“Reason should frame a good politician’s goal to persuade”

July 9, 2020

(photo credit- shutterstock.com)

On a recent online course, I was made to read one of the most POWERFUL essays (by Amy Gutmann) “The Lure & Dangers of Extremist Rhetoric”, a topic so so prevalent worldwide.

The speech is so profound that it actually made me sit up and take notice of my very own actions and reactions in arguments; and while these principals apply in politics, they are prevalent in family, work and society in general!

Excerpts-

Going as far back as Aristotle, he maintained that –

The proper task of rhetoric is to drive home the logic, the truth and the evidence of an argument.

Reason should frame a good politician’s goal to persuade.

The opposite of a sound democratic argument is demagogy: manipulation and deception in order to divide, demean, deceive and conquer [citizens].

Extremist rhetoric blatantly disregards and devalues truth-seeking understandings upon which citizens [] may make informed judgments.

It also undermines a basic value of representative politics- When politicians use extreme rhetoric to mobilize their base [] they strip the moderate middle of a voice in governance (excludes all those who might join a more moderate [] political coalition)

(photo credit- magoosh.com)

By its very nature, extremist rhetoric excludes from consideration important public values-

  • Liberty
  • Consideration of equally competing values
  • Constructive conversations that improve decision making
  • Denigrates & degrades those who differ
  • Blocks constructive examination of rhetor’s own values and beliefs

When we argue about controversial issues, we should defend our views vigorously while expressing mutual respect for our adversaries [] and competing viewpoints.

We can do this by not preemptively rejecting everything for which our political adversaries stand.

It makes room for moral compromise over reasonable differences.

So, what’s the SOLUTION…               EDUCATION!

(Which reminds me back of an earlier opinion “https://dinshawavari.com/2019/03/15/common-sense-has-left-the-building/”)

Schools, colleges and universities are the natural ARMIES at the forefront to teach our citizens the art of rhetoric, in the words of Amy Guttman –

In searching for antidotes to extremism, there is therefore no substitute for a better democratic education in robust, reasoned, and respectful political controversy and debate. We need to teach students how to engage with one another over controversial issues. Students must first learn how to recognize demagogic rhetoric and then how to counter it, both individually and institutionally.

Well-designed democratic institutions can dramatically reduce the toxic effects of extremist rhetoric. We need to support institutional structures whose incentives encourage respectful controversy. Well-structured debates and factcheck blogs can expose extremist and extreme rhetoric that is deceptive and subversive of the democratic pursuit of the public interest.

This is the start of ‘War Against Extremist Rhetoric’!

We Are Who We Are Because Of Our Forefathers- 6

June 18, 2020

(6 of 12)

REPLY ADDRESS BY MR. DINSHAW B AVARI ON THE OCCASION TO COMMEMORATE HIS 85th BIRTHDAY on NOV 5, 1987-

Sir Sidney Ridley confirmed to me that he would protect me and would ensure that the Hotel, if purchased by me, would not be requisitioned during the Second World War for the Army, Navy and Air Force, as was the custom.

So, putting up my entire life’s savings and borrowing the rest, I went to Mr.  Wyseman and purchased the Bristol Hotel for Rs.100,000/-.  Mr Wyseman agreed on one condition- that Khorshed and I learn the hotel business with him for a few months.  So, every morning at 4 a.m. I went to the Empress Market to purchase all the groceries, and the mutton, beef, chicken, fish, vegetables and fruits.

As soon as six months training were over and Mr. Wyseman handed over the Hotel to me and left Karachi – and the Bristol Hotel got requisitioned!

When I went to Sir Sidney Ridley and informed him about this, he phoned the British Provost Marshal of the Army to enquire why this was done. The Provost Marshal said “How can a bloody Indian run an English Hotel?”

Sir Sidney Ridley insisted the Hotel be de-requisitioned and the Provost Marshal accepted only on my written agreement to reduce the charges to Rs. 5/- per room and Rs.7/- for room with all meals. Sir Sidney Ridley said I would go bankrupt, but I agreed. Inspite of all my social status, I was still a “bloody Indian” but I was willing to take the challenge.

Now, the charge for a Chota (small) Peg for a Whiskey was Rs. l/. I immediately doubled it and got the Sargeant at Mauripur Airport to send me as many soldiers as he liked and I would pay him Rs.1/- per soldier, as his commission.

Then, I put 6 soldiers in a room and within one year, with both husband and wife working till 2 a.m. in the morning, we made a net profit of Rs. One Lac in the very first year- I paid up the money I had paid to buy the hotel.

(to be cont…)

(previous (5th) post- https://dinshawavari.com/2020/05/26/we-are-who-we-are-because-of-our-forefathers-5/)

A Case for … Not Working from Home!

May 20, 2020

Yawn … Yawwn … YAWWNNNN

It’s almost two months for our lockdown in Pakistan and working from home.

The first month went well, working from home I mean.

Started waking up at 7am, instead of 6

You find the time to exercise more

                              Lounge in your shorts and socks

                                             No shirt, just your vest (in my case, Sadrah)

                                                            Come 5pm, put on your shirt and shoes (stay in your socks) and sit in the garden

                      It’s fine as long as you keep working, keep at it, stay busy!

But now, now, now …. YAWNNNNNN ….

(Photo Credit- thelabradorsite.com)

               (forgot what I was thinking!)

Oh yes, I’VE TURNED LAZY!

Today, as I write these words, I realize that working from home is NOT AN OPTION.  There is no such successful concept as “an office at home”.  The novelty wears away.  So does one’s creativity.  Office interaction.  Office dynamics.

Actually, now to think of it, it felt good going to office – sometimes even being first to open the doors – sticking to a ROUTINE.  You then actually enjoy your weekends at home more. 

Go figure

Gotta be … Grateful!

July 23, 2019

Gotta Be Grateful.png

This Instagram post from @house.of.leaders got me thinking…

There is a growing disparity I see in our daily lives between the those of us who “have” and the rest of our society.  There is a gulf which grows as the years progress.

Information technology, medical technology, smart phones, mortality rates and so much more are, without doubt, getting better – yet I believe the standards of life, in general, are getting worse for the vast majority of the world!  As I type this on my laptop in the comfort of my chilled room, @house.of.leaders’ quote glares at me in my face, as I realize 70% of the rest of our Country is withering away in the heat, families trying to get their children a minimal education, so that they can at least read & write, let alone own or use a laptop.

We have a roof over our heads; we wear clean clothes and shoes; have access to daily food, electricity, water, education, transport, medicines, justice … all of which we take for granted.  I just have to look out of our car’s window daily to actually see what the rest of our society CANNOT take for granted!

We all have our problems- whether health, mental, physical, work, family.  We shouldn’t complain when things don’t always work out for us; because the majority of the world’s population don’t even get a choice of how they can live … they just do!

(Ending Note- coincidentally, a complimentary Tweet by @sudheenkulkarni identifies this deficiency of “compassion” – had both our countries’ governments practiced compassion, I think 50% of these social problems would not exist!)

Gotta Be Grateful - Sudheendra Kulkarni Tweet.png

 

THE GOLDEN SPOON!

Golden Spoon

(photo credit- https://grabcad.com/library/golden-spoon?locale=es)

June 24, 2019

About 50 people have over 26 years of service with our family just at Beach Luxury Hotel (not counting our other hotels) – NINE of whom have been with us for over 40 years!

Why would someone choose to work for 50% of his or her LIFE with one family !?

Our family’s CORE philosophy stems from my grandfather’s, late Dinshaw B Avari, life & upbringing.  Born in 1902, studied in the Petit Orphanage in Bombay, gave tuitions to support his & his siblings educations, my grandfather was truly a self-made man.

He always taught my parents & us – “Your father was born with a Silver spoon in his mouth; and you’ll are born with a ‘golden’ spoon!  Never forget your roots – never forget what it took to give you your current lifestyle & education”.

That has always been front & center of our upbringing and in our children’s upbringing- respect, tolerance, loyalty, trust, compassion (to name a few) are the cornerstone of our relationships with people.  We have learnt that the very Foundations of our Group are our people.

Who will provide our people with a social & personal safety net if not us?  Definitely not our governments!  Laws provide for regulatory salaries, end of service benefits and the like – but if we don’t look after our own people in more ways, where’s the humanity our grandfather gave & taught us?

… And to answer my initial question above, it’s because I believe our people have the same level of trust in us that we will look after them when the time comes.