Country Today Needs Young Leaders in the Social, Political and Corporate Sectors: Dinesh Ghodke

Posted on: Friday, July 25, 2014

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Dinesh Ghodke, Director Outreach, Sri Sri University, has had more than a decade of experience teaching the Art of Living series of courses across India and the world.

Across his travels, he has met and taught corporate leaders, politicians, and bureaucrats including PM Narendra Modi and his top ministers and bureaucrats.

As Director of Outreach, he reaches out to corporate leaders, bureaucrats and political leaders to engage with the Faculty of Good Governance and Public Policy at the Sri Sri University.

Sri Sri University in collaboration with the Overseas Volunteers for Better India (OVBI) has announced 11 scholarships for students to pursue a Masters Programme in Good Governance and Public Policy (MGGPP) to groom ethical, effective and empowered leaders in politics.

Dinesh talks to Odisha Diary about the MGGPP at SSU and why it is a must-do for those who want to serve the nation.

Q. Why do you think an education in good governance is essential for those who want to serve the nation today?
I see that there’s a paradigm shift that is happening at various levels, at the social level and the political level where educated and sensitized people are coming in. Even Modi ji’s government is not only promoting bureaucrats but also technocrats. People who are well aware of what is happening in the system need to get into the system. That’s where this Masters Program in Good Governance and Public Policy would be very helpful.

We need good leaders today; we need good social, political and corporate leaders and the MGGPP offers good prospects in all these three spaces. A graduate from SSU will be able to begin a political career at the corporator level, as an MLA or an MP or at the village level, if so inclined. The student can also intern and work with politicians, who will always be benefited by the assistance of a young graduate with hands on knowledge in politics and public policy gained from the programme.

The course is also beneficial for those who wish to work in the CSR sector or the administrative sector. The MGGPP takes care of a significant portion of the civil services syllabus and offers good preparation ground and also will be an alternative for those who are preparing but have not been able to crack the exam on their own.

Q. What do you think is the relationship between spirituality, governance and administration?
Politics by definition is about taking care of the people. Whenever these human values of caring and governance are involved, spirituality has always played a vital role. Right from the ancient times, the gurus were the political advisors to kings, whether it was Chanakya advising Chandragupta Mauraya or Vasistha advising Rama, even Shivaji was advised by Swami Samartha Ramdas. When there is a spiritual base, ethics automatically comes in.

Sri Sri says leaders should have five qualities: they must be satya-darshi (truthful), sam-darshi (equanimous), priya-darshi (pleasant), paar-darshi (transparent) and door-darshi (visionary). These qualities are automatically inculcated through spirituality. Today if political leaders or bureaucrats have these ethics, of care and compassion, their decisions which are going to affect millions, would be beneficial to them. Spirituality should be a part of politics. As Guruji (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar) has said, we need to spiritualize politics, secularize religion and socialize business. This happens easily through spiritual practises and spiritual knowledge.

Q. Could you talk about the vision of the program?
The program aims to make ethical and strong leaders for our country. Chanakya says in the Artha Shastra: “Dharmasya Moolam Arthah, Sukhaskya Moolam Dharmah, Arthasya Moolam Rajyam and Rajyasya Moolam Indriyanigrah”. This means that the more righteousness there is in society, the happier people will be; when society is prosperous good values will automatically be inculcated. How can business and markets thrive? They thrive when the government or governance is good. It finally comes down to the king/ruler, how dispassionate s/he is, how much control s/he has over his/her senses.

All this comes back to the mind, to spirituality. At the Art of Living, we say both Vyakti Vikas (self-development) and divya samaj (divine society) are necessary, they go hand-in-hand.

The MGGPP will look at integrating all these factors to produce capable, creative and fantastic leaders.

Q. Why do you think the program is relevant in India today?
I would say it is relevant everywhere. But when we talk of study of government and public policy, we only talk of the Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University but in India we have only two other such schools of repute. The need is tremendous. As people jokingly say, whichever fields you need to get into you need to qualify to enter, but anybody can get into politics easily without any qualification. This perception needs to change and it will change only when the youth are aware, trained and educated in the art of politics, public policy and governance. . This is where our programme intends to make a practical, qualitative, innovative and futuristic contribution.

The recent elections showed that young people are looking into the backgrounds of their political leaders their educational qualifications, their achievements and how ethical they have been so far.

All these factors put together suggest that an education in good governance and public policy is highly required today, especially in India.

Source: India Education Diary

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