Letter to My Little One–31

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What Makes Himachalis Different…

November 29, 2006

Dear Little One,

My post has nothing to do with the debate about regional or cultural differences specific to an area but I wanted to record something that I felt needs to be duly credited. It is concerning the effect of words and empathizing listening and its effect on the general mindset of the persons involved.When Swami Ramdev Ji came to Hamirpur and I had a chance to attend his Shivir for two days I remember him full of accolade for the Himachali people—one the way they dressed up ad the other for their very “Seedhi-sadhii” nature. As it was a camp where some assanas had to be performed so he always wanted women to be properly dressed and Himachali people dress up modestly so he was very happy. If you remember there was some case of impersonating identity so Ramdev Ji had to deal with Himachal Police as well. He remarked during the assembly that “Not only the people of Himachal are very simple but the Himachaal police, too, are ‘Seedhee-sadhee’ as they have not to deal with hardened criminals!” His compliment that he repeated even during his
UK visit made me think about our own people in a new light.
Then another episode came to my mind. You know Gupta uncle told us once that here in Hamirpur he had been to the home of both the MLAs, representing BJP as well as Congress and he said, “I was treated so well, sincerely welcomed and was offered tea and snacks” and as an afterthought he added, “Had I made an attempt to meet my own MLA back home in UP, I would never even be allowed to enter the premises!” We just laughed at his revelation and thought why would the representatives of the people not meet their own constituency people. But this is the harsh fact in many of the states in
India.

Yesterday I came to know that there was someone who was interested to come to your Papa’s place of posting and worried that your Papa may not be dislodged from that place, I didn’t know what to do. I was worried. I really didn’t know whom to approach. I just opened the telephone directory and dialed the residential number of the Animal Husbandry Minister, Harsh Mahajan. I was surprised when he himself picked up the phone and listened patiently to my request and assured me of all help that he could render. I wondered would any Minister in any other state would pick his phone and answer to the caller. Perhaps not.

Not only this he recognized that I had called him up earlier as well. If you remember some three years back when your Papa got an outstation posting, how disturbed I was, rather all of us were. One fine day when I didn’t know what to do, I called up the Minister in charge of his department and talked to him about my concerns. He was compassionate to listen to me but as the list of transfer orders was being implemented, he showed his inability to do anything at that stage. Though the purpose of my call was not solved but it did generate a very good feeling in my mind about the easy access to the people living in the corridors of power. What else we need for good governance? No wonder that Himachal is acclaimed for good governance. I felt proud. This impact transfers from Top to Bottom and the common people in the state, too, reflect this work culture where compassion overrules any other reason! You just have to listen to the students, from outside Himachal, of my class when they are so surprised to find people trusting others so easily, something that they are not comfortable with in the beginning. But I am sure that when they leave this place they carry along with some of the traditions from this small hilly place.

I don’t think that anywhere else you would find such compassionate persons who are at the helm of the affairs. The point is that it is just impossible for you to satisfy all those who come to you seeking favours but if you are compassionate enough to listen to their point of view, I think half the battle is over. We need to be heard compassionately. I am sure what you wrote about the humanizing approach of your managers is the approach that works in all situations as we deal with human beings at all levels. So, my dear Little one, learn to be humane, compassionate and caring as this is what makes us be called civilized human beings and not some brutes uncaring and callous to other’s emotions.

Love

Ma

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