Sunday, January 10, 2010

Freedom to make mistakes

Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.
- Mahatma Gandhi

I was remembering this quote while reading a review of "3 Idiots" at the blog of Sumedha. She makes an interesting alternate point as compared to the movie. The movie's message has to be clear, unambiguous and strong otherwise it can not reach to the masses. However, life is more complex than that. Most of the people really don't know what they want to become and choose the least confronting path which don't close too many options for them. Also, many a time people choose a particular path to satisfy their ego. This is an interesting observation and well worth a remark.

I will add an another alternate, which is a freedom to make mistake or alternatively freedom to change the path as we move along. Many a time as we move into a path, we realize that we don't enjoy it as much as we thought we would. Most of the stagnation in Indian academic institutes is because people don't have freedom to change the path if they realize that they don't enjoy teaching or research enough to continue in academia. They keep holding what they have, because to release your holding and pursue unknown needs a lot of courage. In the college where I was teaching, more than half of the staff lacked the passion needed for teaching and educating young minds, but they continue and politics inside the institute keep growing. The same goes to any other organizations as well.

My father quit his permanent semi-government job in 70s to start his law practice from scratch. He was a gold medalist in LLB and LLM, and his ambitions was growing. It was a risk as he already had a family to support, but it was worth a risk as he grew very tall in his profession because of his hard work, dedication and natural talent as a lawyer.

I had a permanent teaching job but after a few years in the job, I realized that I am feeling stagnant. Even though I enjoyed teaching very much but teaching similar courses year after year was kind of boring. I felt saturation and started looking for alternate. I found that I enjoy challenges of scientific research much more. And I gave up security of permanent government job to navigate the unknown world of science research. I am happy that I took the plunge. Not only I learned a lot about my field of science, I did some interesting stuff and along the way I met many interesting people which I would not have chance if I would have kept myself in the small town in India. It was a risk worth taken.

The freedom to grow and change the path as we grow is something which I consider as the biggest freedom which Indian society still have to gain by and large. In most cases it is economic decision which restrict people from taking risks. As Indian economy is growing and society is getting more economic freedom, people will have more options to choose and they will be more eager to take risk to find their passion. Signs are positive and I am hopeful.

PS: If you are a reader from San Jose, California, who visits this page regularly, would you like to talk to me via email?

1 comment:

smiles for you said...

I agree with you that 'Freedom' is an important aspect of our growing-up. I believe the Indian society has to catch up with the idea of having freedom to make mistakes and accepting mistakes as a part of the learning process. We still need to learn to bestow the required freedom upon our children. I m sure, the sense of responsibility and joy of learning that comes with it is worth having a little more faith and patience.

I was reading a Karan Johar blog, where he says an important thing- "Listen to your children, and allow them to make their own mistakes" ( However, there is always a fine balance between what they needed to be taught and what they learn on their own. If we as parents let everything to go on its own way and own pace, it will probably a monkey-place, and that's why I believe, we have a role in their lives by showing them the distinction between good and bad. The decision (and the consequences) is theirs.