Learning to persist with a change without exiting!


Lot of young students are wanting to learn from everyday life, teachers and peers in school. Some are curious to learn about ever changing nature but very few from the way nature changes and still renews itself. There are many students who are not bright academically, but are very good in animal care, gardening, cooking, art, culture, sports, masonry, model building, and just weaving stories, imaginary and funny. Many students are misfit in the parlance of what constitutes normal life.

A story of one bright person can inspire and fill confidence in another young odd ball to feel less lonely and weird, as some are called. It can also depress and disappoint them. Recently, a young IAS officer resigned from job when he could not withstand the perceived injustice to tribal and other downtrodden people he was responsible for. He went into deep depression after leaving the service because he felt he had not done enough to help those people who deserved better destiny and fair chance to live and let live. His family felt he was a misfit in this world. His friends felt he might put them also in trouble. His honesty of purpose and less expedient ways of dealing with the paradoxes of life have converted him to a ‘problem’ case. He needs to reinvent his purpose, pedagogy to go forward and use his socially perceived weakness into a source of strongest attribute. He could not master the art of possible while remaining in the system. He had to be creative and committed enough without existing the system. it is easy to say from outside what he should have done. But more important is how to leverage the spirit of such souls which are deeply empathetic, even if not very street smart!

There are a lot of young people who cannot adjust will the ill treatment of other people on account of caste, culture, community, religious beliefs or others reasons. If they keep quiet they feel suffocated, if they speak out, their family members feel that they are endangering their well being. A ‘civilised’ and ‘smart’ youth then is the one who keeps quiet when she should speak out. A pragmatic and well-rounded person, is then the role model of middle class youth. Working for social Change invites stigma, sustaining status quo becomes a password to open many doors.

How do we help young people and children find their own sense of what they want to be? How do we help them interpret the data of social misfits in a way that the society gets more change agents rather than just conformist. Self-Seekers don’t need our help, they have a whole supply of mentors available at different stages to tell them how to deal with life. Corruption is so deep seated in our life, not just financial but also ideological because of such mentoring available to people who may initially refuse to cut corners. But then mood in the country is changing and hopefully in a very fundamental way. Slowly the ferment of fortitude will become a storm. Young boys and girls, who wish to bring about change in the way we run our world and small spheres of our influence, need mentoring and guidance so that they don’t exit the system. They have to learn to find sufficient room for maneuver. In this academy of fortitude, we need innovators, social change agents and teachers who will be patient to identify such precious souls. India need millions of mentors to support tens of millions of such kids. Youth trying to persist with change and innovations despite depressing returns from one’s efforts need wider space in this world. We need many more mentors to join hands if India has to change and change for more compassion and inclusion.


Visiting Faculty, IIM Ahmedabad & IIT Bombay and an independent thinker, activist for the cause of creative communities and individuals at grassroots, tech institutions and any other walk of life committed to make this world a more creative, compassionate and collaborative place