Institutional Work Culture


I visit some of my friends at the Institutes they work in – Hospitals, Schools, Ashrams.

Some complain – ‘This institute is going to dogs. Nobody cooperates. The director is a so and so, no good; that fellow is like that; the apparatus is old; the doors don’t shut properly; my promotion has not come through; X knows nothing, yet he has become my senior; my juniors hate me’.

All this in various keys – some, with a smile and smirk; some, with very visible marks of a martyr, ash and sackcloth; some, with waving arms and slogans on a flag.

It is quite amusing. Things can never be right till one sees that the person himself is the Institute. An institute is a general idea. The various persons in it, the rooms, the apparatus, the trees, the flowers – all these are the concrete contents. The wise person, clear in his aims, has the outlook of a skilled artisan. He takes notes of the concrete factors and combines them to the advantage of the work he aims at. If he has not personally acquired an apparatus for his department, his friendly approach can get him the use of it from his colleague. If things are very depressing, at least he can be grateful to the humble mali, the gardener, who has produced a beautiful garden for the Institute. By at least realising that, useless as he claims to have become in the place, he is getting paid his monthly cheque, the least he can do is to shut up and not add to the disorder. But, if his aim is to work in some futuristic society where all are angels without faults, and with virtues to meet his specifications, and if he thinks it is his job to reform all this, instead of doing the things asked of him as best as he can. Then of course, his present occupation of grumbling and spreading discontent is justified.

Moreover anyone who takes the trouble knows, that the most important tools for work are one’s body and its faculties – of thought, mood and organs of perceptions and executions. With anger and grouse he befogs his perceptions and his complaints about a poor microscope are laughable. You are yourself an organic component of the Institute. What you put in, you reap in rich rewards. You sow and nourish disorder, you will get it back with interest. You become orderly, you will get it back, slower, perhaps, because the dominant vibration in the air is disorder.

So I am the Institution. If I organise the Institute within me, that is perfectly within my competence, or ought to be, that is the best I can do. Meanwhile, my promotion to a higher job merely provides me with a larger theatre for infection with my miserable grumbling.


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