postman: the knowledge worker


Unheard, unrecognized and uncared:

The knowledge manager: the postman

There is no other grassroots functionary in the country who visits thousands of villages and millions of households every day, without fail and without grudge.  Rarely, if ever, one would come across a system that delivers so much, so often, so widely and yet so regularly.

A postman listens, observes, and understands.  He in fact also asks and shares his feelings with a small proportion of the people to whom he delivers the post.   He knows a great deal about what is happening in the village or an urban neighbourhood.   He has looked at the changes.   He has seen the old parents being abandoned.   He has also seen communities in great love each other despite all the cultural differences.  He has a finger on the pulse of the society.   And yet, who ever cares to listen to him or to understand what he knows and is willing to share.

A society which wants to be a knowledge-based society cannot afford to ignore an extraordinary knowledge manager, i.e., the postman.

National Innovation Foundation (NIF) wishes to join hands with the postal department to pursue a country wide experiments on tapping societal knowledge, innovations, institutions and outstanding cultural and social experiments through the eyes and ears of postman.  The objectives of the proposed collaboration are:

a.    To identify outstanding innovators, traditional knowledge holders, achievers in different fields
b.    To disseminate the knowledge about creativity and innovation among the local communities so as to generate their curiosity for learning from others.
c.    To encourage people to write letters to seek more knowledge about self-inspired and self-triggered innovators in different fields.
d.    To influence the mindset of young people, particularly children so as to think of new ideas and innovations and share them locally as well as regionally and nationally.
e.    To reinforce the culture of writing in the age of oral discourse through telephones, so that reflective faculties do not become further weak.

While NIF will focus on technological innovations and traditional knowledge, Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions (SRISTI) will focus on innovations by individuals or groups or communities in education, resource management, small scale industry, petty business, common property resource management, communal harmony, etc.

Each postman will be requested to scout innovative and creative people and institutions and encourage them to write to SRISTI or NIF or send a short note with their address to the postal department for a nation wide contest.  The best entries will, of course, be rewarded but more importantly, we will recognise those who scout such entries.

Very seldom has one heard of recognizing postmen for extraordinary service that they provide.  This is a chance to make a small difference in this regard.  Let us try and tap the enormous knowledge of our society through the most committed knowledge manager – the postman.

Anil K Gupta