4Cs for guidance

This article, in a totally different context from lake conservation, has an indirect reference to PNLIT's work at Puttenahalli Lake.

Here are the relevant excerpts from the article. To read the full article, go online here.


The Hindu - Education Plus

11th March 2013

There are qualities that one needs to imbibe when one enters the workplace.

Many years ago when I was still a student, I heard from a veteran in the field that the three qualities that were central to good journalism were curiosity, courage, and compassion. One might add to this a fourth C (at the risk of sounding like all those other list makers who love alliteration!) — Commitment. Come to think about it, these are qualities that would seem to apply to pretty much any field of endeavour, and they don’t just begin when one enters the workspace but should guide all activity outside the bare routine.



And commitment of course is what makes all of this come together in a meaningful and effective way. Speaking at a student symposium recently, Bangalore-based social entrepreneur Subramaniam Vincent described how a young market researcher in Bangalore had become involved in cleaning up a city lake. Faced with this civic problem, the young woman asked herself, “I’m educated, I’m an analyst, and I have the resources…I should be able to put my mind to this problem, and find a solution.” Clearly, the curiosity was there, and she found the courage to take the risk of entering an area — a public space — that was not part of her routine “job”, and went about committing herself to the task.

The whole exercise was driven by compassion, in a certain sense, the drive to do something that would address a larger environmental problem. “The point of education is to make you intervene,” emphasised Vincent. To intervene to make things better…for yourself and for the people around you.

But stepping back again, for a moment, I’d like to reiterate that intervention of any kind is possible only if one has the curiosity to think in different ways, the courage to ask questions in the face of widespread acceptance, the compassion to turn those questions into useful and relevant ones, and the commitment to put your time and effort behind them.

Now don’t get me wrong — I do not mean to imply that all work must have a direct or obvious social imperative (but wouldn’t that be a wonderful idea?). If you think carefully about it, these qualities make for better work of all kinds, in all spheres. Curiosity and commitment sharpen our skills, while compassion and courage contribute to the context within which those skills are applied.