“Teacher’s Day”

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Teacher’s day in India embodies the very spirit of our traditional guru-shishya (teacher-student) bond. In present times with education fast turning into a mechanized process – computer smart boards, internet connectivity and global learning, this customary relationship gets a shot in the arm when students pay homage to their teachers on this special day.

It was on September 5, 1965 that a group of illustrious students of Late Dr S. Radhakrishnan decided to pay their respects on his birthday by organizing an event. Dr Radhakrishnan, the renowned teacher who by then had gained widespread regard, expressed his wish that instead of celebrating his birthday he would appreciate it better if the day was commemorated as ‘Teachers’ Day’.

Since then 5th September has been celebrated as Teachers’ Day and the trend continues till date. It was a rare, thoughtful gesture that stands us in good stead. The day denotes the cherished relationships students enjoy with their teachers. Traditional Indian culture as well as different religions of our country – Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, Buddhism – all believe in the subliminal spiritual relationship and mentoring accorded by gurus or teachers.

Be it any genre of knowledge – academic, spiritual, musical, scholarly, professional – we all need a dedicated guru or teacher to guide and instruct us. It is while such knowledge is being imparted that students develop respectful relationships for their mentors. It is the teacher’s capacities to teach, drill, educate, instruct, inculcate, enlighten, and inspire that makes them so venerable. It is teachers who eventually mold the student’s minds to make them master their chosen field of education.

This day is therefore marked out as a tribute to the unfailing contributions made by teachers in all spheres of our lives. The birth anniversary of a great teacher transforms into a day for upholding the guru-shishya tradition in all its dignity and reverence. How better can it get. We all certainly do have our own memories of the way we celebrated in school. The one common thing done by seniors was to role play teachers to demonstrate appreciation.

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan born on September 5, 1888, came from the pilgrim town of Tirutani. It was his brilliance that took him to Tirupati and later Vellore for further education. Subsequently he attended Christian College in Madras to study philosophy. His concentration and sense of conviction brought him recognition as a noted philosopher.

An evocative teacher he was quite popular with students. He became a professor at Calcutta University and then served as Vice-Chancellor of Andhra University from 1931 to 1936. In 1939 he was appointed Vice Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University. Two years later, he took over the Sir Sayaji Rao Chair of Indian Culture and Civilization in Banaras. In 1952, Dr. Radhakrishnan was chosen to be the Vice President of the Republic of India.

September 5th therefore becomes the day to remember this great statesman whose humble submission to turn his birthday into Teacher’s Day speaks volumes of his humility and regard for teachers.  Today is an occasion for us to remember our teachers and their role in contributing to our learning and development. It is our teachers from school and college who made it possible for us to be what we are today. It is day to appreciate their patience, industry and perseverance in shaping our minds and thought processes. It is a day to value their role in our lives.

गुरु ब्रम्हा गुरु विष्णू

गुरुः देवो महेश्वरा

गुरु शाक्षात परब्रम्हा

तस्मै श्री गुरुवे नमः

Gurur Brahmaa Gurur Vishnu

Gurur Devo Maheshwarah

Guru Saakshaata Parabrahma

Tasmai Shri Guruve Namah

 

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World Humanitarian Day

 

August 19 is designated as World Humanitarian Day by the United Nations General Assembly as part of a Swedish-sponsored GA Resolution on the Strengthening of the Coordination of Emergency Assistance of the United Nations. The day commemorates the tragic loss of Vieira de Mello and his 21 colleagues along with all humanitarian personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice while relieving the suffering of victims of humanitarian crises.

The day keeps the spirit of humanitarian efforts alive while offering the rationalist outlook for adopting the notion of an ethical stance to emphasize the value of human beings, individually and collectively. Humanitarianism reflects a democratic and ethical affirmation that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives. Humanitarian vision stands for the building of a more humane society.

World Humanitarian Day 2017 campaigns with the theme ‘Not A Target’ and dedicates the day to recognize humanitarian personnel and others who have lost their lives working for humanitarian causes. It marks the day on which the then Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Iraq, Sérgio Vieira de Mello and 21 of his colleagues were killed in the bombing of the UN Headquarters in Baghdad.

Around the world, conflict is exacting a massive toll on people’s lives. Trapped in wars that are not of their making, millions of civilians are forced to hide or run for their lives. Children are taken out of school, families are displaced from their homes, and communities are torn apart, while the world is not doing enough to stop their suffering. At the same time, health and aid workers – who risk their lives to care for people affected by violence – are increasingly being targeted.

For WHD 2017, humanitarian partners are coming together to reaffirm that civilians caught in conflict are #NotATarget. Through a global online campaign featuring an innovative partnership with Facebook Live, together with events held around the world, voices are being raised to advocate for those most vulnerable in war zones, and demand that world leaders do everything their power to protect civilians in conflict.

This campaign follows on the UN Secretary-General’s report on protection of civilians, which was launched earlier this year. Laying out his ‘path to protection’, the Secretary-General calls for enhanced respect for international humanitarian and human rights law, and protection of civilians, including humanitarian and medical workers as well as civilian infrastructure. World Humanitarian Day 19 August, 2017 pays tribute to aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service, and to rally support for people affected by crises around the world.

Of Chaos and Inner Clutter

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It’s a frenzied world out there. From aggrieved news channels reporting nothing but chaos to the information overload of the social media – everything seems to be clogging the brain.  The past few days have been especially harrowing. Ghosts of white supremacy in America, terror attacks in Spain, the stand-off between India and China – things appear to be going awry causing a sense of desperation all over.

The resignation today of Infosys CEO brings us back with a resounding thud to the way business has begun to be conducted. The quitting comes as a culmination to the never ending wrangles going on between the company and its founder-members for some time now. Top notch professionals locking horns over governance issues, attitudes and ownership.

Such extraneous crisis situations can actually play on individual minds. Our minds can only take in so many fracases. So when the world gets too much for you the good thing would be to just shut it off. That is the simplest and the best thing to do in the face of such irrelevant mental exhaustion. Bring out the stress balls and learn to eliminate all peripheral disorder. Gradually learn to concentrate on things you need to do for yourself.

Process. Prioritize. Play it out. Get your to-do-list out and start ticking it off. Once the mind becomes focused you become a little less frazzled and the clutter slowly dissipates. Start taking ways to actively focus and re-energize your brain.  Follow simple effective ways to un-clutter your brain to regain your composure. One of the best things to do is to just say stop to the thoughts inside you.

Easier said than done you might say. But it is possible. Sift through the themes of your thoughts and check out which ones you need to deal with in the immediate work-related situation. As you gradually come to grips with tasks to be done you eventually restore calm to the flood of thoughts. Continue in this manner and very consciously avoid taking in any outside information.

This kind of self-control allows you to focus wholly on the task at hand. Meet that client. Visit the depot. Write that report. The sense of doing something worthwhile and remaining committed to your responsibilities is something that will help you ease out of your over-stretched mind. Once you learn to tap into your thought processes you will have a hold on things around you.

Continue working positively on your mind beyond work hours too. Learn how to escape time! Start doing things that you just love to do. Allow your mind to focus on fun things. Most important release the need to control everything. Most of us with overactive minds have the need to remain in control of most everything in our lives. Just let go!

Do something interesting like start writing a diary. Or just live in the ‘now’ taking in the present more consciously. Connect with nature – go for a walk, exercise, yoga – whatever suits you. Listen to your body. Certainly positive affirmations and proactive stance for your inner balance will keep you balanced. Dismember the media thieves bringing in so much disruption for you. Finally, enjoy the changes you bring to yourself.

Recording Biometric Attendance

There was naturally some trepidation when six months back biometric attendance recording system was introduced at HERD Group. Introduction of any new process changes at any workplace is bound to create a flutter among employees. TecSol Private Limited, the in-house IT unit became instrumental in sharing accurate, clear information about recording of biometric attendance to assuage qualms of an initially nervous staff. Changes were definitely going to involve the stragglers. It was certainly going to create unease regarding usage of the newfangled attendance system.

For starters, Jigar Joshi, IT Manager with HERD TecSol worked on focusing on the facts, since he realized that misinformation would probably do more harm by breeding resistance. HR too apprehended that sharing usage norms could play a calming role in raising morale. Since staff was already used to signing the muster-roll it would hardly be problem to facilitate them to adapt to the biometric time clocking system. All one needed to do was touch the screen of the biometric machine to record and clock their attendance.  HERD Group started the biometric time recording system because it wanted to avoid negative fall-outs of muster recording and at the same time deploy biometric time-clock technologies cutting across several establishments in order to support organizational culture and business needs.

However we do continue with signing the muster along with jabbing the finger on the machine. This is because HR department needs to double verify employee attendance data. The biometric/fingerprint or facilitates automation of salary calculations with up to date leave, late-comings or overtime records. Having grown from a small office of handful of employees to our present multi-location stores and offices we no longer have single point attendance record keeping. Admin and HR managers need to know details of all locations to track the hours worked by the employees.

We noticed that initially employees were a bit hesitant about the biometric systems. But this was mainly due to their unfamiliarity with the machine. Soon with ease of practice their distress generally disappeared after simply being given a brief introduction as to its use. We now have biometric attendance data at all our locations. After close follow up and clear instruction of usage the biometric verification has been working for us. Initially there were some teething troubles but after demystifying it all everyone uses the machines habitually now.

It is true when it comes to biometrics at first there are certain myths like concerns regarding potential invasion of privacy (fingerprinting) and hygiene to be reckoned with. However biometric attendance data allows HR department to gain official records of hours of employee work which they then calculate to pay employees accordingly. Barring a few slackers in most cases we did not encounter resistance. Most concerns were eliminated as soon as the employees were educated on usage. Once they learned how to operate the biometric reader and in time realized how easy it was, there has been little resistance.

Celebrating Mighty Hearts – World Humanitarian Day

Holding Hands

Offering Aid and Assistance

August 19 celebrated as World Humanitarian Day is dedicated to aid workers who have lost their lives in the line of duty. This year the spotlight of this special day is to look to the people who work in this gray area. 2014 celebrates August 19 by looking at humanitarian heroes, people from different backgrounds who work at the same goal – saving lives and providing the basics of life to the most vulnerable caught in disasters and conflict.

These humanitarians working namelessly and selflessly are your everyday heroes. The world over there is no difference in such people in term of ages, races, genders, religions, beliefs. And although they come from all parts of the world they share a common belief – that people affected by disaster and conflict are entitled to the basics of life – food, water, shelter, protection, and a life of dignity that’s been snatched away by disaster or conflict.

Little attention is paid to volunteers who offer time, sentiments and helping hands. They do work in dangerous situations. The UN has marks this day to honor people who dedicate their lives in making a difference to the lives of victims of disasters. The EU too assists as the world´s largest humanitarian aid donor to support such work that involves helping on-the-spot, organizing logistics, reconstructing infrastructure or training locals.

In the wake of frequent disasters the world recognizes the role of these mighty hearts that extend helping hands at recovery and relief. Be it Haiyan in the Philippines or Sandy in the US, aid and assistance is offered overwhelmingly. Humanitarian heroes came in hundreds from all over to do what they can to bring about assistance and normalcy.  They emit the loud message that no one is alone and stand up to support the crestfallen.

Humanitarians are welcomed and thanked everywhere. But a humanitarian’s life is not easy. These heroes make their own sacrifices as they devote themselves to humanitarian work. They may have left family behind, live uncomfortably and even meagerly for months on end. They survive on their own inner strength to stay in charge. On this World Humanitarian Day HERD Foundation salutes all humanitarians safeguarding the less fortunate and joins in celebrating the spirit of humanitarian work around the world.

 

Support and Relief

World Needs More Humanists