Daily Post 1426


When the Ivory Tower falls, what will you do. The people with gut and merit need not live in ivory tower organisations, they can make anything extraordinary out of the ordinary. Ivory tower is a negative attitude of a mixture of aloofness and disdain. It has an inbuilt disregard for worldly or practical affairs. While they project a superiority complex emanating of our brilliance and exceptional delivery, in reality it is used as a tool to sustain. It becomes a sure shot tool for guarding one’s turf. Can organisations run in that manner? Can it be allowed to run in that manner, more so, when they are democratic institutions? Do democratic values count?

The Ivory Tower days are numbered. We have reached an inflection point. Is being fair and transparent not a part of our democratic mental psyche? Where does this mentality come from? It starts from the fact that all hard work and effort in the student’s days and the initial part of the career is made to reach some position. Once you reach there, you feel you have arrived in life. As you had already visualised the way you would live, you start living that way. If lots of people of that nature get into one organisation, Ivory Tower mentality crops up. If fed on a regular basis, it becomes a part of you and the organisation. Some organisations have already informally declared themselves as Ivory Towers and if you land up in those organisations, chances are that you would also get subsumed into it.

There are people and organisations who are not able to handle a new found success; it might be an accomplishment, a scientific breakthrough, a big award, major funding, big alliances, broadly big change in the fortunes of the organisation. Classical copybook knowledge teaches that one’s behaviour and lifestyle in such circumstances should not change, but in practice it does not happen. To carry a reasoned head on your shoulders is easier said that done. People in such organisations keep dropping the organisation’s name to prove their worth. It might just happen that the person concerned might not be contributing anything to the Ivory Tower organisation. In a flat world these type of organisations might just get washed way before they realise.

Lots of such Ivory Towers organisations thrive in the governmental ecosystem. Hard coded constitutionally mandated democratic institutions also fall in this category. The academic and research world is replete with such institutions. With such institutions dotting the skyline in the technology metamorphosed world, where product / delivery is dynamic and real time, how long and for what purpose these institutions should exist. The successful model of the present times is an antithesis to the Ivory Tower model; mercenary professional with intense humility. Brick and mortar delivery can be your only Ivory Tower in the days to come.


Sanjay Sahay

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