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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Role Models

India is passing through the transformative period when we are shifting slowly from being a culture "based on a largely diverse but shared core of faith, tradition and authority" to one in which "everything under sun, no matter how fundamental or deeply rooted in values, is under the scanner of reason". We need role models more than ever in this changing phase of economy and society. We have either western educated elites, who always remain resentful for anything traditional or nationalists who see every change as an act of corruption to pious way of Indian tradition. We need examples of person who are not involved in corruption, conspicuous consumption and oppression of their unlettered citizens. They must be good role models in the eyes of their less educated and younger compatriots. What I ask may sound unrealistic perfection of the characters, but we can lookfor.

Role modelling is important for a person. I was once destined for bigger and better things through IIT JEE. In the eyes of society, I was qualified for a glamorous life in a metropolitan, a job with the prestigious MNC and the pleasures of such lifestyle. Yet, I never arrived on the scene. DNA of my values were completely different. This is because, I chose different role models in my life. I am always a person looking for 'Balance' rather than 'Success' in life.

My brain not physique has always been my asset. While growing up, my role models were different from others. I use to prefer Robin Singh, Andy Flower, Heath Streak, Lance Klusener and Rahul Dravid for their grit and hard work. They were athletes playing for a weak team and often end up with the losing side despite brave efforts. That was the core reason for me becoming a supporter of underdogs. The noble knights of mythical stories, animated series of superheroes and Bollywood movies also contributed in building a character. I came to respect values like personal liberty, freedom and justice above identity issues. I have strong opinion in the favour of Edward Snowden, Aaron Swartz, Bradley Manning, and Julian Assange who are people who have the balls to do what they think is right.  The journalist like Arun Shourie, Christopher Hitchens and P Sainath are a source of inspiration to me. I took persons like Deep Joshi as perfect role model due to brilliant brain, compassion and integrity. I am a person who will any day prefer Dennis Ritchie to Steve Jobs. I prefer a role model who can be remarkable for their "intellectual complexity, compassion, and resourcefulness";

Moderates are made not born. - Robert M.Calhoon

Act 3, scene ii of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare (Mark Antony: "The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones". History makes people unidimensional and lives are summed up by a single incident. Hansie Cronje was my hero who can't do anything wrong. The Cronje Match fixing scandal was the most shocking incident with which the worship era of teenage years came to a disruptive end. It showed me that our heroes are fallible and the justice is important rather than following personality cult.  Even liking for a person must be built on hard facts. That was only half of the lesson.

The historical injustice are often mixed with our identities. There's a strong silence, sometimes people even don't want to listen leave apart understand it. Injustice is often inherent one in the system, it cannot exist without it. I can be an idealist and can be against everything—that won't change me. Can I look for some feasible solution ? I learn importance of practical and inclusive decision making from NDA government. I gradually came to respect Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Jawaharlal Nehru and Bhimrao Ambedkar for their role in political space. The other half of the lesson was delivered. I didn't turn into self righteous, cynical and vague critic due to a simple interest in politics.

I look for truth but am happy with less than perfect solution. That is why, I didn't turn a NaMo fan boy despite supporting BJP. Today, I am too radical for the conservatives and too social-democrat for the neo-liberals. I am committed to the higher values like justice, love, peace and freedom. I value excellence but pay heed to voices for equality. A person who shows me knowledge gets my attention but those who show wisdom always gets my respect. I am as reckless and foolish as only young men can be - and that is why ideological differences with family, friends and community appear in no quick time. I have a dry sense of the absurd mixed with humanistic, passionate and rational approach towards life.

It was one of the best moments of my life when I met Prof. M S Sriram at XIMB. He has an unsurpassed blend of the sublime and the precise knowledge combined with wit. I was much impressed with his gyaan but resisted taking his autograph for a particular reason. Autographs are taken by people who wants to collect soverigners and are struggling to find an identity for themselves. I am also struggling to build an identity. I want to explore it instead of handing useless bits of paper even to my role model.

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