Dr.M.L.Khurana, Managing Director, National Cooperative Housing Federation of India
Cooperation as a principle and as a movement has a long history in India. The concept of cooperation finds mention even in ancient Aryan scriptures. The Rig Veda states:
“May you all have common principles,
may your hearts be in unisons,
may you all be of common mind,
So that you can work efficiently and well”.
Besides, the laws of Manu and Kautilya’s Arthashastra also refer to activities of cooperatives. In the Bhagvat Purana individual ownership is permitted only to the extent of the requirement of food.
A strand of practical resemblance of cooperation in India can be deduced from the ancient and enduring tradition of the joint family wherein members earn and spend collectively. India, despite being strong patriarchal society, a mother or grandmother played a pivotal role in the family. The Cooperative principles and values are drawn from the virtues of mother who gives the family and its each aspect a definition. In Mahabharata, in reply to the Yaksha’s question, “what is weightier than the Earth?” Yudhistera said “the Mother is weightier than the Earth.”
A mother can be termed as the most efficient management guru one can find. The cooperatives look upon her as an idol.
Value Based Education:
A child, when born is a lump of clay on the mother’s hand. She is the one which shapes the child with her virtue, education and ethos. Values provided by a mother to a child at a very tender age get so imbibed in the child’s system that he/she tends to remain with them through the lifetime. Education has long been termed as the central element in holistic human development. Exposure to education brings one in contact with the enormous pool of knowledge that the external world awaits. The focus on history enables us to be better judge of the present. In other words, light of education broadens the spectrum of opportunity one could get in his/her lifetime to be a better citizen and a stronger consumer.
The cooperative movement is primarily an educative and social movement, which steadily became a system of business. Many people join the bandwagon of cooperatives in quest of goods and services, which are normally not available in the open market, at affordable price. Ironically, they may not be aware of the ideology and principles of cooperation, their rights, duties and obligations etc. It is hence imperative for its patrons to spread the true purpose of cooperatives through intense education and training. The importance of education was realized as early as in 1915 when the Maclagan Committee laid the strongest emphasis on the need of education both before and after the registration of cooperative. The Committee rightly predicated that if the cooperation was to be ‘an entity of substance’ the knowledge of its principles had to be imbibed in every member. The Cooperative Planning Committee observed that “If the Cooperative Movement is to develop on a sound basis and to expand in diverse directions it is necessary that those who comprise its vast membership are made conversant with the principles and practice of cooperation. It is only then that they and their representatives will be able to conduct its affairs on well-ordered lines”.
Like the way a mother closely knits a family together through her constant attention, love and values. She strives to keep not only the children but all the other members of the family in best of their spirits so that they live and work collectively in a congenial integrated manner. Similarly, Value and business ethics should be integral part of cooperative education and training so that members live and work with harmony, avoid disputes and promote integration in the cooperative.
Recently, Harvard Business School has invested USD 30 million for imparting knowledge in business ethics/values to management students. All India Council for Technical Education, Government of India which is responsible for technical education in the country has recommended inclusion of business ethics in management studies syllabus. Common people are now keen towards an individual development and spirituality at work apart from their job description.
Once Napoleon was asked how to make the nation great. Came his reply promptly, “Give me good mothers I will give you a good nation”.
Have we ever thought as to who is the first person whom we remember whenever in distress? When suddenly we react against any stimulus, the first word that comes out of our throat is “MAA”(mother). A mother is omnipresent being the pillar of strength always; she need not be physically present by your side to motivate you. The very look or touch of hers can instill thousand horsepower of energy and motivation to pull through the toughest of times or situations. The very thought of her during the low phase of our lives makes things appear sunny and bright. Ibrahim Lincoln, the renowned former US President had once said that whatever he had achieved was because of his mother. Closer home, legends like Shivaji, Rana Pratap, Mahatma Gandhi always spoke very high about the contribution of their mothers in achieving enormous success, name and fame in the society.
Though the motivation activated by a mother is irredeemable, however this is the kind of motivation that is required today in cooperatives. Human beings acting positively and responsibly are something natural; we have a unique nature, patience and compassion. What we need is fine tuning of the qualities to cultivate and edify them. A mother preaches that motivation comes from within. Our brain is directionless; we have to direct it the way we want. For instance, employees are generally very enthusiastic on Friday evening as compared to Monday or any other working day. This is because we direct our mind in such a way that the anticipation of a weekend makes us feel bright and resuming work on Monday brings gloominess!
Lord Krishna motivated Arjuna not by teaching new strategies of war or new technologies. He only changed his attitude, vision and insight towards life. He explained him new ways of expression, a holistic self-assessment approach, and process to revamp inner endurance and how to look inward. A mother teaches never to grieve over a challenging situation, but face the situation courageously. A failure should always be treated as one step towards success.
change of attitude and outlook is necessary for the cooperative Manager to outperform himself at every task he takes on. The under lying key is the motivation. No one should feel lazy and should be willing to perform. They should always think that getting food for their families, respect in the civil society and happiness while working surely are the reasons to get up and get going. We have to be the catalyst to drive the change and involved all the members at appropriate places. This will maximize outcome and bring success to cooperatives.
A proverb goes, “An Idle Mind is the Devil’s Workshop.” There cannot be a more degenerative punishment than solitary confinement. Remaining inactive even for a moment for any individual is against nature’s mechanism and hence one helplessly thrives for action. Being devoid of action for a long time rusts the body. A mom is the definition of ‘action’. She loves to do the house chores and hardly picks and chooses her favourite task; she does all the tasks with equal élan. She amazingly discovers creativity in odd jobs which otherwise are considered quite mundane. This teaches us to accept whatever work is entrusted to us and perform our action without any desire, attachment, ego and fear. A repetitive ordinary job transforms into different and extra-ordinary one if performed with conviction and positive action. This is one mantra that we all must have observed in our mothers while growing up.
A great combination is only achieved when positive action is coupled with positive thinking. A right attitude for an undesirable job can create a magic, however a wrong attitude even for a favourable job will destroy it. Trying a hand at the most challenging situations makes one a strong individual rather shying away from it.
Self assessment is always better than criticizing others. A great teamwork is achieved when each team member encourages each other to bring forward their positive contribution and brainstorm to overcome shortcomings. A child grows up into a confident adult only when a mother pats his back when he does something commendable while explains his mistakes. A guardian, manager, team leader should very well understand the fact that everybody cannot do the same thing with same result. A factor called interest comes into play. A manager has to be a psychologist in understanding likes and dislikes of an employee and should try to maximize the potential of the employee by alternating tasks that he/she does the best and those which are least preferred by the employee. If we want to extract maximum from the workers, we should not put pressure on them on action of our choice. Action should be performed with full concentration and without any fear. Dedication is a very vital trait to perform a duty well – while at work, performing it completely with full concentration, best of knowledge and without any fear yields shining output. The modern Manager has to attend variety of works and on different occasions under urgency and emergency. Setting priorities right and managing time efficiently can set standards high while performing a task. As it is said, “Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth”, hence one should take up one task at a time. Focusing on time and concentrating hard on the task on hand can do wonders in keeping last minute hurriedness at bay.
While taking a decision, it is advisable not to be judgemental. With a clear mind and collated inner strength one should take an informed decision. A decision taken in haste or borrowed without thinking often backfires and puts one’s credibility at risk.
Equanimity of Mind:
The balancing act requires a lot of self-control and faith in one self. Surprisingly a mother metamorphoses herself into a barometer, who helps keeping the pressure of worldly things on mind controlled. She provides us with strength to maintain balance between the opposite pairs of various feelings like honour and shame, pain and pleasure, gain and loss, joy and sorrow, success and failure. Today’s world has become so volatile that facing upheavals at every step is not surprising. It is therefore always advisable to be calm and composed all the time – neither to be over joyous on hearing good news nor being disheartened and sulk knowing a bad news. On the other hand we have to sustain this volatile environment performing our assigned duties without losing our calm of mind. It is useless to search for solutions in outside world; the effort should be to find one from within.
Conflict of any kind, physical or mental leads to frustration, anger, resentment, tragic consequences and waste of resources. These disputes eat away our precious time, energy, money and vitals of human body and disturb peace and prosperity of both the parties. These disputes can be reduced if we change our mindset and attitude towards life and start empathizing with people.
Conflict is always not negative, there is a thin line separating a constructive conflict from a destructive one. An argument, debate or a conflict if only approached with a positive mindset, can yield greater knowledge and understanding. We should address the basic root cause of disputes and see beyond profit-loss, friendship-enmity, fame-defame. Welfare of the society should be given importance. We should use our energy for the good; not for ill and evil. Positive attitude and energy help effective conflict resolution. Though conflict is part of our life and conflict resolution is not taught in School, with experience of life skill of arbitration should be acquired to avoid a healthy conflict turning ugly. A Chinese proverb states that “Those who are capable of meeting Life’s Conflict can truly lead the workers”.
With motherhood a woman evolves as an epitome of love and affection. There forward she only nurtures and preaches goodness for all. ‘Love’s acronym can be deduced as – ‘Lenient’, ‘Obedient’, ‘Vigilant’ and ‘Efficient’. Imbibing these adjectives into our system, we can develop lovable and affectionate attitude towards others.
Mother teaches us a great virtue to limit our desire. Fulfillment and satisfaction is limitless. The richest may never ceases to have a desire to be even richer. A reservoir of happiness doesn’t exist. We need to relish even smallest of achievement as we never know when these small packets of happiness relinquish. Focus should be on what is next in line to achieve and how to tame the mind to be content with whatever we have.
“All sufferings are caused by human desire”. Enjoy what you have and renounce what you don’t have. The Great people and enlightened mystics like Guru Nanak, Kabir, taught the world to limit desire and be happy whatever your life has given you.
Mother is the greatest manager. She tries to keep all the members of the family satisfied and happy. She carries in her mind a total vision and complete panorama for bringing development and prosperity to the family. She gives security, contentment and inculcates leadership qualities in the children. She encourages people around her to identify their interest, discover talents and invest energies towards achieving laurels in that field. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was an ordinary person who eventually became ‘Mahatma’ owing to his leadership qualities received from his mother Smt. Putlibai.
Today, the cooperatives are facing enormous problems to survive in the new environment being created across the globe. We need new generation genuine cooperatives promoted, owned and controlled by members so that they run truly on cooperative principles. For this, we need honest and sincere leadership, employees and members. If we relate the simple yet deep penetrated principle adopted by a mother for her loved ones, the cooperatives can sail through unscathed during the time of crisis.