|Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Anantapur Campus|
On either sides of the women’s campus of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning at Anantapur, there are two prominent educational institutions. Once the students of these two educational institutions went on strike as a part of a national level agitation and persisted that the students at the Anantapur Campus should also join the strike. The students of the Sai Institute Campus courteously but firmly refused to comply with their demand. But the boys demanded that the union leader of the girl students come for discussion. On persistence, one of the girl students (deputed by the Principal of the Campus as spokesperson for this purpose) was sent to talk to them on behalf of the students. The girl student replied that there was neither a union nor a union leader. The girls and the boys stood on either side of the campus main gate. She probed with them the reason for their coming and also the purpose of the agitation. They explained the reason for their arrival but failed to precisely cite the motive and rationale of the strike. Then it was the turn of the girl student to educate them. She questioned them about the purpose of education and the loss they incur by going on strike. She explained that exams would get postponed and later even their further studies would get affected; money would be wasted; and above all they would get a bad name. “After all what benefit are you people going to get?” she asked. She said, “If you can give convincing answers to all the foregoing questions, then we too would join the strike.” She returned, as the leader of the group left the place under compunction. Then the other (outside) students began introspection among themselves. It all got into full swing when a boy immolated himself as a part of a nation-wide student agitation at a demonstration in the national capital during the early 1990s. Actually he started it casually, but it turned out to be serious owing to political compulsions. Whose mistake is that? It is not the mistake of that boy, but that of the social, political and the academic environment prevailing in the country.
Social dissensions prevailing in the society should be amicably sorted out through mutual love and harmony. People should not create split in the society and among various groups along various lines out of vested interests. Who will get a bad name because of all this? India will get a bad name at the global level. The educated people always hanker after money and power even though the future of India lies in the hands of educated youth. If the students also go off the track, the country will encounter unpredictable consequences. After all, being the children of this country (India), how can we tolerate this? We should not allow a section of the population of the country or geographical regions to remain at the bottom of the pyramid. It sounds uncomfortable, but owing to pecuniary attractions and certain other favourable consequences; industrial units, geographical areas and sections of certain groups compete to be recognised as sick or backward. The word ‘backward’ presents an appalling picture of India and in addressing ourselves as such; Bharatiyas are belittling our country among the comity of nations.
Students should stick to Indian ideals and espouse them by personal example. In every aspect of your life, it is you who have to face the challenges. All the students are on the spiritual path. Students from other institutions may make fun of your beliefs. But you should be able to tell them that God is there for you and He is your eternal shield.
Source: Total Quality Management: Insights from Ancient Indian Wisdom, Chapter 20, Man Management: A Values-Based Management Perspective – Based on the Discourses of Sri Sathya Sai Baba