concerned with the management of every individual traditional game/art form needs to be constituted while keeping in mind the extent of the population over which that particular game/art is popular. Such elected bodies must ultimately represent the popular will of those who participate either directly or indirectly in that sport. That is, it should be an autonomous body dedicated to a concerned sport; and as such, it should have domain over the area determined by the popularity of the sport. The elected members will represent a popular body authorized to handle issues pertaining to that sport.

Therefore, the actual organizational structure itself will depend on factors like the geographical extent of the game’s popularity, the nature of the game itself, the game’s special requirements and the finances required. Or in brief, the realities on the ground will specify the nature of each organization. These organizations need to be as objective as possible, in the sense that they should be independent of personalities. The duty guidelines should be well-defined so that the sport/art form gets sustenance from the system rather than individuals.

It will be interesting to see what kind of solutions emerge. But an outline is attempted here nonetheless:
● They should be institutions by whose efforts the sport/art form finds nourishment at the grassroots level.
● Such organizations should have the ability to lift up exemplary leadership in that sport into positions of authority.
● Such popular organizations must be guarded from direct political, bureaucratic or other interference so that the sport gets to be led by the best of men dedicated to the sport/art. Their authority in the relevant matters, in turn, must ensure that the service is useful and effective.

Among the responsibilities of such institutions will be the following:
● Establishment of a proper relationship with other similar organizations
● Working out timetables for major programs in order to optimize participation
● Directing the functioning of an optimum-sized executive which will directly deal with administration of the sport/game
● Helping make arrangements for centers of training, research or medicine and helping the dissemination of knowledge for improvement of techniques
● Helping knit the useful benefits of the game into the general life of the communities and the local institutions
● Playing an important role in ensuring excellence in the spiritual and physical health of individuals and of communities

Regional sports centers: They will be a factor in the top-down process. They must primarily offer services of various kinds related to health and sports for a particular region. Even the local or traditional sports must be able to gain from this source as follows:

1) Each center will manifest as a resource center servicing the complete spectrum of games. Very similar to a library, but it will be much more. It will have a full repository providing information on training methods, sports medicine, coaching techniques, game skills etc., which should be easily available to those who need it. A person going to the center looking for information about any game, be it pertaining to basic rules, advanced skills or the constructing of infrastructure, should be able to find it.

2) The center can also help in working out year-round programs so that there is good coordination between different games in the particular region.

3) Such regional centers must be supported by other research organizations undertaking application research in subjects like nutrition and medicine. Taking up unsolved queries and passing them on to research institutions will also be part of the responsibilities of such a regional center.

4) The center must take up pro-active projects like the stimulation of sports through training camps, initiating meeting processes, routine technology-transfer initiatives, refresher courses, etc.

5) One wing of such an institution should be dedicated to the provision of infrastructure for sports training which are too costly for small clubs. Such facilities are to be made available on a well-formulated basis. Preference must be given to the current and upcoming sportspersons of the region who have distinguished themselves and who have the potential to do well at the higher levels of the relevant game.

In brief, it can be described as a support base for coaches and sport Gurus in that they are given the best and latest available for their work. It should be a facilitator for coordination and a channel for technology transfer.

Though it is a top-down process in that the basic financing and intellectual resources come from government funding, it will still be run by directors elected from the region. The committee in charge may consist of members elected into office by sports organizations in the region, officials appointed by the state/central governments and functionaries of the institution itself. The proportion of popularly elected members should be greater than the appointed ones. The affiliated sportsmen, officials and teachers/coaches must form the electorate.

Apart from these, the usual institutions should continue to operate viz. educational institutions, sports schools, academies for particular games, clubs, leagues, sports institutions, associations, etc. Hopefully, they will be more imaginative and aware of the fact that sports and art forms form an integral part of the lifeblood of any society that believes in civilized living.

Similar solutions for art forms: Traditional art forms will receive similar impetus. The arts will be cherished for the very same values that sports are. Some of them, especially dance forms, will be cherished for physical health reasons too. Institutions similar to those meant for managing sports will be required. However, the tasks involved will be slightly different. The Guru-based institutions, elected bodies for particular arts, centers of culture, etc., which are prevalent today, will continue to exist and hopefully flourish too. These institutions will have to concentrate on encouraging live performances because the audience is part of such a performance. They must also encourage every individual in society to have minimum proficiency in a few of the art forms while simultaneously aiming for excellence in one or the other of them.

Traditional arts will hence be cherished for many reasons as follows:
● For individuals’ development
● For the sake of a neighborhood community
● As religious work
● As communities’ expression
● As a nation’s identity

They will receive much more reverence at homes and at educational institutions than is usual today. Blessed are those that are already practicing this. Aestheticism and excellence will even be an integral part of the various tasks of normal human life like cooking, housework or office work.

The arts will also form a vehicle for gnyan (wisdom) in that ‘performances’ based on religious themes will be taken up with the idea to educate both performers and viewers. The contributions to temples (donations/offerings) will be partly used to patronize traditional learning, classical arts and folk arts for the sake of both better spiritual awareness/knowledge and spiritual health.

At the community level, initiatives must be taken up for keeping the neighborhood alive through group performances of various arts during events like festival celebrations, home functions, temple celebrations, get-togethers, etc. And at the national level, the arts must be taken up as food and nourishment for the nation. No nation is worth its name if a strong culture of patronage of the arts is missing.

Patronage for the arts and sports – Celebration of life and service to society: Advertisements have been one of the most important sources for financing sports and arts in the present society. Besides this, there are initiatives arising from nationalistic fervor and some support from individual patronage too.

Hopefully, in the new scenario, the following will take place:
● Individual patronage will see greater heights,
● Initiatives of nationalism will hopefully be replaced by initiatives for a better civilization.
● In addition to the motive of advertisement, companies will give patronage with the intention of ‘boosting their workers’ morale’. (It is soothing for an individual to know that he not only works for profit but also for prosperity. He is happy that there is a direct benefit to society and culture due to the existence of the company. That makes his service, job and life more fulfilling for him. This is an essential component of CSR.
● One can also hope that there will be far greater inflow of money due to cultural activities in the form of fees, tickets and individual patronage because of changes in priority.
● Even temples will play their role in the patronage of sports and arts.
● Government initiatives at the higher levels of administration, and at the local level, should have a broader vision and widen their scope of support.
● Also, occasions like fairs, festivals and other similar meets must ensure the allocation of enough resources to support inter-village competitions in arts and sports. The patronage showered on these activities will be owing to the realization of their importance to life at the inter-community level. The financing will, of course, come from the usual sources sought from on such occasions.

Finally, it is important to remember that no system of taxation must be used to garner resources for sports and arts. Shelling out money for support must not be compelled because these are matters pertaining to the spirit which cannot be forced. Any force will be counterproductive. A nominal fee from those concerned should be admissible. This should be fixed at a minimum which will be necessary to run the basic services of grassroots-level organizations. Above that minimum, it should be left to free will—no mortal or moral coercive forces must be used. In any case, when it is understood that sports is something more than entertainment a lot of funds can flow into it. For example there is a huge industry charging exorbitant money for children’s books, toys, dresses… why will some of that money not get channelized into sports once its importance is understood?

It is a subtle issue of participation in a life process, which an individual should cherish and support from his heart. If it is sincere, it is an index of class or connoisseurship. Society must ensure that its younger generations pick up these values. Training institutions must orient individuals in such a manner that they target the highest goal. Planning and coordination forces should integrate this supreme idea in their plans. And finally, the rewarding and honoring initiatives pertaining to both fields should exemplify the highest that man can achieve in both body and in spirit. Sports and arts are apt playfields for secular spirituality.

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