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Man of action, man of spirit

ANJANA RAJAN speaks to Group Captain O.P. Sharma, whose "Tulsi Ramayan in Action: Intellectual Renewal for Role Effectiveness" is to be released this coming week... .

Group Captain O.P. Sharma shares a few things about "Tulsi Ramayan". Photo: V.V. Krishnan.

GROUP CAPTAIN O.P. Sharma is a man with a mission without being a zealot. Author of "Tulsi Ramayan in Action: Intellectual Renewal for Role Effectiveness", published by University Book House - his 10th book due to be released in the coming week, he has had a long and varied career in the Education Branch of the Indian Air Force. The seeds of his teaching vocation however were planted long ago in his childhood, when he was allotted the title roles in the local functions of Ramleela and Krishnaleela.

"In the Air Force I was given the task of organising leadership programmes," he explains. "I look on behavioural development as my focus - transforming raw cadets into officers, then junior commanders into senior commanders."

He did so well in this profession that he was entrusted with the responsibility of training and guiding increasingly senior officers and travelled to various states on postings, including one as Principal of the Sainik School, Rajasthan and later Head of the Sainik Schools Organisation which includes 18 schools across the country. After retirement he was Chief Executive Officer of 3 L - Learning Lab for Life Skills - and of Personality Assessment and Development Centre. His aim was to reach people from different age groups, from children to the elderly. During these years he produced a number of books. Three of them were commissioned by the Air Force - "Training the Trainer", Leadership in Action" and Value Orientation in Action", but he also wrote two volumes of Hindi poetry - an English literature graduate, he was also keen to write in his mother tongue - dedicated to his father Anant Ram ("Anant Yaatra") and his mother Som Sharma ("Som Kiran").

Being an author and educator came naturally to him, he says, since "Reading and writing has been my professional commitment". Meantime people were asking him to write on his motivational strategies, and "Then I got into spirituality". Visiting the "so-called spiritual organisations" he discovered, like so many others, that this is an area of vacuum, where large numbers are attracted, numerous promises made, but the goods are not delivered.

"Since my inclination was there I decided to write on the Gita," and thus was produced "Gita in Action", whose subtitle he emphasises: "Indian Insight into Self-Management."

O.P. Sharma's thesis is that there is a need for "self-orientation" - not selfishness. "You gradually expand yourself to self, family, social group, then country and finally the entire world."

The subtitle of the present work - "Intellectual Renewal for Role Effectiveness" - was chosen specifically because he has aimed the book at intellectuals. "It is the intellectuals who have to take charge of the social order," he states categorically. "There is a need for spiritual revolution in this country. Our will has gone down and we have started flowing with the current. Only intellectuals can revert the flow of the current."

The mind, body and soul are the three components of human existence that have to be in harmony for energy to be at its optimum and for real happiness. He reiterates that a large number of scholars who possess great knowledge are essentially unhappy because "the soul is starving". This is why they are not able to achieve role effectiveness.

"To live life with dignity you have to synthesise these three - in terms of maximisation of potential."

A teacher to the core, O.P. Sharma is keen to clear all doubts of his interlocutors. A counsellor acts as a catalyst, he explains. It could be a spouse, a parent or a professional. His motivational activities are now conducted free of charge. And despite his orientation of Hindu scriptures, he emphasises that his work does not have anything to do with any formal religion, or even the belief in God. "Parhit - doing good to others is the only real religion." A believer in the theory of karma, destiny is nevertheless not a word he is fond of. "Self is the cause and self is the effect," stresses this man of action.

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