WEEKEND THOUGHTS # 9

CHAKRA

Dear ORNETTERS:

This will probably be the last "Weekend Thoughts" posting as I will be
out of the ORNET world soon. I must thank all the individuals who have 
contributed to this column actively and to those who have equally contributed
passively. Special thanks to Surjit who kicked the column to a start
and have contributed significantly. I personally enjoyed the experience
and hope that similar efforts come up later on.

This weekend's contribution is from Laxman Mohanty. You must have seen
his repeated postings in the net during the last 3-4 days. In his article
he has poured all his feelings and motivations. Laxman and his wife
Neharika visited us during their USA trip last year. We had various 
discussion during their period of stay. I must say that these discussions
were very productive and thought provocative. I could feel the urge
inside Laxman to do something more from where he stood. He liked challenges
and worked to succeed. In fact, I had been motivated by him to change 
something personally in my life. I am still continuing to do that. I am sure
his article will be very interesting to each one of us and particularly to
the enterprise lovers.

I must thank Gopal Mohapatra for reviewing the article and providing his 
valuable comments. So here we go....


			>>>>> Intro <<<<<

Laxman Mohanty needs no introduction. He is one of the partners in a computer
firm in Bhubaneswar called ORICOM. After visiting all countries
in the world he is planning to retire in Nayapalli (Bhubaneswar).
I am presenting the few words he wrote about himself to me:

+++
As far as I am concerned, you know that I am a BE(Electronics) from BITS, 
Pilani. Did job for sometime in Delhi. Now in business for 8 years. 
By Orissa standard, quite successful. Now more involved in school 
computer education. Publishing a set of 7 books on computer for 
school students. Do you know- I am bringing out a small computer 
magazine (CAMPLINE) for school students? Students are really sending 
good articles. Just for your information- I studied in two good 
schools of the country- Ramakrishna Mission Vidyapith, Deoghar(Bihar)
and Birla Public School, Pilani.
+++

I have excerpted the following from his ORNET posting:

+++
In Bhubaneswar I am bringing out a quarterly computer magazine for 
schools students. It is named CAMPLINE; CAMP is the acronym for 
Computer Awareness for More People. I collect articles from the 
students of various schools and then publish them after some editing.
Currently it is a 8-pages magazine and is distributed free. I print 
around 1000 copies. My organisation bears the cost of publishing and 
distribution. I am quite pleased with the interest shown by the young 
students. You really have to see their articles in order to 
appreciate how smart our young friends are. As my current interest is
in school computer education, any information on this topic will be 
also highly appreciable. For your information, I have prepared a set
of 7 books on computers for school students of class IV to X. It will
be out by end of April. I am sure it would be one of the good books 
available in our country.

...I have been always thinking to do something
better and something for the state. To me, we have a lot of problems 
in Orissa. We cannot tackle everything, but we can always make a 
start. After a lot of thoughts I realized that education can be one 
line which can make significant difference. But I am not for higher 
education as I think it is not for the mass. We need only a few good 
doctors/ engineers, but we need a lot of skilled workers and 
entrepreneurs. To be a good clerk, you need a good knowledge about 
wordprocessing than a MA degree. We have too much of underutilisation
of man power. And believe me, we do not have too many unemployed 
people, rather we have more unemployable people. Can you believe that
we always face the manpower problem? I have jobs, but not people. 
This means there is some fundamental problem. This can only be 
tackled if we can value add our existing primary education system.

My dream is like this. I would love to build a school-cum-development 
centre. The centre would develop and popularize new resource 
materials, training methodologies, etc. The attached school will be a
kind of lab for testing the materials and methodologies. It can be a 
centre for excellence too. The centre by itself can be commercial in 
approach for its existence. But, it would render all kinds of free 
services to different schools in the state. Then, I would love to 
have a network of similar centres all over the state. The centre can 
also run polytechnics which will conduct short term courses on job 
oriented skills. This is a kind outline to which you people can add 
your suggestions.

If we have so much talents and good feelings for the state, why 
something cannot be done? May be we lack a little initiative. But, 
it's not tough to organise that. I would love to hear your comments. 
But, these are my honest feelings. It's really tough to express them 
in person, but e-mail takes care of that hesitation.....
+++

			>>>>> Article <<<<<

			My dreams about Orissa
			======================



Though I never bothered to go for higher education after my BE 
(Electronics) from BITS, Pilani, I feel I had the best education 
possible in our country till then. I studied from class VI to X in 
Ramakrishna Mission Vidyapith, Deoghar, Bihar, did +2 in Birla Public
School, Pilani and then completed my engineering in BITS, Pilani. All
these institutes were residential and had students from other states.
I studied Hindi as my second language and Bengali as third language 
in the school. Like you people, I grew up outside my state, took up a
job in Delhi, but finally came back when I decided that we should 
better do something in Orissa. Starting an organisation in Orissa 
from scratch was not easy. We had pulled up furniture from friend's 
house, were supported by the pension received by friend's mother, 
etc. I still remember how I felt when the chief librarian of Utkal 
University commented that we had no job and thus had entered into 
business.

But, by our tenacity we have grown into the biggest homegrown 
computer organisation of the state. We are comparable to any other 
organisation like ours in any part of the country. We have been quite
instrumental in bringing in all kinds of new technology in Orissa. 
But, still we are like `Gaba gachha' in `marubhumi'. In the meanwhile
I have been trying to find out - what makes us the most backward 
state in the country. I have summed it up as a kind of cultural 
problem. I must have interviewed hundreds of students and come into 
contact with many more hundreds. We have a whole bunch of people who 
do not have any ambition, the will to do something in life. They are 
just content with being peons/clerks in secretariate, some govt. 
officer, or PO/IAS/engineer/doctor. It looks there are no other 
career alternatives. No body wants to be fashion photographer, 
fashion designer, textile designer, etc. Just think, if we have 
variety of people, how much the state can develop culturally and 
economically. I believe engineers or doctors can hardly make any 
money in comparison to film artists, photographers, sportsmen, etc. 

Today, if Bengal can boast of Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, Ravi Shanker,
Uday Shanker, P C Sorcar, etc. it is because the people there have 
valued vocations other than engineering/ medical/ govt. jobs. I still 
remember how good I had felt when I learnt that Sanat Mishra is a 
good badminton player and is an Oriya too. Always people are proud of
the person who is known widely. I believe Orissa needs these kind of
icons other than Konark temple or Puri beach.

Orissa also is badly in need of entrepreneurs, who can commercially 
exploit its resources, create jobs and bring wealth into the state. 
Just setting up some huge plants/ factories will not bring in this 
culture. We need a cultural change where entrepreneurship is 
respected. Do you know that my friend, who is a partner in the 
business, was forced to join an adhoc Govt. job with a consolidated 
pay of Rs.2000/- p.m., because no parents were ready to give their 
daughters to businessmen? At that time, he was giving jobs to 
10 odd people. If you do not mind- how many of us have ventured out 
of our secured jobs and started business in the land of 
entrepreneurship? What I want to hint is that we need to bring in 
some kind of the spirit of entrepreneurship among us. Today, if my 
organisation is not able to grow - it is because I lack the ambition 
of becoming big, taking the risk and proving myself. 

I believe all these changes can be brought in slowly if we can make 
our primary education meaningful. If a child can be encouraged to be 
what he/she is good at, rather than fulfilling the unfilled 
aspirations of his/her parents, we can have a whole lot of successful
people. We should somehow aim at giving the proper guidance and 
provide the correct information. The new generation can bring in the 
change, but we have to be instrumental in making them to do so. We 
simply cannot pass on the baton without doing our share of the run. 
With these thoughts, I believe we can take up one problem at a time 
and try to make some changes. The first area can be primary 
education. For this, as I have put it already, we can start with a 
development centre and go forward from there. But, the first and 
foremost necessity is to gather a set of people who sincerely believe
in this and can make some genuine efforts. I somehow do not believe 
in too much of discussion or planning. Take your first step, you will
surely hit the road. You may not be able to do the smartest job, but 
surely you can achieve something that you very much wanted.

Hope I have been honest with my feelings. I apologize if I have 
sounded rude, improper or boastful. I would very much appreciate your
comments/suggestions.


			>>>>> Review <<<<<

By: Gopal Mohapatra

The author has driven the point home that "You cannot swim unless you
get your feet wet". He is right, when he says that most of us have a 
feeling of insecurity. Who wants to leave a high salary job here and 
go to work in Orissa? Very few in fact. Most of us want to stay here,
have a good life, and help Orissa from here. But its also the "coming
to America", that makes quite a few people think that they should do 
something for Orissa. Everything basically traces back to root or 
past. Staying here or going back is not a very simple decision, 
nevertheless, if we want to help, we can do so, no matter where we 
are. Enterpreneurship spirit is very much lacking in Orissa. We all 
know that. And as the author has pointed out, this is very much 
necessary for the development of Orissa. For those who want to stay 
here and help Orissa, the best bet will be to help in these kind of 
efforts.


DM-- If you have any comments or criticism please send it to 
dmisra@mailexcite.com.

Thanks and Best Wishes.

Debasmita Misra

--

Your comments are always welcome...

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Laxman Mohanty


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