Wednesday, August 27, 2008




Yesterday, it was a Bandh here in the entire State – in protest against the suspected Maoists attack on one Ashram in a communally sensitive area, burning to death a renowned Hindu religious leader and others. Dastardly and abominable, at the least!! I wonder, can there be any cause that justifies such gory, inhuman means ??

Anyway, that is not the issue I am going to comment upon here.

Well, my housemaid, who only sweeps & wipes floor everyday, did not turn up yesterday. Honestly, I was pretty angry, as she had already absented on 7 days earlier during this month - of course at a stretch due to some function at home, with prior information. But, last month also, she was absent for 4 days in one fortnight ( I have employed her only last month after shifting to this new house).

So, as she entered today, I asked her, “What’s the matter ? You did not come yesterday !” She said, “ bundh”. “ Bundh ? How does that affect you ? ” I was really irritated inside.

{I was under the impression that she stays nearby at walking distance – because she comes to my house around 7.30 am – 8 a.m. . It never even occurred to me while engaging her to find out where she stays, as she had readily agreed to my timings early in the morning. Further, so far my experience has been that maids in our area usually prefer to work nearby so that they could attend to their own household chores also. Obviously, for working women – it is always a balancing act .}

She replied, “ Buses were not plying, how could have we come ? I stay near Khandagiri area ( pretty far off from my residence). I and my sis-in-law leave home everyday around 5.30 am, come here, do all our houses, and by the time we get back, it gets almost 7.30 pm. ” Actually, during daytimes, while taking my car out of our parking space, twice or thrice, I had seen these two ladies having their dibba ( lunch) . Her sis-in-law works at two/three apartments here and it was she, who had actually arranged this lady for my house, as my timings were not convenient to her.

When I heard this, suddenly something changed inside me. My anger… sort of .. evaporated !! I felt truly bad that without knowing the whole facts, I was attributing insincerity to her. To be precise, I could see things differently.

Cetainly, there was a paradigm shift for me – does not matter even if it was in a very limited context only. The nature of experience of a small paradigm shift and a big paradigm shift has to be the same – what could be different is the context… the canvas , that gets impacted by the paradigm shift and the quantum of change – small or radical !! In my case, due to the paradigm shift in this particular case, I may change the timing to suit her more, I may change my opinion about her and give her more work etc… etc… In a bigger context like the role of Employees in an Organisation, a paradigm shift may cause the employees to be looked upon as the most critical asset to be possessed than just one of the resources to be used, which,in turn, would bring in fundamental changes in HR areas for organisational development.

In every paradigm shift, there is a spontaneity of change, that makes one see things differently. Needless to say, seeing things differently is the first step in the thousand miles journey in a new direction!! That is actually what we mean when we say “ paradigm shift “ - probably one of the most talked about concepts in organisational development and personal development( telling this from my own experience in HR – P.S. was the most over-used term that I had come across in articles and speeches/deliberations. ) When there is a paradigm shift, you see things differently, from newer angles, so you understand the composite and bigger picture better and it enables you to know better paths, more effective ways and means to address the issues involved …ultimately impacting the whole state of being .

This is what I got from Wikipedia on Paradigm Shift – just checking out whether what I am calling a paradigm shift is, in essence, in line with what Thomas Kuhn, who originally coined this term, meant it to be !!

Paradigm shift, sometimes known as extraordinary science or revolutionary science, is the term first used by Thomas Kuhn his influential 1962 book “ The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” to describe a change in basic assumptions within the ruling theory of science. It is in contrast to his idea of normal science.

It has since become widely applied to many other realms of human experience as well even though Kuhn himself restricted the use of the term to the hard sciences. According to Kuhn, "A paradigm is what members of a scientific community, and they alone, share.” (The Essential Tension, 1997). Unlike a normal scientist, Kuhn held, “a student in the humanities has constantly before him a number of competing and incommensurable solutions to these problems, solutions that he must ultimately examine for himself.” (The Structure of Scientific Revolutions). A scientist, however, once a paradigm shift is complete, is not allowed the luxury, for example, of positing the possibility that miasma causes the flu or that ether carries light in the same way that a critic in the Humanities can choose to adopt a 19th century theory of poetics, for instance, or select Marxism as an explanation of economic behaviour. Thus, paradigms, in the sense that Kuhn used them, do not exist in Humanities or social sciences. Nonetheless, the term has been adopted since the 1960s and applied in non-scientific contexts.

The term "paradigm shift" has found uses in other contexts, representing the notion of a major change in a certain thought-pattern — a radical change in personal beliefs, complex systems or organizations, replacing the former way of thinking or organizing with a radically different way of thinking or organizing .”

S..o .. That’s it , for the time being. Make conscious efforts to break away from the old thinking patterns… old paradigms. Every major break through in this world has been possible first through a paradigm shift.


Anonymous said...

God has made us in such a way that we are consciously aware of the presence of infinite dimensions while we can see only two dimensions at anytime. At times in our indulgence with the visible dimensions we forget the presence of these other dimensions and rely only on them. We get away with it if the other dimensions are not related to the problem at hand and /or do not influence them in any way. How ever many more times we are to switch our position so that we can see what else is involved as we cann't rotate the other dimensions to have a full view. Is that called paradigm shift ?

snigdha said...

' switching our position " - yeah, that's it - to see the other possible dimensions. It requires a definite willingness - although we are usually aware that there could be n+1 dimensions - not necessarily the n dimensions those are visible to us.

thx - really loved the way you have supplemented .