I saw Umrao Jaan today. Though the movie is slow and can be quite boring for people not so fond of Urdu poetry or dialogues, its an absolute must for Aishwarya Rai fans who was “omnipresent” throughout the film. Both Miss Rai and Abhishek Bachchan(who does not have much to do in the film) have put in good performances at par with Shabana Azmi who is in her element as usual. No point in comparing Aishwarya to Rekha in the old movie because with the kind of Rekhas(beauty)she has, performance can be on the backburner for some. Speaking for myself, I am a hardcore Rekha fan for both style(beuaty) and substance(talent).
More than the performers and the performances, some chaste urdu poetry and dialogues were quite spellbinding. One such dialogue in the film which Shabana Azmi says to Aishwarya Rai goes something like this
“Heere ko apni chamak nahin dikhti par jauhri uski Kadar karna jaanta hai”.(Maynot be exact) . This implies that a person may not know his own worth but a discerning coach/master may know enough to be kingmaker.
It reminded me of what I had read a couple of years ago- Current Chairman of Indian cricket Selectors Dilip Vengsarkar was then on a “talent-scout” mission among the small villages and towns of India to hunt for natural cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar and Kapil Dev. Much before that, former Test cricketer and member of world cup winning team Madan lal while talking in the context of coaching my son told me “ My years in International cricket has taught me one thing. Cricket is a god given gift. If I see a gifted child, I take interest in him. Otherwise I tell the parents not to waste my and their time and take their child wherever his potential lies” . Even for Tennis, the best player in the local club also told me that the coaches often know who has the potential but many times hide facts from the parents of the less gifted child to earn more. One wonders how far a proactive talent scout system can work in education as well.
(A week after writing this post, it came in an article on India today(featuring Vengsarkar) that cricketers spotted by the Talent Reasearch Development officers(TRDO) were groomed by the National cricket academy. Vengsarkar states in the article that there is no exceptional talent that can straightaway be inducted into the Indian cricket team. It reminded me of how Wasim Akram and Inzamam-ul-haq had been catapulted to International cricket by the then Pakistan captian Imran khan after watching them on Television. Akram as captain followed the same policy with Abdul Razzaq.More or less the same thing happened to Tendulkar. It may not work in all cases(Parthiv Patel) but at least the TRDOs can be there in all occupations)
I recently read somewhere that some recruiting firm was not satisfied with the quality of software engineers that were coming out of institutes. It reminded me of this post in which it is stated that only 20% of the total talent pool is good enough for India Inc.
The direct definition of Education is that it is derived from the latin word educere which implies to take out what is already in(and not blindly stuff in). Another interesting definition of Education is that “Education is whatever you are left with after you have forgotten whatever you have learnt”.
The above definitions imply that you are born with a certain innate potential. What does that imply? Well known motivation speaker, Mr Shiv Khera often says “ Winners do not do different things. They do things differently”. Though he says this in the context of attitude, I believe it is more true for aptitude for the simple reason that everybody cannot do everything differently. Another well known American consultant said that “You have to figure out what is uniquely you”. According to them, grand success depends on being able to identify if not pin-point what is it that you can do uniquely and exceptionally well. Each of the Pandavas being unique in their own way, one of the teachings of the Mahabharat is to develop your unique quality.
Natural talent often manifests well without any formal coaching. I played lawn Tennis for several years but was not satisfied with the backhand(bane of many racquet games). My younger brother got it right in the first week itself without any coaching in such a brilliant manner that many players complimented him. My wife is qualified in English hons but it is me, an MBA who has written articles and poems for magazines and newspapers. Similarly, she does certain business work much better than I do. My father does much better trading in shares than me despite not having any formal training in Technical analysis(graphs) which I have. I once worked in a company where the rise of one person was much faster than four others though all of them were from the same batch from the same institute.
John Adair, in his book, effective innovation while giving the example of a trained artist who excelled as an inventor concluded that “Engineering is just a state of mind. You do not need a vaste amount of knowledge”
All this clearly shows that talent(application) is more important than the tool(knowledge). Even the scriptures talk about it. Vedanta says that Sukshma( subtle, subjective) is more powerful than sthula(gross, objective). Vedanta also talks about each one to progress according to his natural inclination-Raja yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma yoga and Jnana yoga and further discriminate according to their states of mind –Rajsik, Tamsik and Satvik.. Many intellectual and spiritual stalwarts- Vivekanand, Osho, Krishnamurthy, Aurobindo etc have spoken of it. However one wonders how much the so called educational institutes follow it- imparting knowledge is not very tough but being able to spot innate talent is a different ballgame altogether. Following humotech is as if not more important than following biotech or infotech.
It would not be out of place to mention here what I read about the board exam suicides(which have gone up in the last five years) a few months ago in an article which suggested that the subject of emotional intelligence should start early in schools. One cannot disagree with that but maybe if true educationists were there, the children would know where their unique strenghts were and there would be no reason to commit suicide because of fear of blind competition. Competition ironically means “seeking together”. In any case, blind pursuit of knowledge instead of talent or application in the era of internet is plain stupidity.
Today itself, in the Sunday Times of India, dress designer Abu Jani ( Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla ) says “In 1886 we were treading uncharted waters. Neither of us possessed any design qualifications and we had precious little in terms of finances or infrastructure to invest into the grand vision we had conjured up for ourselves. What we did have in abundance was the dream and determination to turn it into a reality.”
Well, for every Abu-Sandeep who have the guts to follow their convictions, there are countless who do not know their hidden talents, their unique talents or their so called “dreams” and unless the education systems reforms, they are destined to live the life of Thomas Carlyle’s “ The person who has found his vocation in life is a blessed human being. Let him ask for no other blessedness.” Since a majority of time is spent on work it can be a lifetime of misery- “Umar bhar Jehanoom”(lifelong hell) which is the life of Aishwarya Rai in the movie.