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Society is a vast ocean. It has a long coast of very rich possibilities. Manners is the least organized way of social life that the collective imposes and demands. There are manners society compels us to acquire. Others are not mandatory. But acquiring it, one sees all the riches of an endless coast is open to him. USIS is a service that forges pleasant relations with the Indian public, opening US possibilities to Indian talents. It is infinitely vast. 30 years ago, it was much more so.

USIS arranged for a Seminar in a university town when they saw an American in India with fifteen years of service and greater appreciation of the native culture. About twenty university professors gathered there. For some years they were known to be mannerless. For some reason, they all decided to deliver a hostile attack on the organiser and the chief guest. The very first question was about the long exploitation of India by Britain. With gusto and vehemence, the tirade rose to a crescendo when the meeting came to an end. After the audience melted away, the organiser said, “For heaven’s sake, I will not think of this place in my lifetime anymore.”

Life is benevolent. It comes as grace. This meeting would have opened the opportunities of a US visit to Indian professors, writing of books, a live, ongoing relation with the USIS officials. The absence of the minimum manners in this highly educated audience cried a halt to all possibilities.

Life is greater than society. Grace comes often through existing circumstances of society. Greater grace comes through openings of life. One’s own values help him receive them. Valuing talent is a higher personal value than evaluating a person by his own social status. Sacrifice, ideals are rare. Some are capable of it in their generous personalities. It often involves risk, risk of job, risk of life, risk of humiliation. One who exhibited these exalted virtues was rewarded for a period richly. He had the other narrow side too, finding expression in his own low moods. His Principal was not an idealist, but had some wholesome cultural values. As an English professor, he came to value the proficiency in English of a school teacher. The idealist was introduced into his original mission of idealism by his erstwhile student who was the teacher. There was a great moment between the Principal, Professor and the teacher. The idealistic professor chose to be mean to his teacher friend. The unidealistic Principal of delicate cultural values chose to act in the opposite way that richly served the teacher in a question of admission to a training. The idealist Professor who lost his eminence after an initial period witnessed the unusual behavior of life bringing it to him graciously. The quixotic turn of events took the great reward from the mean idealistic professor and handed it over to the unidealistic cultured Principal. It is good manners. 

Small, significant events fully and effectively determined the entire outcome. If this is true, what we see as small is not really small, but it is itself the whole.This is true, only the Indians are really aware of it. Mountbatten took his final decisive step of Indian Freedom on June 3, 1947. It was the previous day he had met Jinnah and the vast importance of Jinnah’s NOD the next day dawned on him. That nod was the Freedom on August 15. As it had this monumental power positively, it had on the other side the negative power of total destruction.

A national newspaper company decided on creating an Event Express in conjunction with a small enterprising entrepreneur already in the field. As the sponsor was an All-India organisation already, it was a boon to the other beneficiary. Life is vast and has tendencies to grow vaster at a live Touch from outside. Rajaji gave such a fillip in 1962 to his arch rival. It catapulted them into the power of the state forever. Should such a Touch be from inside, monumental forces are released and world shaking events are unleashed. Our original theme here which is our fundamental thesis is such a LIVE TOUCH issuing from inside as well as outside will reorder the whole affairs of the world. Indian education in its kernel is a superior diamond of myriad facets which when given to the child, the child soul emerges as the great of soul. 

In her decadent conditions, India possesses such virtues in the reverse. The first meeting to founding the Event Express was arranged at the office of the newspaper. The young collaborator arrived early. The seat kept for the chief of the other part was a prominent big seat. It caught the young man’s attention. Cheerfully he deposited himselfthere only to be soon dislodged. The conception came to grief.

Two nationally eminent scientists were together working for an international commission, whose report on employment was fully accepted by the government for action. It was written by one of them The other who was the chief of the Commission, in view of the importance of the development, spoke out giving the impression that it was he who was the author. The other man took exception to the statement, expressed it to the offender and took the newspaper that published the report to task. It was pure absence of good manners -- in one it was false and in the other it was rude. The report itself which was listened to by the Prime Minister and others for 1 ½ hours had to be shelved for ten long years before implementation. He who preferred a false claim was compelled by the newspaper to make a detailed confession of several columns in it. The other met with a fatal accident. The chief of the ILO when he heard of this Report and the Government’s attitude, expressed a great satisfaction.

A newspaper for twenty long years espoused a cause and was responsible in creating almost a movement in the state. The speaker on the TV from the movement who was celebrating the development omitted to mention the service of the newspaper to the cause. Events changed their course and the newspaper withdrew the support. A Vice-Chancellor who was an IAS officer having invited a foreign visitor to dinner, came there dressed in a bunyan. Many such meetings give birth to great work for the nation or even the world, but this one died an instant death, in my view by the absence of manners in dressing on the part of the Vice-Chancellor.


story | by Dr. Radut