Thursday, August 13, 2015

Diffuculties of being honest

I admire Gurcharan Das. He was a former CEO of Proctor & Gamble India and now an author and news paper column writer.

He has written a book called Difficulties of Being Good. It revolves around various episodes of Mahabharata and raises ethical questions. One classic one is where Arjun questions the war against his own family members. There is link to a youtube video at the end of the blog

In IIIT, we have always believed in being truthful and being honest. It is not easy when the truth and honesty involves talking about not so nice things about ourselves.

This year I made a rather long presentation before the parents of freshman students. Among the many things I talked about, here are a few:
  • Students have lost lives due to misadventure or illness
  • Students have flunked in examinations
  • Students have been detained for a year due to indiscipline
  • Students have been fined heavily for stealing or damaging Institute property
  • Students do not become eligible for placement due to poor CGPA
  • and a few more..
Also I talked about our achievements in the last few years.

I have often wondered whether such true but negative incidents will turn away potential students and their parents. Whether we will be perceived as a pessimistic Institute.

One of the parents of a freshman student met me later. He told me that he had investigated (he is a vigilance officer) about the Institute. In fact he had more refined statistics about the Institute than I had. He knew about most the negative incidents I mentioned above. He appreciated the courage and the honesty of the Institute in narrating such stuff while meeting the parents the first time. He told that he is now certain that his ward is in the right place for next four years.

One may achieve temporary results through lie and deceit but lasting achievements come from being being truthful and honest, having a vision and working towards it, accepting both success and failure and learning from them. This strategy has paid rich dividends in last few years.

And, I hope that being truthful and honest never becomes too difficult a job for us.

In two days time, 69th Independence will be on us. Jai Hind.