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Duty comes first, second and third: Lessons from our Karthavyam Heroes


Shishir Ghosh

Jun 10, 2020


An interesting fact about adverse times is that while they shake up our lives and bring businesses to their knees, they also give rise to heroes. These men and women of steel, hardly consider themselves heroes, but as humble helpers of those who are unable to help themselves. In any case, it is fitting that their service is recognized and functions as inspiration for a burgeoning generation of problem-solvers.

The Karthavyam initiative, established at HLC International, seeks to harness the passion and innovation of the youth to determine solutions that can positively influence society. On this, the final episode of Out of the Box with Beyond 8, we give thanks to our Karthavyam Heroes, who have dedicated their time and effort towards uplifting their communities during the pandemic. Dr. Balaji Sampath, Anantha Sayanan, Aparna Krishnan and Prathik Sudha Murali, who hail from different walks of life, are proof that everyone shoulders a primary responsibility towards their communities. Each one of them had valuable insights and lessons from their personal journeys of caring and sharing and we have rounded up the best ones for you!

“We need to give our learners the opportunity to think, not spoon-feed them the steps to solve a problem” – Dr. Balaji Sampath

Balaji believes that the conventional method of schooling has a long way to go in its efforts towards moulding problem-solvers of the future. Rather than being given a free hand at their innate innovation, they are spoon-fed the steps to reach the solution. Unfortunately, this takes away from learners’ capacity to think of multi-dimensional ways to solve a problem. Consequently, children become rigid products of training, too insular to accept, even identify, the flourishing nature of creativity in everything around them. Balaji insists that students must think deeply about the problem, rather than jump to set procedures that lead to a solution. By unlocking the true intuition of the youthful brain, he advocates that schools ought to teach their incumbents how to think, not what to think.

“Achieving sustainability through community effort is vital” - Anantha Sayanan

Ananthoo is a proponent for social action through collective effort. There is a larger outreach, and hence a greater potential for large-scale problems to be tackled effectively and immediately. When more people come together to work on an issue, there is an unfaltering sense of motivation that lurks between them as they come up with unique ideas and solutions to address the issue, and this, he believes, is a pleasure that members will enjoy as they become socially responsible. Throughout the course of the pandemic in India, he has been driving through cities and highways and observing migrant workers plagued by the afflictions of penury. He highlights that although one person can make a difference in the lives of these migrant workers, a group can make this change faster and provide more impact.

“Responsible consumption is the best way to support the less privileged” - Aparna Krishnan

Since the advent of the pandemic in our country, there have been many problems concerning the economy, public health, medical supplies and the pervasive anxiety that has enveloped our society. But no one has been dealt a more powerful blow than the marginalised sections of our country, be it slums or daily wage migrants. As members of a luckier, more privileged society, it is our duty to be able to provide for them and initiate social transformation in our communities. The best way to do this, Aparna believes, is to source from small, local enterprises that need our consumption to survive. When we are responsible about the way we purchase, we automatically contribute positively to the livelihoods of rural entrepreneurs and their families.

“People want dignity more than they want money” - Prathik Sudha Murali

Migrant workers are not destitute and they don’t want to be treated as such. A multitude of them have homes and jobs, albeit endangered by the pandemic. They clamour to be treated with empathy and respect more than to be given money. This means, breaking the stigma that currently surrounds them and cultivating a sense of inclusion in our societies to help them sustain their well-being and livelihoods.

If there is a common thread that runs through the tenets of all our Karthavyam Heroes, it is that any movement can become a revolution only with the full participation of its community. It rarely takes copious amounts of time and money, only an unwavering sense of commitment towards a greater cause. Please reach out to our Karthavyam Heroes on their social media handles (hyperlinked with their names above) to volunteer your time and efforts.

You may view the full recording on Beyond 8’s YouTube channel.

About Out of the Box with Beyond 8

Be it the way we learn or teach, there are always better ways to do it and often they lie out of the box, on the paths less taken. Out of the Box with Beyond 8 is an initiative that encourages the education fraternity to push the boundaries and challenge the status quo.

We are not an alternative school.
We are the alternative to schooling.

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