VOLUME V – CHAPTER XV

EVERY SOLDIER CARRIES THE GENERAL’S BATON

During the heavy floods in Ramnad District (TN) in November 1956, the villages around Tiruvadaanai, nearly a dozen were inundated with water and the people were marooned. Swami Saravagnanandaji Maharaj of Sri Ramakrishna Math reached out to Senaveli village and established a camp there. The Ramakrishna mission had sent with him bundles of clothes, bags of rice, salt, onion collected by its devotees. A batch of 20 B. Ed students of the Teachers college in Sri Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya, Coimbatore led by the author joined him in organising the relief work.

            On the first day Swamiji told the students, “ Don’t think I am the leader and you are the followers to carry out instructions. These are difficult times and spot decisions have to be taken. You have to walk down 10 miles daily upto the seacoast and enquire about the welfare of people and if they need any help, decide there itself and do it or ask them to come to the camp next morning. All of you are leaders, I am also one leader.

            Nobody is a soldier here, everyone of you is a general but remember freedom, responsibility and accountability go together. Our common mission and only goal is to rehabilitate these people and bring a little cheer in their lives.”

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VOLUME V – CHAPTER XVI

KEEP GOD WITH YOU SUCCESS IS ASSURED

Leadership consists in projecting a common mission – objective- that unites all.

            A leader has to first believe in himself and have full faith in his team. When 5000 workers of  HVF Avadi came to picket the school and later 1000 mothers came with their nursery children to stage a charge, the author believed in his ability to manage the problem and told the Asst. Commissioner at Madras not to trouble herself coming to Avadi and added, “ Madam the whole staff is with me. That is my strength. Don’t worry. I will take care of the situation”.

            When there is mutual trust and support between the Principal and the Staff, the school becomes an impregnable fort. In a crisis situation it is O. K. to plan a series of steps to tackle it. But all your ingenuity will bear fruit only if God is with you. All the fire power of Adolf Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo on land, in air, on sea could not eventually succeed because they had bloated egos. But the South European Allied Command under Gen. Dwight Eisenhower succeeded because their motto was: – “ In God we trust”

            When the Prophet was fleeing from Mecca along with his friend and stayed inside a cave, the friend said, “we are only two here, how can we face the enemies?” Then the Prophet replied, “No. You are wrong. Our dear friend, God is with us. We are three. Soon you will see our friend helping us”. Within a few minutes a spider came from nowhere, wove a big web closing the whole entrance to the cave. The enemies came, saw the web and thought nobody could be there inside and walked off.

            In 1965, during the anti-hindi agitation when the author along with Sri. G. Venkatachalapathy. Additional Development Commissioner, Government of Tamilnadu and the jeep driver were blocked by a big violent crowd. Sri. G. Venkatachalapathy told the author, “ we are only three how can we go?, “ The Author replied, “No God is the fourth powerful member of our team. We will take us out safely” and he brought us out safely.

            In any crisis situation the author used to do all the ground work to meet the situation and then tell God”. On your behalf I have done all these things. The proper execution of all these plans and the result I leave it to you. You take care of all of us”. And not even in one difficult situation had God let him down!

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The play is His, The role is His gift, The lines are written by Him  
He directs, He decides the dress and decoration,  
The gesture and the tone, The entrance and the exit.  
You have to act well to receive His approbation When the curtain falls  
Earn by your efficiency and enthusiasm, The right to play higher and higher roles  
That is the meaning and purpose of life. – Sathya Sai Baba