Saturday, November 06, 2010

Expansion or ethics?

The latest tally of Study Circles and Integral Education Centres in Odisha stands at a staggering 11762 and 547 respectively. This includes Sri Aurobindo’s Relics Centres at 73 locations and over 100 Agriculture/Diary/Production Units. This social capital network is the result of round the year dedication of thousands of devotees and workers.

The economic angle of this whole framework is also an interesting aspect. Apart from the involvement of thousands of students and their parents through the educational ventures, the employment potential is also quite substantial. Further, a perennial pursuit pertaining to acquisition of land, construction of new buildings, purchase of vehicles and machinery, installation of new gadgets and furniture, printing and distribution of periodicals, organizing events and visits etc. constitute significant economic activity.

All these, basically, are managerial functions and addition to assets brings immense joy. For most devotees, however, it is yoga as it is done as an offering to the divine. The rosy picture, sadly, ends here as the stark reality unfolds. These organizations, rooted to the ground as they are, are not immune to the rough and tumble of a fiercely competitive surrounding.

The early enthusiasm of creating an institution bearing the name of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo gets mired in hierarchical diktats and internal conflicts. Questions of livelihood and career coupled with craze for power and recognition trigger umpteen turbulences in the erstwhile lake placid. Economy often entails exploitation, and finances cease to be transparent. The legitimacy of evading tax soon converts into larger clandestine transactions.  

Blemishes in an individual’s life are unavoidable, but when institutions start justifying the same, then The Mother’s project appears to be in jeopardy. The question is whether expansion is the only aim or it is ethics. No doubt, corrupt officials and politicians have contributed a lot in the past but is it a priority now to be extricated from their unholy grip? When India is fast transforming into a prosperous nation, it is crucial to scan the color of money that propels the caravan of yoga. [TNM]  

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