Thursday, March 11, 2010

Power and patronage as family legacy

The “Sri Aurobindo community” that Banerji refers to is not easy to define and this amorphous construct gives rise to many theoretical incongruities. For instance, dynasty is one factor that people shy away from discussing. Wealth and knowledge, power and patronage, as family legacy is spawning many unhealthy situations.  It’s true that not all benefit from the family connection, but to some it offers an aura and they tend to function as though shouldering a variation of ‘white man’s burden.’ Banerji himself is a descendant of a famous family, and so are some others who have been vocal in the Heehs imbroglio.

Institutions and official positions too bolster the otherwise frail voice of an individual. Even Heehs had to steal the ‘Founder’ title (and I grabbed the President’s post before someone else lays claim to it; first mover’s advantage, that is). Opinions, if emerge through democratic negotiations within an organization, carry greater credibility and legitimacy than when foisted by the high command. Inculcating such collective consultations through mandatory institutional mechanisms is a task that needs to be urgently addressed. Converting the Trusts to more participative and democratic legal bodies in order to infuse talent periodically is also a challenge. Any first mover here? [TNM] 

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