Dr. HB Joshi
Honest efforts help us overcome hurdles and bring results
During 1985 I was transferred to heavenly NDDB from SAGP, Bidaj and placed with Manpower Development Division headed by Dr SP Mittal. I was assigned with the responsibility of organising cooperative development training programmes on Anand Pattern. The participants included dairy supervisors from states across the country.
Being a local person with a good flair for public relations, my boss trusted me and would often assign me with challenging tasks.
One day, I was just out of bed early in the morning at around seven am and the intercom rang. I took the receiver inquisitively as this was quite an odd time for hardly any one to phone except may be in some emergency.
On the phone was my boss Dr. SP Mittal. He asked me to report immediately to his office for some urgent work . It was nothing new as we used to live with the clock, a behaviour that came naturally to NDDB staff.
Within half an hour , I completed my morning chore and proceeded for office with pounding heart beats wondering what is in store for me !
Dr. Mittal explained to me in detail his expectations from me. I was required to rush immediately to Mehmdavad where a dairy farmer Shri Somabhai Chauhan was asked to wait for a “representative” of NDDB to accompany him to Passport Office in Ahmedabad.
Somabhai was selected to receive International Dairy Farmers’ Award as one of the best dairy farmers from across the world. Somabhai had to visit Sweden for the award function and urgently needed a passport.
Dr Mittal also told me, that the farmer was quite adamant as he was unwilling to travel, leaving behind all his agriculture and dairying activities as he was so much so attached to the same !
Dr. Mittal also told me that I had to help ensure that Somabhai’s police inquiry is also completed and all documents obtained unfailingly and submitted to the passport office in Ahmedabad the same day.
I was given a NDDB vehicle. I started for the destination with clouds of thoughts hovering in my mind wondering how to deal with this challenge.
II met Somabhai at the house of Shri Prabhatsinh Chauhan ( a prominent political person of the area and probably also an extended family member of Somabhai.
I straight away introduced myself starting with a namaste and told Somabhai that destiny has come knocking to his door as this trip would be a golden opportunity to uphold the name of our country with pride and our Amul Dairy as well !
Somabhai was not in a good mood, unwilling to engage in a conversation and was also taking defensive postures when I tried to converse with him.
Finally he opened up and had a volley of questions to ask me. Most questions coming from him were indicative of the anxiety that he had as to who will look after the household work in his absence.
“Who will take care of my old wife?” He asked me “She has never stayed alone. She has to take on so many responsibilities in my absence. How could I leave her alone ‘?.
I looked at his wife and politely addressed her. “ Look your husband is going to receive an international award as the best dairy farmer. I am sure , you are courageous enough to take all the responsibilities in his absence for a few days. There are some days left before Somabhai leaves. During this period you both together can arrange things so that when Somabhai is abroad things run smoothly.” !
Suddenly, a smile erupted on her dry face and she told me
“ અરે સાહેબ તમે આણંદથી મને આટલું હમજાવવા આયા છો જેમા તમારો સવારથ નથી,એ તયારે ભલે જાય, હુ સંધુય સંભાળીશ.” ( Oh Saheb, you have come from Anand to explain the matter without any personal interest. Let him go and I will manage all affairs !).
Somabhai was relieved of his anxiety and started co-operating with me a new vigour !
Prabhatsinhbhai was powerful politician with great influence, I requested him to write a reference letter to the Police station for speeding up work.
We started for police station and fortunately the Police Inspector was on his desk. He endorsed the passport application and we started for Ahmedabad at around 10 AM . Now my anxiety was about reaching the Passport office on time as those days new passport applications were accepted only up to 1 PM. I told the driver to speed up the car so that we save some time.
We reached the Passport Office at around 12.35 pm and rushed to the counter where there was a long queue. My enthusiasm came down.
But suddenly a thought struck in my mind like a lightening.
I announced loudly, “This is Somabhai Chauhan. He has been selected as the best dairy farmer from our country for an international award. He has to travel to Sweden to receive this award at a very short notice. It would only be possible if you could help him submit his documents for early processing of his passport !”
To my utter surprise all those standing in the queue ahead of us respectfully gave Somabhai a way to move up the queue without a whimper of protest.
I had a sigh of relief . Even the passport officer helped us. Ultimately we submitted all the documents and Somabhai received his passport in time to proceed to Sweden !
Months later while I was returning from Bidaj to Anand we made an arrangement to pick him up from SAG, Ahmedabad .He was so happy to see us.. He proudly showed us the gold medal and the award citation and then bowed his head and tried to touch my feet but I took him in my embrace.He was very emotional and told me “Sir I went and got this honour because of your sincere endeavour, I really enjoyed the award function!”
This incident filled me with enormous joy. I got more appreciation and pats on the back from my boss , Dr.Mittal. It was more than a promotion, that further surged my spirits !
Yet another lesson that honest efforts help us overcome hurdles and bring results; a lesson that I learned from my esteemed organisation NDDB!
Contributed by Dr.Hemendra Joshi – NDDB/ SAGP 1977-2000, Banas Dairy / 2001-2012