Sunday, June 28, 2009

Drops from a leaking tap - A Review

“She was definitely not in love with me, but I persisted. Eventually, we got engaged. I never wanted to spend any money, because I wanted even the smallest coin of money to go to the gospel. “Why buy meals when Moody provides them,” was my mindset. One day when we were together sitting by Lake Michigan, (I often skipped meals, but didn’t think it was right to ask her to skip a meal), I asked the Lord if he would somehow supply food for her without us having to spend any money. The people sitting behind us were having a picnic, they packed up and left. I went to the wastebasket, pulled out the brown paper bag which they discarded and discovered a sandwich which was not unwrapped. I gave it to my fiancée. She got a real taste of what she was getting married to!” – George Verwer, Drops from a leaking tap, page 17

I was amazed! As an Indian I thought of the umpteen, garbage disposal places maintained by our Municipal departments, which lie for days unclean; I thought of the rubbish bins in Parks I saw even at the elite Lodhi Gardens in New Delhi, full of half eaten food thrown inside and then I thought of George Verwer, with his first date after two years of social starvation, in order that he could not be “derailed” from his spiritual journey, this woman Drena, he was going to marry, and wondered what kind of man this must be, to be so utterly stingy, to think it okay to pick up a sandwich from the garbage can to give it to his would-be-wife to eat. I was amazed, to say the least!

But as my rational mind came to act, I also realized that he had courage. He was brave enough to come forth with who he was and what to expect of him, to his fiancée much before she was to marry him. Thank God for unabashed behavior, before than after marriage.

George Verwer is the Founder and former International Director of Operation Mobilisation (OM), which is a ministry of evangelism, discipleship, training and church planting. Around 1964 he came to India and spent a number of years here, spreading the Gospel and serving the poor and the dalits.

“We lived in Bombay. People were drawn to our discipleship, forsaking all, world mission and prayer. Rather than feeling we needed to import foreign missionary every time we wanted to get something done, we partnered with the church in India and supported nationals in ministry”.

He was shortly turned out of the country and had to move to Kathmandu, where he and his team specialized in Leadership Training.

And that is exactly what “Drops from the leaking tap” is all about. It is a book that tells you the story of one man who became an evangelist at the age of sixteen and founded the OM movement across the world.

“I am sorry to confess that at the age of sixteen I began, among other things, to peddle pornographic literature. My unconscious and conscious mind was wrapped by pornographic filth that pours out in our country. But I can confess today that because of the Power of the Word of God I have a new mind. I want to tell you it is a liberty, and freedom beyond anything you can ever experience. That which Jesus Christ can give, I believe, makes drugs seem like a useless pill, to say the least”.

But it lists the dream recipe for every marketing and human resources specialist. Turn quickly to Chapter 20, page 131 and read on till you come to page 153. And in between all the talk you will come across, the magic formula you may have studied in your Harvard Books, or read them in What They Don’t Teach you at Harvard Business School. Add “Drops from the leaking tap” to your list of best reads for here you will come across, not only lessons on mission and vision, leadership qualities and action plans, setting goals and achieving them, knowing how to mobilize and get things done, but also what they did not even think of in Harvard or any other business school – the need to wait on God’s timings, for every act ahead.

You call it what you will – the existential prompt, Call from Within, or just-in-time, the chi, it means the same that all people who are involved in the birthing process of the New World we envision, which is more human and more compassionate to the world around it, the birds and the bees, the trees and seas, the earth and all the life it supports and is burdened with, in the midst of the dire need for best business practices and conscientious managers and Leaders, it’s a book you can’t do without - “Drops from the leaking tap” is about being inward drawn, with eyes and ears turned inward to hear the voice of God or what you will, speak to you, about the destiny you are born to fulfill as a Leader in His scheme of things.

To get your free copy of DROPS FROM A LEAKING TAP write to:
George Verwer

You can also get your free copy from:

Authentic Books

P O Box 2190, Secunderabad

PIN: 500 003 Andhra Pradesh



Friday, June 12, 2009

There is money to make in education

Two pieces of News in the Bhopal edition of Hindustan Times 12 June, 2009, drew my attention. One was titled: Why Rag pickers prefer dirty landfills to school reported by Chetan Chauhan.

The report talks of two rag picking children, among many others, who went to special transitional schools under a India-US Labour Department joint project in five states in India – including Tamil nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and UP and Delhi. The project called INDUS worth about Rs 188 crores was launched in 2005 in 20 districts in the above mentioned states to improve the condition of 80,000 child labourers in the age group of 10-14 by inducting them in transitional education centres and upgrade their skills. Of the 40 children, 30 apparently are back to rag picking after the INDUS project ended in 2008.


“I was promised Rs 100 per month for attending the school regularly” 10-year old Sheik who was enrolled in Balswa, north Delhi, special school said, “even a bank account was opened but no money came. Today, earn, Rs 20 per day which fetches me food and some money for my five younger siblings”.

“It was bound to happen”, said Amod Kranth, head of Prayas, an NGO that operated 14 of these schools. “There was no substitute for INDUS after the project ended. In the last eight not a single penny has been provided for education of child labour”

Please note, the Delhi government’s Labour Department opened a bank account for 2,300 children in March 2009, but many of them did not get any money. Of the 30,000 books published for disbursement in 42 special education centres, only 5,000 reached the beneficiaries.

Now come to the second news: India, US launch education Venture

Quick to act on PMs 100 days action plan, new Human Resource Development Minister, Kapil Sibal is stressing the need for better partnership with foreign educational institutions to ensure better –trained Indian workforce for global jobs. He is setting up a Joint Working Group on education with the US.

The decision to set up the group was taken by Sibal and William J. Burns, Under Secretary, political affairs of the US State Department.

The agenda of this group will be to focus on Institutional linkage in the field of secondary, higher and vocational education.

Now read between the lines:

(a) Do the two news items not sound similar, although addressed to different social groups?

(b) Does the underlying reason for this not lie in US wanting to outsource its educational liability of foreign students from India, to Indian Institutions?

(c) And if that be the case, will India be able to keep its own agenda of education in place or will it have to fall to the diktats of the foreign partner?

(d) What Kapil Sibal is finally trying to work out, perhaps is close to what a Call Centre in India is doing. All material is already provided by the foreign partner, the operator in India only has to learn and deliver like a parrot.

(e) Does this not require more public debate before the Foreign Education Provider’s bill get passed on the floor of the parliament?

(f) If this is to be followed, then will we not cause a further “brain-drain” on the teaching faculty as well?

(g) Will this not standardize education at higher levels to meet US requirements, globally?

(h) Will it not cause a threat of a different kind: In the age of knowledge imperialism, robot mind-sets may become the order of the day? Is it not something we need to fear about and be cautioned?

(i) By applying ourselves to becoming partners in such education groups, monetarily, it is the US’ gain – creation of workforce who is standardized to their requirements, at less than the cost of free education to a school going child in the US.

(j) And finally, has Kapil Sibal no eyes to see a more dire need in India – the need to increase focus on Primary Education on war footing? And ensure that better teachers and TLM ( Teaching-Learning material) are delivered to the end user at Public Primary Schools?