Today, in India we are celebrating the festival of Dussehra. As per Hindu mythology, Dussehra is celebrated to signify victory of good over evil. The story is described in Ramayana. The main protagonist Prince Ram is considered an avatar of Lord Vishnu. His character is depicted as showing maturity, wisdom and sacrifice. Prince Ram, the eldest of four brothers, was exiled to the forest by his father for 14 years due to his step-mother’s desires to have her own son Prince Bharat ascend the throne. To keep his father’s honor, he declined his right to the throne and stayed in the forest with his wife Sita and younger brother Lakshman. Princess Sita’s character depicts the traits of a loving and virtuous wife.
King Raavan is the villain in the story. He was considered an extremely intelligent and talented man, with brainpower of 10 men. He however was egocentric, focused towards self-gratification and unprincipled. King Raavan, to seek revenge kidnaps Princess Sita through deception and harasses her to be one of his wives. Princess Sita refuses King Raavan’s offered luxuries of the palace and awaits her husband by living under a tree for 18 months. Prince Ram to rescue his wife fought a battle with King Raavan. Dussehra is a celebration of his victory. In the evening effigies are burnt of King Raavan and his brothers to signify death of evil.
In the present day society we have turned somewhat pessimistic and think by being good we do not have much of a chance of living life successfully. The media are flooding us with information on all that is wrong with the world and it leaves us somewhat disheartened. To celebrate Dussehra, I am putting the three things which impressed me this week and signified the victory of human spirit against all odds.
1. Chile Miners Rescue Operation
The world erupted in jubilation on seeing the 33 miners come out alive after being trapped in the mine for 70 days. It was the longest underground entrapment in human history. Luis Alberto Urzua, the shift foreman showed the world what leadership in crises is really about. He had kept his team alive for 17 days without any contact from the outside world. We will learn from him about how he got the miners to keep going on a single day’s food for 17 days, how he kept their hopes and commitment high and how he kept them united in adversity. His leadership was one from the heart; he nominated himself as the last person to be rescued. The story shows that human beings willpower and determination can survive all odds. Hats off to all the miners, they made their mark in history.
The rescue operation cost is estimated at $20 million. The Chile government showed that it cared for its people. The mine collapse was one of the worst disasters in the mining world. Proper operational risk management could have averted the disaster.
The Delhi CWG games started with a negative perception. The media (Indian and the world) lambasted the games organization committees for corruption, mis-management, and terrorist threats. Some countries leaders requested to stop the games, some players withdrew from the games due to perceived threat to life and the world watched the spectacle. All these were factually correct.
Indian government pulled up the concerned people, deputed more resources, revised the plans, and got ready for the games. The opening ceremony was spectacular. The games were concluded without any major hitch or disaster. All sports men and women, coaches, and organizers went back home safe and happy. Indian sports men and women showed their spirit and grit by winning 101 medals. They fought for the country’s pride and honor by fighting for the last gold medal and getting India second position in the country rankings. Not a mean feat considering the competition from England.
A British reporter after the games said that Indian media did the damage since it reported negatively regarding the situation. He said although it was very bold, but most reporters would not do the same in their own country. Chinese reporters called India a democratic mess. India is a flourishing democracy with freedom of speech granted to each citizen. I think Indian media did the right thing by stating facts. It enabled the country to do pro-active risk management and prevented any disaster from occurring.
3. The Story of Arthur F. Schlobohm IV( via Ney York Times)
Many may not have heard this recent story of Arthur F. Schlobohm IV who is known as Ty to his friends. Mr. Scholobohm a long time trader stumbled on a Ponzi scheme run by fund manager Trevor G. Cook. He did his research on Mr. Cook and his companies. He realized that the $ 4.4 billion fund being run in his home town Minneapolis by Mr. Cook was fraudulent. He turned informant for Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). For four months he helped FBI gather evidence. He himself attended various meetings of Mr. Cook while being wired by FBI with voice recorders and hidden cameras. With Mr. Schlobohm’s help, the Justice department was able to prosecute Mr. Cook. Mr. Cook pleaded guilty to mail and tax fraud last summer and was sentenced to 25 years in prison for orchestrating what ultimately became a $160 million swindle.
Mr. Schlobohm set an example to all the finance and risk management professionals by assisting the government in detecting the fraud. Read the full story here.
To me these stories show the resilience and strength of human spirit. If human beings plan to do the right thing, they are successful. These help me in restoring my confidence in the goodness of humanity. Hope they did they same for you.