The event of Karbala is embedded with examples of most ideal human relationships and extreme brutality in the history of mankind. There is a reason people recreate the pain and wish to pass on the wisdom acquired from it to their coming generations; as it infuses one with humanitarian thinking, love for all, courage, will power, loyalty, patience, sacrifice, faith and victory of truth over falsehood. To conclude, Karbala is not just an event in history but a movement against terrorism, standing up against oppression and a way of life. Perhaps this is the reason that the love for Imam Hussain (a.s) is not confined to any single community but by all those who believe in humanity.
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Jean-François Manzoni and Jean-Louis Barsoux, in their book, The Set-Up-To Fail Syndrome, write that when an employee underperforms, doubts are cast on his/her capabilities, while the manager and the organisation remain insulated. They further write that the Manager’s impression of the employee does not change even after a good performance, and he/she is almost always assigned unimportant tasks. This gives way to enhanced frustration on both fronts, resulting in either the employee quitting or getting fired.
Initially, when the lockdown began, many had pictured this work from home as a temporary work change that would offer lots of free time away from the watchful eyes of the boss, coupled with flexibility in work schedule. Within a month of this voluntary lockdown, the humorous memes, the positive fantasies associated with work from home, unfortunately, started getting transformed to work at home exhaustion for many. As the pandemic data turns scarier each day and news of forced salary cuts, layoffs are increasing so are the uncertainties. The initial phase of work at home was akin to the honeymoon stage of burnout. Learning to work at home employees were eager to please and meet all work requests with enthusiasm. Very soon this started to get replaced by lassitude, a state of mental and physical weariness, discomfort, fatigue and burnout. If ones’ job is relatively secure and one is performing the same work from home, then why is it leading to increased stress when working from home.
Work is an integral part of a person’s life and its imperative on organizations to take the issue of burnout seriously especially in current times where it is laden with layoffs, job insecurity, work from home and high dependence on technology. The present dynamic and uncertain work climate calls for drawing upon divine democratic managerial style for creating a synergistic work environment. It should be noted here that workplace burnout can be cumulative, so if a manager is experiencing burnout, it may affect those working with him too owing to the snowball effect.
There is no harm in seeking social approval or engaging in social validation unless this need grows to the extent that our self-worth gets dependent on others opinion. It has been noted that excessive striving for approval is often rooted in feelings of inferiority and inadequacy, where the person struggles hard to please everyone around and gain acceptance in society to nurture his self-worth positively. Such people starving for approval, attempting to get acknowledgement from others for their self-validation begin to end up living on the edge or dissatisfied when their desires are not met.
Stress caused by experiences related to ‘self’ causing threat to self-regard, negative self-judgment, inability to embrace failure owing to a grandiose self-image coupled with worthlessness and hopelessness can also throw some light in answering the question ‘why suicide’. More so, in cases where it’s difficult to attribute a known cause to suicide. The need of the hour is to focus on developing coping mechanisms at the individual level and nurturing social structures that can support a person undergoing a tough or conflicting situation. The idea is to enable people to see the light instead of contemplating escape through suicide, leaving behind the haunting question’ why’.
Leadership has always been a topical subject in both academic research and the business world. The success of an organisation is often attributed to its leader. Going by the research in social psychology, people use two primary strategies to navigate up the hierarchy. The first strategy is dominance, where people try to attain social rank by coercion, intimidation, fear or manipulation of behaviour, cognition and emotions. The second strategy is prestige, where a person aims at claiming a leadership position through the display of valued knowledge and skills.
The intricately woven relationship between a leader and his followers plays a critical role in the development of a nation, and any kind of dominance must be avoided. ‘Following’ is often presumed as merely doing what one is told to do and hence takes a backseat, but it’s equally important to assess one’s role as a follower. A truly developed country is created by not merely a great leader but responsible citizens and true patriots who refuse to engage in mental slavery or unquestioned surrender.
The state of a country is largely influenced by the modes of thinking of leaders and collective thoughts that drives the established norms of society. This article is an attempt to reflect upon different ‘modes of thinking’ from the context of individuals, society and state as it can influence our response to a crisis like this pandemic and its outcome. It builds on the foundation of human ‘agency’, the power people have, to think and act and how these choices that may be influenced by our background, social structure, environment and other factors shape the society.
COVID 19 like a wakeup call for putting hatred, prejudice, resentments aside and strive for building our societies on the foundation of kindness, compassion and equality; that celebrates and accepts differences with grace. It has increased our sensitivity to ephemera, the awareness of impermanence and brutally reminded us of the circle of life. Living in a transient world, is it not better to have lived, loved and laugh rather than hate, kill and perish?
Our stories are very much written unconsciously relying heavily on our younger years. However, it gets continuously updated, with more tangible characters, from messages, influences, and interactions with others. In current uncertain times, let’s reexamine constructively the narratives that pull us down and weave stories that take us forward as a person and society. Remember the stories we knit and rehearse, have the power to construct us, break us, reshape us, and define us.
Mushin is one of the principles of Zen. It is a state of mind where the mind is not subjugated by any thought or emotion. In Mushin, ‘Mu’ means ‘empty’.Thus Mushin refers to an ‘empty mind’ in the sense that disruptions, fixations, dreads, and worries, are nonexistent and are no more a concern for the mind in daily life. In other words, it refers to evacuating the mind from all distractions, preoccupations, and all other chains of thoughts.
The other day someone asked me over tea, ‘are you a feminist?’ When I replied in the affirmative, the expression on his face was ‘Oh my god!’