Quest for Excellence [Archives:1999/44/Culture]

November 1 1999

Dr. Ramakanta Sahu,
Associate Professor,
College of Education, Mahweet
We live in times of great change, times of innovation, times which demand more of us than ever before. As individuals preparing ourselves to welcome the new millennium, we have to embrace such change and wake up to the new challenge in order to stay at the forefront of socio-academic life. Only then can we continue to maintain its tradition of excellence and opportunity.
No country can ever achieve allround progress and development, in true sense of the term, without ensuring adequate development of its human potential and other resources. Human resource is one of the key areas to be harnessed. It is crucially linked with the maximization of the inner potential of the individuals. This, in turn, implies proper and timely identification of the inner reserves of the human being and finding out an appropriate channel for their self expression. This brings to focus the tremendous value of the quest for excellence.
It is now widely realised that consequent upon our adoption of the policy of liberalisation of economy in the era of globlization, there is a felt need to project ourselves as selfsustaining human beings capable of adopting the framework of global mainstream and adapting ourselves to the latest challenges. At the same time we can never afford to close our eyes to the immense need of ensuring full flowering of the moral, ethical and spiritual values for carving out a healthy social order, consistent with the rapid technologization of the human life.
All of us are painfully aware of the fast and phenomenal decadence of humanly traits in the recent times, making life spiritually hollow and sapping inner strength and substance. It is this endemic degeneration of sterling human values which poses a potentially intimidating threat to the growth and sustenance of the quality of human life on the globe, thereby making the quest for excellence an unavoidable imperative.
Excellence can be achieved at the intellectual, personal and social planes. At the intellectual level, the pursuit of excellence can take the shape of achieving an open mind, a mind alive to new ideas, sensitive to innovation, willing to contribute one’s best not only in the realm of ideas, but in the domain of life style, and social practice. We, especially the younger generation, should relentlessly strive to imbibe lateral thinking, and harbour novel scaffolding of ideas. We should have the courage and the strength to combat orthodoxy of rotten and decadent ideas and revive seminal ideas propagated by our ancient sculptures. A network of thinking fora and NGO’s can strive to make the socially useful and productive ideas percolate to grassroot levels. We can collectively turn the ancient vedic dictum into tangible reality: “Let knowledge come to us from all sides”.
At the personal or individual level the quest for excellence may be characterised as enrichment of the self. This can be achieved by sincerely trying hard to minimise infirmities of various types, idiosyncrasies of temper, and maximization of the qualities of head and heart as well as cultivation of strength of character. We should perceptively look around to identify instances of excellence of character and manners. Our objective should be to edify ourselves by emulating the life and ideals of men who by virtue of their inherent virtues, have made themselves faces in the crowd. As a poet says “Lives of great men teach us to make our own life sublime”. Purity of mind, transparency in manners and a general feeling of empathy should form the tripod of our being. Only then can we reflect the best in our pursuit of excellence at the individual plane.
In the social sphere, we should leave no stones unturned for an ideal neighbourliness and a healthy social cohesiveness. A roubust community life at the macro level is heavily contingent on a crystalline personal life at the micro level. If each one realises his/her share of the responsibility in this regard, it is a small wonder that we archive the haven of peace on the earth.
Excellence is a journey, not a destination. It’s a process, not a product. It involves a constant quest for the conquest in thought and action. Clear sighted determination in crystallising this into a concrete action plan tempered by continual self-monitoring is the very foundation of achieving excellence. In the fitness of things, let us mobilize and integrate our inner reserves for nurturing the spark of the divine in us, culminating in the truest reflection of our worth as human beings. As we are fast approaching towards the new millennium, every individual needs to look back in retrospect, reflect on his strength and short-coming and decide upon the agenda of action for promoting innovation and creativity. Then only can we truly belong to the 21st century. May the motto of the new millenium be: Quest for excellence.