Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Moral Predicament of Incest

Ecology has a lot to offer to mankind other than diversity in the balance of nature. The dynamics and correlation of behavioral ecology to human evolution shows how ecological and social factors affect our behavior. This correlation certainly broadens ecology’s meaning towards our habitat and provides a substantial implication towards shaping our habits too. The role of life sciences in human behavior is critical to understanding variations in our cognition and emotions, our growth cycles and adaptive capabilities and more importantly our reproduction, parental care and mate acquisitions. The focus of my discussion is not ecology but an effort to understand the nature of incest through deeper eyes.

The relationship of mankind to mating behavior is ancient. This trait is as natural as life itself, as pure as emotion to love and be loved and as powerful as our mind. Sometimes it even seems as desired as a soul longing for Nirvana. However the sensitive weave of relationships and the science of genetics give a holistic meaning to mating or intimacy other than just a need. Beyond the subject of science, a copulating behavior can also be understood as being aware of our surroundings and exercising sound judgement to the interplay of our emotions under specific situations. Any act or a mode of behavior that overrules such essence of nurturing kin recognition in relationships is incest that changes the rules of the game.

It is intriguing to know how nature defines mating behavior in insects and animals. It shows incest as a characteristic not common in all species unlike the ambrosia beetles and few other species in the animal kingdom. Not many of us would be aware that an animal like tiger shows his pride through mating discriminations and kin recognition, as do some Gorillas. This mating behavior is a guide to the animal’s ego and parental instincts.

The inferences drawn from nature however can sometimes be different than a mind’s scorn reflection for incest even though literacy and advancement have leaded change. Cohabitation or incest is not an obsession or promiscuity but a hideous crime especially when involving children. It is a mental state or delusional feeling and may be even the result of a shadowed past. Incest is not only socially intimidating and a taboo in some cultures but is forbidden scientifically as well. Genetic disorders and birth defects are some major concerns for incestuous relations. However some countries do not prohibit it just as some individuals who perceive it in the light of free expression and mutual consent. It is even more impeding to see chat rooms on the Internet displaying incest as playful. Freedom and play as an excuse for an offending relationship is no way justified. Try telling this to someone’s gloomy childhood lost to abuse by a kin or to someone who is being silently seduced somewhere around the world as seconds change to minutes in a clock. For victims of such abuse life is obscure in the long haul.

Incest is not just physical but an emotional abuse that freezes time and the victim’s ability to accept new and safer relationships. It is an offense of manipulating emotions involved in a natal relationship that pose threat to the equilibrium of life. Similar to a parasite, incest affects the chastity in cognate relationships and damages the perpetrator’s and the victim’s capability to see clear in the mirror. Moreover incest is a mental state of anxieties and phobia, as also an emotional outburst of anger and hostility. It can be a personality disorder that affects the congruence in flow of thoughts, emotions and actions that guide us in the real world. Any such disassociation of thoughts and emotions from the divine norms of life and the ethos of the society can be damaging to a meaningful existence.

Incest as a behavioral disorder and a mental health concern requires therapy or psychiatric help in most cases. However any medical intervention starts with self-help. In my view our mind can be recourse to solutions just as it is to our problems. Incest seems like a situation where the mind is in complete control of the body leading to a gamut of desires that can be otherwise controlled through a normalized behavior. To control mind, other than science, one needs to see strength in the soul’s power that can amaze us through open eyes in wilderness or in city rush. As we continuously unfold to a materialistic lifestyle our desires shall double and slowly cover the face of realities in life. It is important to understand that our thoughts and emotions arise from the mind and so do abuse and other hostile crimes. Buddha, the great prophet once said, ‘It is a man's own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways’. He also said, ‘Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned’. In the light of these great words, incest is a crime that the mind inflicts on self and others. It is a coercive behavior when one wrongfully exercises power in a relationship that incarcerates one’s own life and of the one’s related through blood. A crisis such as this needs to stop now so that incest does not end up as a moral predicament of tomorrow.

Cases such as Joseph Fritzl and daughter Elisabeth (Austria), Patrick S & Sister Susan K (Germany), John and daughter Jenny Deaves (Australia) or the latest Mackenzie & father John Phillips and the Wesson family incident (USA) are more than just eye openers. Some of these cases may be rare evidences of emotional excitement for some couples while as most others unseen and unspoken simply state an emotional coma and subdued life. With incest as a hidden rage how safe is our habitat from the gravity of our own mind? Learning the lesson from ecology this time however may deeply help.

Copyright (c) 2010 - present Dharbarkha.blogspot
Photo Courtesy: Google Images

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mothers Can Be Mentors

With all the leadership lessons of the past and present, tomorrow holds something different. Dr. Benjamin Spock, expert on parenting said, 'I really learned it all from Mothers.' Indeed our mothers have the gift of gab, a natural trait to care giving, as also mentoring. Their sensitivity to our needs and empathy to an experiential sharing leaves an indelible mark on our lives. They show traits that could be emulated by young minds. Our mothers know us well. They have the key to our self-indulgence as they have helped us evolve through stages of life. Their three-dimensional role as mother, manager and mentor signifies their leadership diversity and efficacy to care giving. Our mothers truly can be the guidepost to mentoring with style and art. The following is a selective know-how guide.

Patience with thought parity and emotional balance are good leadership signs. Patience gives depth to the flow of thoughts and helps control emotional excitement under dynamic situations. A restraint and liberty to our Mind to play with our thoughts and emotions can transform our personality and welcome change. New age leaders need to be holistic communicators. They should be aware of, as also in control of an interdependence of their thoughts and emotions in exercising leadership. A mother's balancing act is an illustration of her capacity and character to such holistic leadership. Her emotional profundity is infectious for young minds.

A mother's good listening skills and her values of giving help imbibe togetherness and sharing as threshold to teamwork. She fosters nourishment of feelings and actions and also helps vent pent up emotions to recharge our life batteries. This switch on and switch off and learning to collectively contribute surely has a patronizing effect on organizational productivity. The sum total of such contribution, productivity and satisfaction yields greater kinship with organization and also helps increase internal customer satisfaction, undoubtedly the preface to an apt leadership role.

Single mothers exemplify operational capabilities and scale economies as family unit heads. Their crisis intervention can be a training parameter. Learning this art of resource optimization develops desirable skills for Strategic Business Unit Leadership. It also is training to mature intellectually and emotionally in order to critically evaluate the opportunity cost of our decisions. Capitalizing on analytical and recovery intervention skills strengthens coordination while working in large organizations. All the more, a mother's transactional leadership generates understanding the parity between responsibility and authority at a young age, a lesson that aids contingency planning and develops competitiveness in us.

Role Transition
Mothers multitask by changing roles at home and office. Their transitional leadership is a training manual to skills of preparation, encounter, adjustment and stabilization in each role. Learning this trait helps build adaptability in young leaders while working in project/ technology oriented organizations. It also enhances managerial gravity and helps cope stress during transition from specialist to generalist. Moreover, it improves concurrence to change and benefits our learning curve for an added contribution to the organization value chain.

Mothers exhibit tact as moderators during sibling fights. Her resolution sometimes is a tough love that could be a great lesson of life. Her emotional intelligence can be inspiring as a trait to adopt for young minds while leading cross-cultural teams and dealing with expatriate issues on sensitivity to relationships and emotions. A mother's facilitation trait also shows her tact for human relations and can be a fair guide to superior-subordinate harmony as well.

A mother's negotiation skills with the local mart or grocers are commendable. Her art of selling ideas and price negotiation skills display a creative dent. Using logic and imagination to root out creative solutions just like our mothers do can sometimes help us sail through complexities in sales and customer relationships.

Getting Along
The time spent with mother on family picnics and entertainment or even while shopping is our bonding. This is the time when we forget all the occasional arguments or disagreements. This bonding and learning to know each other better builds the base to relationships and obviously is a seed to sustained leadership.

Mothers' open discussions at the dinner table encouraged self-expression to bring out the best in us. She demonstrated the qualities of a servant leader. Young leaders can be trained as coaches of their teams to lead through thought innovation and change. Learning this trait helps build a sense of community within the organizational framework.

Our mothers make and manage the home. They lead with compassion and manage with intellect. Their altruism is a great leadership lesson. Generation next, the corporate pilot and leadership investment of tomorrow needs to imbibe the qualities of endurance and selflessness from mothers. These traits can be later on developed into core competencies, which shall help young minds to balance leadership and management roles in a fiercely competitive globe.

Unbelievable yet true, sometimes real life cases are an imminent guide to our corporate roles.

My article Mothers Can Be Mentors published on Ezinearticles .
Copyright (c) 2009 - present Dharbarkha.blogspot
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day - Concern for Climate Change

Living in the States sometimes is a different facet altogether especially if one has lived around traffic jams and honking sounds and seen dark evening clouds filled with gaseous pollution, indeed a reflection of a life amid excessive urbanization. I remember as a student how concerned I was of mankind’s notorious affects on Mother Nature through chemical and industrial pollution, fossil fuel emissions and deforestation for commercialization. Today as a mother my concerns for climate change are deeper and double. I would never want my toddler to learn that tall buildings or racing cars or even frozen meals are much better than simply sowing a seed, planting trees or preserving the life around. Our children are our future and to rear them in a safe environment we need to change our present so that these kids enjoy a greener globe. This concern is my voice for climate change in the 21st century.

In my view times ahead are going to be tougher and our acclimatization to change today with a new state of mind can help us through transitions. Automation and technology have already influenced us over the past few years by making our lives easier through push button services and plastic money. So far so good but somehow the thought of a convenient lifestyle also conveys a perceived message. An easy way of life perhaps has incited mankind to crucify nature day in and day out. Blog action day on Climate Change conveys the need to actualize on our ideas now and capitalize on the resources available today to us in order to save our souls from environmental threats in the near future.

The issue of global warming as we all know is diverse ranging from food to travel to business and politics, as each has been a contributor in its own specific way over the past decades. Talking about the role of business and industry seems significant to me as any organization is bounded by corporate social responsibility, of which continued efforts to minimizing future risks to a healthy environment are utmost important. Toyota’s hybrid cars indeed are a good illustration here. It shows the organization’s strategic initiatives to green living. Not only is it motivating us to be climate friendly but also reducing our dependency on our Middle East counterparts.

Climate change therefore is just not an ethical issue anymore but a forefront corporate initiative that shows an organization’s strategic leadership and vision. To name a few Statoil (Oil & Natural gas), Whole Foods Market (Retail), MTR Corp (transportation), Unilever (Household goods), and Sharp (Electronics) are pioneers who have successfully adapted their business mission to a green world. Their green initiatives are a benchmark for many budding businesses, proving that climate change today is more than just a policy framework or state regulation but a business intervention as well. The road to climate change however still has binding concerns ahead with industries such as Marine, hydropower, tourism and insurance as most vulnerable to change. This perhaps is the root to a burgeoning question that faces most business around the globe, ‘mitigate climate risks vs. adapting to climate change’.

In my view a better strategy perhaps would be to minimize risks through adaptation rather than spend million dollars on research and development to mitigate climate risks. Any change suggests creativity and orientation to future. More importantly it encourages us to adopt and adapt, just like we did when buying hybrid cars or saying no to plastic bags or saving cans for recycling. Taking a clue from change as a mighty word here, I am inspired to adapt. In my view the adaptation strategy shall enhance business flexibility. It however shall be a long-term investment with a longer pay back period than any man made portfolio. It still seems better than spending our savings reserved for our future generations on mitigating risks that may or may not yield desired and timely results. In my view, any corporate decision, as also decisions in our daily life have an opportunity cost to it. Businesses in the US, as also around the globe need to weigh this opportunity cost to come to terms with Nature.

With some thoughts shared for a cause that needs action now, I feel pressured for our future generations. The responsibility of climate change is ours as we have contributed a lot in different ways to the nature. I hope that our global village sustains its green wealth so that our little one’s can swing in nature’s arm and bud into its bountiful charm. Climate change should therefore be of significance for a global leader like United States so that its pledge today is a vow for the rest of the world tomorrow.

Copyright (c) 2009 - present Dharbarkha.blogspot
Photo Courtesy: © 2009 Jupiterimages

Monday, October 5, 2009

Lijjat’s Lineage of Change

My story is inspired by an educational tour during my school years. The story dates back to 1959 when education and empowerment was a voice for the few. Men were bread earners while women stayed indoors. That year, one-day the dawn broke over a small town in Gujarat (western India) with colors of rainbow bright and clear. The day marked history of empowerment through sisterhood that started a lineage of change, a livelihood for many today. Lijjat, as commonly known was conceived by a group of 7 women who came together under a single roof to make and sell poppadoms ( A home venture then, Lijjat is a successful business model today that has turnaround the lives of many illiterate and poor women. Lijjat accounts for an all women establishment of 46000 across 62 branches in towns, cities and rural regions in India today.

As I unfold this story further, I remember the slums of Mumbai where life is a struggle day in and day out. Making ends meet is a challenge for most women. Lijjat has offered some of these women a regular income, thus evolving them from a state of needs to desires. Most Lijjat women today are their family’s bread earners and have been successful in providing education to children with better amenities and an improved quality of life. Lijjat’s distinctive feature of sisterhood is not based on employment but a lifetime sister membership where each woman is related to other irrespective of her religion or state boundary. A unit that started with 7 has liberated thousands of women from their shells over past decades. Mothers, wives and daughters work in unison for Lijjat and have proved to be an asset. They have collectively redefined women empowerment and contributed to India’s cottage industries development.

Lijjat is a savior for many poor women. It has made them independent, as also taught them to be interdependent. Some young Lijjat sisters today are educated and uphold managerial roles. Lijjat as yesterday’s concept is a belief today and a hope tomorrow. It has proved that poverty or illiteracy may be bottlenecks but it is our will to succeed that deems challenges as opportunities and not adversities. It has proved that women may be born with half the sky but their endurance is their continuing effort to evolve and exist. This endurance is their strength and capacity to embrace newer roles and to multitask, a lesson that everyone can be enterprising provided we open up to change.

Lijjat operates under an open management system where all sister members share equal rights. It embodies the values of mutual respect and bonding, a conviction that actually birthed Lijjat. Truly and deeply, Lijjat has contributed to the cause of enabling women to a free and fair expression. As I end now, I am unwrapping Lijjat snack bought from an Indian store while sitting thousand of miles away from India.

My write up Lijjat’s Lineage of Change that was posted in the New York Times Half the sky contest.
Copyright (c) 2009-present Dharbarkha.blogspot

Photo Courtesy: BBC