Monday, August 9, 2010

Wisdom Speaks - Chief Justice (rtd) Shri R S Garg on his life and times

"As an MBA, whether you choose to be a Dream Merchant, or a Nightmares Supplier is entirely your personal choice."

It's not often that one gets to hear distilled wisdom of several decades neatly encapsulated in the form of wisdom nuggets, delivered articulately, in packets of digestible sizes. Today was one such event, when we heard one of the best speakers who has visited our campus.

As part of the Annual Positive Contribution Award series, PROTON was proud to honour Chief Justice (Retd) Shri R S Garg who recently completed a marathon innings spanning four decades, and retired as the CJ of the Guwahati High Court. Justice Garg then spoke eloquently about his life and times.

He connected the dots spanning a very wide spectrum of topics, including character, tactfulness, diplomacy, law, justice, adjudication, reasoning, communication skills, anger, hatred & love, right & wrong and career choices. It was remarkable to observe a senior Justice of his calibre and standing present the ideas in a language that 20-year-olds could understand clearly. That was surely the mark of a true master!

On preparation: The stage of life that young people are at, is akin to passing through a furnace. Just like cast iron, wrought iron, and steel are increasingly pure versions of iron ore, similarly a student has to pass through fire repeatedly to evolve from cast to wrought to steel. In other words, if you are scared of the fire, be prepared to live the rest of your life as a piece of cast iron. Similarly, a piece of stone can only be sculpted into a desirable statue by repeated chiselling with a pointed tool.

On self-direction: If you are an aggressive (but upright and reasonable) person, people around you will find your edges uneven, irregular and causing lacerations. Over a period of time, you can change the perception to someone whose edges are evened out and are incisive rather than bruising!

On persistence: A small piece of cork that keeps hitting a 1 ton steel plate repeatedly in a pendulum like fashion, may ultimately make the plate move. That is the power of persistence and tenacity. One has to persist; nothing happens overnight.

On arguing: Many people may relish winning arguments on the spot. But they may not be able to win the vanquished's heart(s). It is more important to handle a situation properly, than to win an argument. In other words, there is no point in winning the battle but losing the war!

On truth and perception: There is no absolute truth in this world. There are differing perceptions of reality as people have perceived them separately. So, the glass is half-full for some, and half-empty for some, but in all the cases, the glass remains much bigger and more profound than the contents! You are the master of any situation if you have access to the total truth, which is never possible. Real truth is always larger than the bits presented to us.

On communication skills: Having a good command over the language(s) and being able to speak them well is perhaps the most important skill one can possess. It is important to know that "good" is better than "better" as the former is absolute whereas the latter is relative. To tell someone that "I am like your father" may not go down well, but "In you I see my son", or "You are younger than my son" will have a totally different impact.

On the art of asking questions: It is an art to ask the right question : So should you ask a priest "Can I smoke while praying?" or "Can I pray while smoking?". The answers, obviously, will be totally different in these two cases!

On the art of apologising and letting go: Winning arguments is not necessarily the best option, as discussed. A great tool can be reflected in the approach - "If I am wrong, I am sorry. If you are wrong, let's forget it."

On lessons of life: While relishing a paan in Lucknow, a drop of kaththa fell on the shirt. The paanwala reminded the customer that "Janaab, this is Lucknow. You should bend forward, as even the paan here demands adab!"

Similarly, when someone gets totally fed up with a career, the juiciest fruits present themselves.

On diplomacy and wit: A young lawyer was aghast to hear a judgement that went against his client, despite excellent chances of success. Upon seeing frustration on his face, the judge reminded him of legal propriety suggesting a possibility of contempt of court otherwise. A senior had to gently submit to the judge that "My Lord, this lawyer is new and should be excused. In just a few days, no judgement in your court will shock him!!"

On education and motivation: One needs to be educated when one does not know how to do it. One needs to be motivated when one does not wish to do it. Knowing this crucial difference is the hallmark of a great teacher.

Great one-liners -

"Do not just learn to sing a song, learn the raag"

"Do not just win the game, win the race"

"The glass is always bigger than its contents"

"There is no absolute truth - Truth is what appears to be true : plausible, reasonable, probable"

"Handling a situation properly is more important than winning the argument"

"You may disagree with others, but do it in a style that looks like an agreement"

We agree sir. Totally!

Pictures of the event may be viewed here -


Anonymous said...

Respected Sir,
How marvelously you have buffed up, assorted and arranged the various flowers of wisdom into a perfect looking bouquet!
In the presence of your sessions, blogs, feedbacks, I have always felt several inches taller.Knowledge brings beauty, health and security.
Thanks for share this wealth of knowledge.

Sincere Regards,
Nidhi Agarwal

Shoaib Qureshi said...

Dear Sir,

I must say the way you have assembled the entire session is awe-inspiring. Everytime I would think about the session by Shri Garg, I would read this blog.

Shoaib Qureshi

Krunal Gurav said...

Respected Sir,

It was a great EGLS, we got lesson for life and very well articulated by you.
Krunal Gurav

Test said...

Thanks everyone for your comments! It surely was one of the best experiences we all had :-)

Unknown said...

Lessons for Life !!!

Unknown said...

Lessons for Life !!!


bhatiaanshu said...

Respected sir
it was really a great session,sumthing really very interesting .this is my first
EGLS at PROTON and I really found it as a great learning
THANK YOU SIR for arranging such sessions

Kamal Kabra said...

Dear sir,
I wish i can write like you,when ever i want to remember this session i will read your blog.

Abhishek Soni said...

Great Blog Sir,
Enjoy reading thoroughly !

Abhishek Soni