Friday, 29 March 2013

Beliefs and Guiding Principles ( Eigth Post)

Beliefs are formed throughout life and are often generated gradually through experience, experimentation, reflection, and generalization. They form the basis for directing our lives and offer as the ‘guiding principles’ in our life journey.
I realize that a particular belief that I might hold is never ‘rigid’, as it may not be practicable in all situations. So, when I say that I believe in ‘something’, it means it is a belief that I follow by and large.
Taking a very simple example: I believe strongly in ‘being on time’ or ‘being punctual’. I make it a point to be punctual in any meetings that I may call or others may call, and have been practicing this for a long time now. It reflects my sincerity and commitment. Only then would others recognize that punctuality is important for me and may begin to respect it. It is our actions and behaviours that serve as evidences of our beliefs.
However, at times, I am caught in a dilemma. Continuing with the same example; when others are not on time and my precious time is lost, it questions the correctness of this belief. This often happens in case of social functions such as marriages, in which ceremonies start later than the scheduled time and one has to wait for hours together. In such situations I am tempted not to be ‘punctual’ and begin to wonder if I should break this principle.
This is just a simple example and there might be more complex ones, where situations challenge our beliefs and demand flexibility in our long cherished principles. To what extent does one stretch the flexibility? What are our ultimate non-negotiables? The choice is ours, but where does one draw the line? The challenge is - how does one identify them?
……………I have found no answers to the above questions, and will be happy to explore more about this with you - DO SHARE your experiences about the dilemmas you may have faced. Looking forward………..

Shantilal Muttha

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Benefits of Professionalism (7th Post)

Be it any kind of work one does – whether personal, business, job, or any form of occupation – it should be based on professionalism. This is what I believe at this stage of my life and career. Several experienced old time entrepreneurs, unaware of the tenets of ‘professionalism’, were unable to practice it; and I was one among them. 

In 1984, I got into social work, and for eighteen years, listening to what my heart told me, I worked passionately and with complete integrity on several social issues. It was only in 2002 that I realized that professionalism is important and necessary in order to bring in the highest degree of competency and efficacy. I thus began to professionalize my work as a social entrepreneur, and now, after nearly 9 years, am enjoying its fruits.

Changing over from traditional amateur methods, to professional processes with changed mindsets, has not been easy. It has been a very complex and difficult process that required tremendous patience, perseverance, a continuous reflection and a strict follow-up.

Although plain ignorance made me wait for nearly 18 years, before professionalizing my work, I am happy that the current techno savvy younger generation, on account of better exposure to wider learning opportunities would not have to wait as I had to. The entire country, I would say, thus looks forward to very crucial contributions from these young ‘professionals’, for its progress.  

- Shantilal Muttha

Monday, 25 March 2013

Sixth Post

In order to bring relief to thousands of helpless cattle struck by the severe drought in Maharashtra, I prepared an action plan for establishing 21 Chhaavnis (cattle shelters) for accommodating about 10,000 animals temporarily, for a period of 4 months. Apart from money, running the Chhaavnis requires special technical know-how and management skills – and this was the biggest challenge for me.  It struck me that there exist severalPaanjarpols/  Goshalas run by various organizations, who could help me in overcoming this challenge; for example: those initiated by Mahtama Gandhi decades ago, those who believe in Vinobha Bhave’s  philosophy, those run by Jain institutions etc.,

In a week’s time, I was able to identify about 350 such Paanjarpols/  Goshalas in Maharashtra that are operated with complete devotion and commitment; and some of whom have a history of over 10 to 15 decades.  At a short notice of 4 days, I called an urgent meeting of its owners on 25.03.2013, and nearly 100 of them participated.

The meeting that went on for the whole day, proved to be extremely fruitful. The meeting provided me with valuable technical guidelines for proceeding with my commitment. Also, several of them volunteered to shoulder crucial responsibilities - and I have been able to overcome the biggest obstacle – of running the shelters efficiently.

I realize that it is deep thought, great passion, and yearning to achieve ones dreams, is what lead us to discover ways and means of overcoming obstacles, however big they are. Thinking alone, however deep it may be, will not lead one to a solution; but action together with deep thinking does!

- Shantilal Muttha

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Fifth Post

Sukhi Parivaar, Pragati ka Adhar” – (meaning - “Happy Family is the Foundation for Progress”), was the theme of BJS’ National Conference 2009. I strongly believe in this statement, and feel that every family should be ‘happy’.

Family has been considered as the smallest ‘cell’ of the society that performs vital functions of nurture, care, growth and survival of a human being. As an ‘institution’ it follows certain rules and norms; its members are assigned roles and responsibilities; and they relate, communicate with each other.

It shoulders the important responsibility of creating a new generation that is healthy. For this to happen, relationships within the family have to be cordial and harmonious, it has to cherish values that promote well-being of all, and other such factors.

In my 27 years of experience in working in the domain of social development, I have had the opportunity to probe into issues/ problems within families. With the several changes in society – technological, economical, etc., the nature of the family is also changing. The bonding between family members has loosened and relationships have become fragile. We are posed with several questions, and resolution of issues is becoming more and more difficult.

I propose to throw light on these questions that I am posed with, and propose to share my own thoughts about it. I will write on these on my next blog spots and discuss as we go along. I am extremely  eager to know your thoughts on them, so please do not forget to read my blog tomorrow. Do give your comments on this blog as well.

- Shantilal Muttha

Friday, 22 March 2013

Fourth Post

Now that I am opening up my personal thoughts with you, I cannot proceed without introducing the driving force of my life - MY FAMILY. Theirs has indeed been a huge contribution to what I am today – and is it not so with you?

My solid support is my wife Sarala, a native of Ambejogai in Beed district. I truly admire her management acumen and skills.  In the 35 years of married life, she has very sensitively, affectionately, skillfully, intelligently and wisely, managed the entire household, especially its web of relationships. She has been a binding force within and across the four generations that she has unconditionally tended - from my father to my grand children.

Very often, women’s work when confined within the four walls of the home tends to remain “invisible”. I now write on this blog, to bring her qualities and contribution to your attention, and express my gratitude to her.

My son Sameer, aged 35 years, a Commerce Graduate, is into real-estate business. He married Neha, a native from Jalna, on 10th May 2005. They have two sons - Neil (8 yrs), and Shourya (5 yrs).  My daughter, Sonali, aged 33 years, is a Commerce Graduate, and married Vaibhav Chordia on 9th Dec 2001. They have a daughter - Arya (9yrs), and a son - Arhan (6yrs) and they all live in Pune.

It is truly fulfilling to have such a family, who are doing well and living happily; and I consider myself very fortunate. Don’t you believe that a happy family is the richest source of positive energy?   - I do!

Without their cooperation I would not have been able to undertake the enormous challenges of BJS, for making a difference in society.

- Shantilal Muttha

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Third Post

For over ten years, my friends and BJS fellow members have been pushing me to make use of technology and internet-based social-networking, for furthering the work of BJS. However, without giving serious thought to their advice, I just dismissed the idea and neglected it for 10 long years. 

However, now I realize that I have missed a great - real great opportunity. Had I made attempts to be more techno-savvy, more members would have been added to my existing large network, and my friends would have multiplied.  The quantum of work that I have done consistently in the last 27 years through BJS has been huge. However, technology would have enabled me to increase my activities multifold. 

But, Now.. ‘Better Late Than Never’ -  with this realization and without wasting any more time, I am now extremely happy to be active on face book and blog, and would make effective use of modern technology. I wish to keep chatting with you and remain connected. 

The lesson that I learnt: Every advice or suggestion brings with it opportunities. One ought to keep ones ‘eyes’, ‘ears’ and more essentially ‘minds’ open.

One should not turn a deaf ear to suggestions, and opinions of others..
Else, ‘Golden’ opportunities may be LOST!

- Shantilal Muttha

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Second Post

I am extremely happy to share this piece of news with you!

Two days ago, Shri Manohar Parrikar, Hon’able Chief Minister, Government of Goa, presented his Budget Speech – for the year 2013-14. Among other items, he announced several steps that the government would take in for improving the situation of education.

He referred to BJS and its two initiatives for improving school education quality – “Value Education” initiative (BJS’ Mulyavardhan’), and the “Continuous Evaluation System- CES” (BJS’ Assessment and Accreditation System); and that they be run in Goa schools as well. Please refer page 17 point 38 of the Budget speech at :

Goa Chief Minister invited me about three months ago, seeking information on the two above mentioned initiatives. He also appointed a special officer to study all related documents and understand them. Based on this, the Goa CM has made the above declaration.

I am extremely happy that the BJS-team’s hard work of the last 27 years, is bearing fruits.

I will keep you posted on the progress.

- Shantilal Muttha