- Should we dam auto promotion?
- Is Getting Elected the Best Investment?
- Are you stuck with wrong spouse?
- Why not bury E-mails with the dead?
- How should couples handle money?
- Balance Sheet of our Lives
- Now, Laugh Your Way To Good Health?
- Bondel Laughter Club - Spreading Happiness
- This Website Has Heritage Roots
- Adieu Pus-Pus (Cat)!
- Does Power Beget Wealth?
- Mother’s day:: Mothers Don’t Care How Famous You Are!
- Eco-friendly Coffee – Book by Dr Anand & Geeta Pereira
- John Monteiro - Like old wine, he gets better with age
- Prison Reforms..!
- Difference between Mechanical engineer and Civil engineer
- “Drugs Are No Unqualified Panacea!” – Prof. B. M. Hegde
- Drug Banks for poor patient
- Teacher and pupil
- Husband and Wife
Some Current Issues for Debate
Many years ago, a few days after I took up a new job as a public relations professional, a senior colleague approached me with a strange request. Ram, his son, who was studying in Standard V, had to write an essay on the topic “Honesty is the best policy”. He knew, he said, that I have written a well-reviewed book (Corruption – Control of Maladministration). So, would I please write the essay for his son?
I was initially shocked by the request which was, of course, politely turned down. When I later thought over the incident, I was struck by the irony of the situation of a parent trying to corrupt his child with the help of the author of Corruption!
I am sure that finally the boy wrote the essay by himself. I guess he proved, with the help of examples from the Ramayana and the Bible, that honesty is indeed the best policy. The teacher who set the topic for the essay must have been pleased with Ram, and other children in the class, for upholding the virtues of honesty.
But the nagging question continued to assail me. Is honesty indeed the best policy? Or, for that matter, are we to accept without questioning all those adages and dictums that have been trotted out to us through the generations? Is there a finality about issues?
That there are two or more angles to any issue was the basis of a series of essays that I wrote over the past several years. I first published them through a column called “Forum” in “Powai Pageant”, the monthly employee tabloid of Larsen & Toubro Limited. Topics chosen were based on current issues for replies from readers. There was a spirited response from readers and their submissions were rated and published in the tabloid. Since this intellectual exercise took much space, and to make place for more current news concerning the company and its employees, the column was discontinued after four years.
The exercise was resumed in Home Life, a general interest monthly magazine published from Bombay. The column’s new name was “Exchange” where “issues” were offered and “bids” invited.
One of the reasons why these columns could run so long is the case study approach used in presenting these issues. This is based on the premise that we are not easily provoked by abstractions and apparently settled dictums like “Honesty is the best policy”. If an issue is dissected sufficiently, but not conclusively, there is much scope for provoking people into looking at it from unexpectedly hidden angles – aided by personal experience, observation and logical reasoning.
This is the rationale of my submitting these issues to a wider readership through this book. These issues relate to current affairs and interpersonal relationships in many settings. I visualize many practical uses for this book. The issues covered by it could be handy in setting topics while testing candidates for employment. They can be used by debating societies in schools, colleges and clubs. They could form the basis for writing essays in class rooms, or in competitions. I can think of more uses. But I would rather have helpful reviewers and readers suggest a range of uses for it, or how it could be made more useful to the reader.
Between the covers of this book is a pot-pourri of topics that the author has written about with a view to stirring the reader out of his/her complacency towards so much that troubles one and which often goes un-tackled.
The book raises numerous questions as regards cleanliness in civic life, accountability as a virtue, one’s attitude towards life, euthanasia, etc., etc. Students –both school and college - will find this book particularly useful. Interestingly, though it is meant to offer students topics and ideas for debates, it also helps to stimulate thought and thus strives towards making essay writing easier and simpler.
Teachers, social workers and civic-minded people from all walks of life would find in the contents of this book their own ideas and thoughts on various subjects reflected rather thought-provokingly, almost goading them into action that would help make their own lives and that of others more comfortable, even more meaningful and pleasant.
On my retirement and settling down in Mangalore, I continued my column in the local English daily Vijay Times on a weekly basis under the title Welcome to Reason. It provoked good response and continued till the paper was bought over by the Times Group (along with the Kannada paper Vijaya Karnataka) and closed down. I carried forward the column title to my website www.welcometoreason.com launched on July 17, 2007. The rest is current history!