The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining

In this essay…

Who is a good leader? – A good leader is one who learns from his/her own mistakes. It means that a leader is bound to make mistakes. But it is the quality of good leadership to revamp mistakes on time. Now a valid question arises, What will be the good time to revamp mistakes? The best time for fixing a leak is when the weather is favorable rather than when it is not. For example, a student fails an exam. He/she should go back to the drawing board and find shortcomings. That should be fixed during the passive time when the sun shines i.e., the least pressure compared to exam time.

It is very important to fix leakage while the sun is shining. It gives proper time to think, analyze and reform. During difficult days, there are high possibilities of hasty decisions. Thus, calmness is one of the most important qualities of a leader. If a man is calm, he/she can perform much better than on chaotic days. Even some studies reveal that cows and buffaloes are more efficient when they are happy and calm. Thus, their efficiency and effectiveness depend on calmness. The shining sun provides ample time for calmness. Victors have won in history who have repaired their roofs while the sun was shining.

Inroads into antecedent when the sun shined

In the 4th century BC, there was the Nanda empire in northern India. Sri Lankan Buddhist history blamed the Nanda dynasty for being selfish and imposing heavy taxes. The rulers of the Nanda dynasty were not adhering to the doctrine of dharma. People in the Nanda dynasty was facing a devastating rainy season in their life. It was Kautilya who trained his disciple, Chandragupta Maurya to reduce the suffering of people living in the Nanda empire. He didn’t wait for the emergency situation and fixed the problem by placing ‘Chakravarti samrat’ while the sun was shining.

Marching down the time in medieval history, we find similar things as well. Mohammed Ghori attacked Prithviraj Chauhan 16 times before he captured him. He needed 16 attempts before capturing Prithviraj Chauhan because he didn’t repair his mistakes after the defeated war and before starting a new war. On contrary, British imperial power first attacked provinces to understand leakages. They went back to the drawing board and came back again with a larger force to defeat the opponent. For example, the Britishers fought three Carnatic wars. During the ceasefire time, Britishers repaired its colonial roof.

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Similarly, Mahatma Gandhi adopted the strategy of Struggle-Truce-Struggle (STS). He is quite well known for mass struggle. He was the magician who understood the psychology of the masses. For example, he led Non-cooperation Movement (1920). Subsequently, in 1922, violence was noticed in Chauri Chaura. He called to withdraw the movement. After the non-cooperation movement (1920) and before the start of the Civil disobedience movement (1930), he got a shining day when he repaired the roof of the freedom struggle. At the psychological level, he made people to follow self-restraints. Consequently, Indian wins freedom in 1947.

Walking a mile in the process of alignment

After Independence in 1947, India and the world came across similar situations. For example, Pakistan attacked India in 1947 to capture Kashmir. India retaliated against Pakistan and adhered to the norms of the United Nation. A ceasefire was declared. After such devastating rain, India should have looked at its military and diplomatic capabilities. Subsequently, India again faced rain in the face of the India-China war in 1962. Since India didn’t repair its roof, India faced suffering out of inevitable pain by receiving a debacle in the hand of China.

However, after the India-China war in 1962, India repaired leakages in the roof while the sun was Shining. It started focusing on military preparedness and diplomatic engagement in the face of the India-Russia friendship treaty in 1971. Consequently, when India faced the next rain in the face of the India-Pakistan war in 1971, India successfully defeated Pakistan. In fact, the pressure imposed by the USA in favor of Pakistan was also balanced with the help of India’s little alignment toward Russia with the help of a friendship treaty.

Similarly, during the same period, India was diplomatically pressurized through the American food program, PL-480. In those days, India was not self-sufficient in the production of food grain in spite of having fertile land due to alluvial deposits brought by rivers. While the sun was shining, Indian leadership led by Lal Bahadur Shastri decided to make India independent in terms of food production. He laid the foundation of the Green revolution in India with the help of MS Vishwanathan. Consequently, India didn’t face a food crisis further because leakages in the roof were fixed while the sun was shining.

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A mosaic of timeliness action

The significance of timeliness action has importance in today’s world too. On a personal level, it is well said by elders – ‘Don’t go to dig well when you feel thirsty. You should have done it when your stomach was filled with water.’ It means that action should be taken much before in a favorable environment rather than waiting for emergencies. For example, in the case of an UPSC aspirant, if he/she faced a debacle at any stage of the examination, he/she should analyze shortcomings just after the prelims examination to avoid rushes during exam time.

Similarly, society faces caste and gender discrimination. For example, recently a Dalit boy in Rajasthan was beaten to death because he took water from the common pot. Now it is high time to respond to these issues collectively in society instead of waiting for another devastating rain in the face of discrimination. It will be very difficult without the participation of those who are unaffected by the case. Similarly, Nation Commission for women noticed domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now it is high time to answer such attitude and behavior instead of waiting for another violence.

However, at the national level government of India has successfully plugged leakage in some cases while the sun was shining. For example, India witnessed a shameful gang rape in Delhi in 2012. After this incident, the government of India understood the pressure of the people. Consequently, along with punishing culprits, new legislation was brought while the sun was shining. Thus, Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 was passed in parliament. In the same line, Indian cities are facing floods. After the monsoon, the government should focus on the re-creation of water reservoirs and flood management.

The other side of the coin

It is true that timeliness action is needed. But response during a bad time also plays an important role. For example, India faced a balance of payment crisis in 1991 due to state-controlled economic policy. If the government suggests opening the economy while the sun is shining, huge thrusts are seen. For example, when Rajiv Gandhi tried to bring computers into administration, it was opposed by many people in the context of unemployment. But the government didn’t face a huge thrust in the process of LPG reforms after the balance of payment crisis.

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Similarly, police can prepare the best while the sun is shining, but the possibility of leakages can’t be further denied. Thus, the presence of mind and quick decision-making capabilities in the interest of people becomes very important. For example, a communal riot has happened in a city. Social management can’t be done during the passive phase. But there is no guarantee that communal tensions would not happen the next time. Thus, the use of force at the time of crisis also becomes important to manage crowds and induce a sense of deterrence.

On the same line, in the case of disaster management, preparedness is as much important as response, recovery, and mitigation. We can’t rely only on preparedness. It is a very subjective thing and thus there is no scale to measure completeness. Apart from this, a lot of external factors as well as new issues come with time. To bring a dynamic approach to management, the response also plays an important role. For example, there can be a situation of ethical dilemma while the recovery program – whom to save first? – children or elders. Thus, leakages can largely be fixed while the sun is shining but response during the rainy season also become important.

In conclusion

Thus, people know that pain and pleasure are part of life. It revolves in a circular loop. Thus, Gautam Buddha rightly says that ‘pain is inevitable and suffering is optional’. Thus, pain is about to come after pleasure. It is as true as the shining sun after every rainy season. It totally depends on us how we respond to it. Timeliness of action, while the sun is shining, can reduce suffering. It is our choice whether we subscribe to pain again or protect ourselves from pain. It is better to fix the issue while things are normal instead of waiting for an emergency.

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