Leadership and Folk Traditions # 2
Indus Day, Bangalore
22 February 2019
There are two worlds that co-exist - the outer and the inner world. Both have
different laws, different realities, different perceptions and different possibilities.
For the past millennium, the focus in education has been in controlling the outer
world of materialism; of nature; of resources of the planet - gold, water, oil, minerals;
and people. Hence the emphasis on science, mathematics and pedagogy of the head.
This has all changed overnight. We are now at the start off the 4th Industrial Age
dominated by Artificial Intelligence, deep-thinking and innovation. In this new
environment, there is a pronounced shift towards education of the inner world - the
world of happiness, meaning, compassion, innovation and emotions.
The purpose of education should be “to educate both the heart and the mind
and not the brain alone, in order to prepare a child to be a lifelong learner, to give
meaning to life, and unlock human potential to succeed in a VUCA world.”
This necessitates a shift: from teaching content, to teaching entrepreneurial
competencies - for application of knowledge to solve problems creatively.
In today’s digital world, acceleration is increasing; empathy is going downhill;
we do not have any time to pause and reconnect with ourselves and our dear ones;
and globalization is slowing down. In this scenario, we need a new operative
environment to manage the inner world, and nurture innovation.
We believe that folk art and aesthetic traditions - the language of the heart
and mind, will be the nucleus of this operative environment that will focus on:
Localism - think global but act local.
Identity - my roots; my culture.
- the belief that man is born potential; with intrinsic
motivation, a positive environment and deliberate practice, he becomes
talent (Manganiars from the Desert of Rajasthan)
A key aspect of folk traditions (and even innovation) that has gone unnoticed
lies in the power of hands. There are more connections between the palm and the
brain than any other body part. Gandhi role-modelled spinning and weaving, not
because it provided employment, but because he believed that, craft-centric education
had great value in developing leadership:
Creative stimulation
Dignity of human beings
Servant-leadership - serve first, and lead second
Spiritual and emotional development