Can we say that Gandhiji shook the world in a gentle way ? Perceptions may differ. Simple means like Salt Satyagrapha, Boycott of foreign goods, Conquering opponents by love, Non-violent ways of protest, Non-cooperation, Fasting, Silence etc. are in no way gentle. May be they are, since there is no physical violence involved but they are firm and assertive, shaking the world, transforming thinking, touching people, triggering geo-political shifts & structuring, rewriting history and our future. The impact has been profound and long-lasting.
This brings me to the much-talked and most-viewed about 2 Padmashri awardees for 2020 – Harekala Hajabba, an orange vendor turned educationist from Mangalore who has built schools from his meagre savings and Tulasi Gowda, the illiterate environmentalist from Ankola in Karnataka who is hailed as the walking encyclopaedia of forests. Both of them have been shaking the world around them in their own, simple, small, ubiquitous ways without any expectations of rewards or recognition. No social media. No climate protests. No TedX talks. No claims. Only genuine passion which has manifested as their calling in life !
Watching the Mandela film Invictus, I found similar gentle ways of Madiba as he pats the Springboks rugby team captain, Fraincois Piennar and shares the poem ‘Invictus’ which encourages him to lead his team to the 1995 Rugby World Cup victory. This goes a long way in bridging the growing apartheid gap in South Africa, post Mandela’s election as the first black President. A simple yet thoughtful act that is deep and stirring !
I can recall a similar nudge from my mentor and senior Company Secretary Mr. Gopalakrishna Hegde who shook me gently and urged me to take on the ICSI Bangalore chapter chairman position way back in 2014, saying “Think about it. You can do it”. Helped me remove the uncertainty in my mind. I had the privilege of leading the chapter as the first woman Chairperson in 40 years, thanks to the gentle words of this gentleman. While I may not have done anything earth shattering or world-shaking so to speak, yes it shook me from within and helped me discover my leadership skills or the lack of it in certain circumstances !
Never underestimate the power of simple words and gentle actions – they can move people and transform the world !!
Recently I heard a young techie challenge her colleagues – Is your profession a Job, a Career or a Calling ? Job and career need no explanation but what is Calling ? It is something that you pursue with a passion, with a zeal, with your entire being. More often than not, the calling comes from within and when it comes, there is no looking back. No age bar. No barriers of gender, geography, ethnicity or financial resources. This urge to do something, the desire to give back something, the will to pursue something manifests as a limitless energy, propelling you to achieve extraordinary things. The calling comes unannounced. One must be conscious and aware of it. From Swami Vivekananda who strived for Nation Building through the Youth to my Nephew who is making great strides in a top US university in Data Science and AI, despite odds (refer 203rd issue of Samhita for what I wrote back then) to Mrs. Lakshmi Kalyanasundaram, a 91 year young teacher who has been teaching English to spastic children since the age of 67 https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p080b5t4 – for all 3 of them, it is their Calling. Nothing else can explain what they have done or what they are doing. Age, circumstances, finances or the times they were born in, haven’t mattered. Calling is timeless and ageless. As we begin the new decade of 2020, Find your calling, Find life !
In my opinion this should be the true Calling of all of us – Parents, Children, Teachers, Educational Institutions, Corporates, Society – then and only then the world will be a better place to live in ! As Franklin Roosevelt said, “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.”