Education · Personal reflections · Words of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo

Family Project: Being the Second Fiddle

Some months ago my husband got an idea to write a scholarly paper. In his professional career as an engineer-scientist-researcher he had obviously written many papers. But this time he wanted to write a paper in an entirely different area. In Social Sciences. Somewhere bordering the fields of Management and Organizational Studies.

That’s not all. He wanted to do it in the light of Sri Aurobindo’s social philosophy, something he and I have been studying in our own ways for a few years now, sometimes in a class setting, sometimes on our own. Given our very different academic trainings, we naturally have somewhat different paths into the oceanic wisdom that is Sri Aurobindo’s social-philosophical thought. But that very difference in our ‘entry’ into the ocean makes our discussions about it quite interesting — both in the class and outside!

But that’s still not all. He also suggested that we should do this work jointly. Yes, write a joint paper. Now that’s where the ‘interesting’ can also become ‘challenging’. And it did. But I will be telling only half the truth if I don’t add here that as we worked on the paper it also became an enjoyable challenge 🙂

I remember I was in Delhi at the time when he started compiling the initial notes and preparing a preliminary draft. Through emails and phone discussions we sorted out some of the ideas. After I came back home we started putting more meat to the bones, more substance to the initial outline.

There were interesting discussions, healthy disagreements, and timeouts. Some of the conversations happened while cooking, over meals, and during evening walks. All in all, it was quite a family project, with all the plus-es and minus-es 🙂

And before anyone asks, how did we decide who would be the first author of the paper, let me say that that was never an issue of discussion. The bulk of the analysis and the original idea in itself was his baby, I was chiming in and adding my ‘take’ on things — both in terms of the content as well as the organisation of the paper — as we went along. So I had no problem being the second fiddle on this one!

After several rounds of rethinking, revising, restructuring, reorganizing, cleaning up and editing, the final draft was ready to be sent out to a few individuals who had been guiding us — directly or indirectly — in our study of Sri Aurobindo’s social philosophy. This was done to get their feedback and comments on whether the direction we had taken in our analysis actually made sense. After carefully thinking through the feedback we went back once again to our draft and made appropriate adjustments and revisions.

The final outcome is a paper that has recently been published in a journal called Sraddha, a quarterly journal of Sri Aurobindo Centre for Research in Social Sciences, Kolkata.

Will I do such a family project again? You will know in due time.

Here is a sneak peek into the paper, for anyone interested.


Published in Sraddha, Vol. 6 (3), pp. 96-112

In his social philosophy Sri Aurobindo emphasizes the need to examine the profound psychological factors behind the economic motives and causes of social and historical development. As per his framework, both an individual as well as a society progress through distinct psychological stages – symbolic, typal, conventional, individualistic/rational, and subjective. He also explains the inner meaning of these successive phases, the necessity of their succession and their purpose.

This paper is an attempt to apply this psychological-sociological framework to understand the evolutionary process of an organization. The analysis presented here is introductory and opens up a new approach to understand the cyclical processes through which organizations may go through in their growth journeys. Relevant examples have been used from a case study of one particular business organization, Aravind Eye Hospital, and in a few instances, personal work experiences of the first author are also included to illustrate the point.


The paper is presently available only in print version of the journal, but may also be available in electronic version in near future. Check back here for updates. Or if someone is really interested in reading it right away, they may contact the second author via this blog! 
Linking this with ABCWednesday, F: F is for Family

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