Does Gandhigiri work?

The Ex-Students Association of my school provides Medical Insurance to the school’s retired and existing teachers and staff. Donations are collected every year from ex-students to pay the premium. After an appeal for donations is sent by the Principal by mass email, alumni send in their donations by online transfer.

One year, for some reason, online transfers were not possible. This resulted in much slower inflow of funds. A few of us decided to follow up personally by email and/or phone to ensure that the target amount was collected well in time.

I had the following email exchange with a schoolmate (at that time, a senior executive in a leading Indian company), who was and is a good friend.

HE: Will make an attempt to mail the cheque, but I must warn you I am lazy about it.

I: You reply to my email within 4 minutes, that too on a Sunday morning, then you say you are lazy!
I hope I can take the liberty to tell you: Just write a cheque, sign it, put it in an envelope, seal the envelope, affix a stamp and post the envelope. I’m sure you could get a sidekick at office to do all this for you (except signing!).

HE: Buying stamps is a pain. Couriering means going to a particular place at a particular time (Now you can yourself see this is not too difficult but given that I am cribbing, I am lazy!). If somebody can collect the cheque from me, either at home or office, that would be great.

I: Please send me your postal address. I’ll send you a stamped envelope addressed to the Ex-Students Association.

(By this time, the gentleman realised that while he lived and worked in the same city as the school, I lived and worked in a city over 1,000 kilometres away!)

HE: No, you shame me! I will do it. 🙂

I: Great! Gandhigiri works!!!

He posted his cheque a couple of days later!

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11 thoughts on “Does Gandhigiri work?

  1. Gandhigiri surely works with people who still have an iota of shamefulness left in their systems. However, I personally know of people who are so thick skinned that any amount of Gandhigiri or its opposite Lathigirii also doesn’t work in changing any aspects of their personality.

  2. Don’t tell me your friend, the corporate head honcho, is still not financially literate as to not be aware of e-transfers of funds by mobiles, e-mail, ECG, NEFT etc. that don’t require a lot of effort, of signing and posting the cheque..
    In fact the RBI had not long ago put out in public domain a Discussion Paper on “Disincentivization of cheques” which we, as financial activists, have actively campaigned against and managed to stall. Emailed separately to you.
    I’ve fallen for your school alumni insurance covers for present and past teachers. Please arrange for me a. The scheme particulars and b. the insurance co., to enable me to take it up with other schools.
    It’d have been great if it had come before Teachers Day early this month.
    Have enough time to mull over till TD 2014.

    • The second paragraph of my post starts with “One year, for some reason, online transfers were not possible.” That year, payments had to be collected by cheque/DD only.
      I’ll send you the contact details of the person who handles this in my school.

  3. Wow! I am impressed that you and your ex-school mates are doing such a noble thing for your teachers. Amazing and awesome gesture.
    Glad that Gandhigiri worked. But it works for certain set of people who still have values but there are a lot many who would have no remorse and would be unaffected by any good that you may try to drive through.

    • Considering there are hundreds (maybe thousands) of ex-students and a few dozen teachers and staff, it’s nothing. It does make a difference to those retired teachers and staff who worked in the days when salaries of teachers and non-teaching staff were very low.
      Frankly, this was a very trivial incident of Gandhigiri involving my good friend. But, you are correct: it works with some people only.

  4. Gandhigiri does work, doesn’t it. I feel it will work on all. But the amount of perseverance required differs based on the individual. I was so happy to know about the noble cause you people have embarked on. Great job.

  5. What a wonderful and humane initiative! It certainly is a post I’m going to be sharing with one of the FB groups of our school students (Former), who are one of those rare and empathetic ones, I have found.
    Kudos to you and the other alumni!
    Interestingly, something similar came to mind as I read one of the comments – the first one by Mahabore I think. This was to try and inculcate a sense of awareness of one’s surroundings/ the cleanliness aspect, for our slightly older students in the middle and high school. We’ve always been speaking of not littering, picking up toffee wrappers etc., when I happened to mention to the then Principal that we should ourselves, in the presence of the kids do what we tell them to do. He did appreciate it, and added however, that in many cases, a child might just, with deliberate carelessness, throw another wrapper for you to pick up! I’m not aware that it happened that way; but the cynicism to change is what is more prevalent!

    • I agree that cynicism is prevalent. That’s because cynicism does not require effort!
      About the child ‘with deliberate carelessness, throwing another wrapper for you to pick up’, perhaps the child is testing you to check whether you practise what you preach!

      • Indeed! Though that has yet to happen. The child doing that, that is! We are too cynical, and transpose our own actions, unwittingly onto still-innocent young ones!

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