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Swades: Training and Development Lessons

By vjaisri Oct 30, 2008 3714 Words
Executive Summary
Swades is a movie about an NRI (Mohan) who comes back to India to meet his old nanny (Kaveri Amma) and take her back with him. The movie is in a village setting and shows how Mohan got involved in the affairs of the village and how later it brings a change of heart and makes him come back and settle down in India. The movie is a slice of life but holds a lot of message for training and development. The movie argues for: do-it-yourself ‘Development’, take ‘Responsibility’ and about individual empowerment. It has multiple messages not just for NRIs to return home and work towards making difference, but also of how one determined person can transform a community. India needs a revolution to come right from the bottom level. We need a million Mohan’s, not just one. This movie advocates the “victory of individual spirit". It is about “lighting a bulb”. It is about an individual’s personal beliefs pitted against a society’s hypocritical potpourri of “paramparas and sanskritis". It is about the transformation of an individual who is indifferent and cynical to the ways of society, to an individual who doesn’t accept the status-quo and stands for the people, against people.It is about life. It is about a billion others who wait for Mohans’ to change India. Life also is a training field and lessons learnt from every day experiences and events develops us and equips us to face challenges in our professional and personal life.

Introduction

Story line and Characters:
The story of Swades begins with the introduction of Mohan Bhargava (Shahrukh Khan), an Indian living and working in the USA. Mohan, a scientist for NASA is assigned to the Global Precipitation Measurement Satellite project. From the exterior all seems well for Mohan, but he is troubled with the thoughts of his childhood nanny Kaveriamma (Kishori Balal) who still resides in India. With the thoughts plaguing his mind, he instinctively decides to travel to India and trace the whereabouts of Kaveriamma. His search traces her to a small remote and isolated village in the state of Uttar Pradesh, known as Charanpur. The village is far removed from what Mohan is accustomed to in America, running clean water and electricity and other modern amenities are simply not present. The shock is evident for Mohan as he finds it hard to adjust to his new surroundings. Even the local residents of Charanpur prove to confuse Mohan, their views, beliefs and attitude all seem to go against those of his own. It is clear that Mohan's only goal is to return back to America with Kaveriamma. However, there is a hindrance to Mohan's requests in the form of Geeta (Gayatri Joshi). Geeta has been caring for Kaveriamma while he has been away in America and her refusal to let go of the elderly woman who is also mother figure to her creates more complications. A teacher at the local school, Geeta is a young well-educated woman, she proves to be more than a match for Mohan. This is evident from the conversations where Mohan and her share. Mohan's criticisms of the village residents refusal to accept change and their passive attitude towards their own government's inability to provide for them, is reversed by Geeta questioning his own contribution to this society and India. Kaveriamma is left with a dilemma, whatever decision she to makes will inevitably hurt someone very dear to her, and she decides to make her decision once Mohan completes a small task. Mohan is a told to collect the overdue rent from a poor farmer who has leased a small piece of land from Geeta. However, this small task sparks a change in Mohan's views and attitude completely. Mohan takes it upon himself to bring change to the people of Charanpur through the simple act of powering a light bulb. Trainers

The trainers in the movie has been identified as
Mohan
Geeta
Dadu
Kaveri Amma
Each of these characters have played the role of a trainer in the movie. So we analysed their roles and significance for each of the trainers.

Significance of Training to each of the Trainer:

Mohan:
The main objective of Mohan in coming to India and also for having gotten involved in the affairs of the village is to take Kaveri Amma back with him to America. He got involved in the village activities and because of this he was targeting getting more people to join the village school and hence prevent the school from shifting from its current location.

Geeta:
Geeta was very passionate about teaching and educating the village children. She saw it as fulfuling her parents’ dreams as the school was started by them. She was keen on doing as much as possible to improve the conditions of rural India. For this, she had come back from Delhi after graduating and has dedicated herself to teaching.

Dadu:
He was enthusiastic to teach and was fully involved in teaching the village children. He also had self-actualization motives as teaching was his passion and he loved to teach. He was also a person who was aware of his duties to his nation and was an activist by nature. Kaveri Amma:

Kaveri Amma was keen on getting to make Mohan stay in India. She also wanted to make him realize the importance of his country to himself.

Role of Trainer

Mohan:
His role was that of a facilitator when he started the venture of producing electricity. He was a leader because he took the initiative to produce electricity for the villagers, had the technical knowledge to do it and directed the people and made them work in a united manner for a common goal. He was an organizer for the whole process as he gave the village people direction and made them work. He was a motivator when he used their needs to motivate them and achieved the purpose.

Geeta:
She acts as an initiator as she is dedicated to teaching the children and by fighting for their rights. She is a motivator as she sets an example and shows personal involvement.

Dadu:
He is a motivator as he lends a silent support to Geeta, he is a pillar to the school and through his personal involvement in teaching. He is resilient in his techniques and tries to convince people around him.

Kaveri Amma:
Her role is at a one-to-one basis. She is a facilitator. This is seen when she sends Mohan to collect rent from the Farmer who is living in Geeta’s land.

Skills & Traits of the Trainer
Based on the analysis of the movie, the characters of the movie and the various interactions between the characters we have labeled the skills and traits of the trainers. The scene-by-scene analysis of the film is attached as an Annexure.

Mohan:
Knowledge
Communication Skills
Negotiation Skills
Self Awareness
Team Worker
Leader
Sensitive & Considerate
Result Oriented
Motivational Skills

Geeta:
Straight Forward
Responsible
Disciplined
Idealist
Dedicated
Perseverance
Insecure
Head Strong
Arrogant

Dadu:
Respected
Humorous and Endearing
Strength drawn from beliefs
Love for teaching
Awareness
Emotional

Kaveri Amma:
Sensitive & Considerate
Understands people
Conveys message in a way which is hard to refuse – Persuasive skills •Responsible

Characteristics of Trainee
Trainees benefit from training objectives for a number of reasons including: •They reduce anxiety related to unknown.
They focus attention.
They increase the likelihood that the trainees will be successful in training. High levels of anxiety can negatively affect learning. Not knowing what to expect in a situation creates anxiety. Training objectives provide a clear understanding of what will be taking place over the training period, which reduces the anxiety felt from not knowing what to expect. In the movie swades there have been a number of trainees so looking at the characteristics of each one of them one by one:

Mohan
Responsible- He is a responsible trainee not only towards his work but also towards his responsibility for Kaveri amma. During his stay at village he was constantly in touch with people in office. He kept informing his seniors and also kept working from his caravan. •Decision making capability- He self analyses pros and cons of any action and dosent trust blindly which was demonstrated when Geeta and Kaveri amma were convincing him to stay in India but he didn’t accept their arguments straight away but analysed everything on his own mind before taking decision. •Receptive- he was open to ideas of others which was demonstrated when he patiently listened to the ideas and arguments given by both amma and Geeta . Also the counterarguments given by people of village about the growth India is having and does not lack from people of west was well received though he had put forward his ideas and thinking as well thus opening them to new ideas.

Post Master
Yearn to learn – He is a graduate and he yearns to learn for more. In the movie he looks upto Mohan for gaining knowledge about upcoming trends such as e-mail and internet. •Receptive- He is receptive to new ideas. Also when Mohan tries to make him understand the benefit of more and more students attending schools he is open to the idea. •Enthusiastic- He is shown as an enthusiastic person for doing new things and adapting to new ideas. •Open to change- He supports Mohan with new ideas and is open to changes which lead to development.

Melaram
Looks for opportunities to grow- He wants to develop in life and looks for Mohan’s visit to village as an opportunity to grow in life by moving abroad and opening a restaurant there in partnership with Mohan. •Supportive- He is supportive in his role as he throughout the movie supports Mohan and his objectives. •Enthusiastic- He is enthusiastic about the new changes that will take place in the village with new ideas and developments.

Panch Head ( Panch 1)
Supportive- Although all the people in the movie are not supportive of the new changes Mohan wants to bring in the village but due to prior experience and faith in Mohan he was supportive of his ideas and objectives. •Faith in trainer- Through various scenes in the movie it is well demonstrated that that the panch head has almost blind faith in Mohan and his ideas for the development of the village. •Looks for opportunities for all- He being amongst the most responsible ones in the movie looks for opportunities which would lead to development of all whether it’s the idea of high school or idea of self generating electricity which would benefit all and will remove many problems. Panch 2

Resilient to change- This trainee was resilient towards any change and had a closed mind set. He was satisfied with whatever he had and was not open for new changes. •Unsupportive- He was quite unsupportive and also tried to test the confidence of other trainees in the trainer by telling them that the objectives could not be achieved. •Conservative in approach- He was quite conservative in approach. He had firm believe in age old cultures and beliefs about caste system. Challeging to change such traditions was not to his liking. Again depicting his closed mind set because he was always closed to new ideas. Children

Zeal for learning- The children were being trained towards a better life, and they displayed the zeal for learning. •Inquisitive- At various points in the movie it is clear that they are inquisitive about the new stranger in village, his ideas, his vehicle.

Villagers
Supportive- When the villagers saw what were the benefits for them with the change Mohan wanted to bring they were supportive of all the procedures and new ideas. •Faith in trainer- The villagers had faith in the trainer. Being uneducated they did not understand the exact technicalities but supported in the requirements made by the trainer. •Benefit seeker- The villagers before accepting the change wanted to know the benefits in the change for them. They were not quite receptive to the idea of children going to school but when they realised the benefits education would bring they wanted their children to go to school.

Handling the Trainees
The trainees were handled by trainers in different situations in different manner. Since the trainers in the movie do not have an expertise of training people so the ways of handling trainees have been more of emotional connection. So different trainees and how they were handled are discussed below:

Mohan
Kaveri amma used an indirect approach to make him better understand about the true picture of India. •Kaveri amma used her personal connection and emotional attachment to make him stay back in India. •Geeta used a box representing the Indian culture to make him realise what he would miss abroad.

Post Master
Mohan used method of involvement to bring in more motivation from his side. •Mohan well understood his trainee ie post master which helped him make postmaster understand importance of change and education of children from his perspective. So this shows that it is always good to know your trainee before so that you can design your approach for training him.

Panch Head
Handling him was relatively easy because of the faith he had in the trainer. Since he was already motivated and supported the objectives set by Mohan that it was not difficult to motivate him rather he was an enthusiastic learner because he could see the benefits of the entire village with generation of electricity.

Panch 2
He was negative in his approach and was most resilient for any change in village. So training him was most difficult. He was ready to accept new ideas only after he could see them getting implemented and the benefits people getting out of them.

Children
Mohan uses the way of singing song for training children and making them open to new ideas because of their tender age and the interest that the children would have by way of learning through songs. •Dadaji uses his personal experience to teach children and thus train them. •While children are inquisitive about caravan Mohan lets them inside the caravan so that they can see new things and luxuries in life which they had not seen before. •Classroom teaching also trains them to face challenges and competition in future so that they can become self dependent and lead to development.

Potter
Mohan placed himself in the shoes of potter and made him realize the benefit he could have had if he was educated and that people from city would not be able to cheat them in any way. So this connection helped him make the potter understand his point better.

Types of Training Used
TrainersMethod Used
MohanStraight Lectures- for convincing low caste, high caste people, the panchs’ the need of education and removal of all age-old beliefs and practices. On the job training- In the process of generating electricity he took help of the villagers, utilized the resources and the skills available with them. Trained them to be self-sustainable. GeetaStraight Lectures- Used this particular method for teaching children at school DadajiStraight Lectures- Used this particular method for teaching children at school Kavari ammaOn the job training- Made Mohan realize his responsibility by letting him experience the problems and miseries himself. Its very difficult to measure the depth of water by standing on the bank, so she forced Mohan to enter in the water to feel the depth himself (the depth of miseries of life)

Impact of training on trainee / training outcome
TraineesImpact
MohanRealized the responsibility for his own country and its people ChildrenThe children were being trained towards a better life, and they displayed the zeal for learning Low caste peopleWere convinced to sent their people to schools, to improve their own standards of living High caste peopleWere convinced to remove and ignore all caste discrepancies and accept equality of mankind Panch1Realized and accepted the equality of both sexes and allowed his grand-daughters to continue their schooling, realized that even girls need to study further for their self- sustenance Panch2Realized his faults at accepting the old practices which divided our country, and volunteered to move VillagersLearnt how to be self-sustainable instead of waiting for someone else to come and do the job. Generated electricity for their own village by successfully tapping the resources available to them MelaramRealized that his country needed him more and decided to stay back giving up his dream of moving to America Post MasterWanted to walk on the footsteps of Mohan to make the village a better place by getting in more basic amenities

Learnings
Set in modern day India, Swades tackles the issue facing the citizens of this nation at grassroots level. The film contrasts the high-tech world of NASA in the USA and the colorful world of remote villages in developing India. Much to our chagrin, while the world is making rapid strides to the moon, villages in India don't have electricity and are plagued with the ills of casteism, a moth-eaten morality and an abject lack of basic amenities.

Swades is about an India most of us don’t know and probably don’t want to know. It is an India around us that is very different from us. We cannot get away from it. It stares at us in the form of children begging outside our cars closed window and us wishing that they’d just go away. It is an India that sits in between all those fancy high-rises and malls that are coming up, we wonder if these eyesores could be erased. It is an India that we encounter occasionally as we take trips to ancestral hometowns and leave thinking how time has, for the most part, stood still. Even as Swades is about rural India, we cannot escape the symptoms in the slums of urban India. It is as much about the India we did not build after Independence- poverty, overpopulation, illiteracy, malnutrition, darkness still reign across parts of India.

The movie argues for: do-it-yourself ‘Development’, take ‘Responsibility’ and about individual empowerment. It has multiple messages not just for NRIs to return home and work towards making difference, but also of how one determined person can transform a community. India needs a revolution to come right from the bottom level. We need a million Mohan’s, not just one. This movie reflects a part of India that’s long been disconnected from us. And forces us to think what each of us can do to bring about change around us. The movie motivates us to make sincere efforts to reform the public policy and have a vision in planning of future of India so that we can have a better tomorrow for all. Instead of settling for a mere perception of democracy, it motivates us to contribute towards the distant dream of establishing a true democracy in India. This is a call to arms to all of us to bring about change. It's about creating a better life. It's about the choices we make. There are lots of issues that we all face. But no one takes an initiative to resolve them. It’s about how easily we accept all the wrong doings, about how we always wait for someone else to clean up the system. All of us wait for the other person to do it, but nobody becomes the person. What India lacks is vision, will and co-ordination. People here have for the most part accepted that things will be the way they are. The British may have left more than half a century ago, but large parts of India are still in a subjugation mindset, some of it forced by circumstances, some of it accepted due to ignorance. One of us can transform the lives of a thousand. This change in us has to come from within. It is not about dramatic top-down change, it is about slow bottom-up transformation. It is about many micro-revolutions which need to take place all around. Swades reminds us that even as one India grows, there is another India that’s still far behind. And whether we like it or not, the land that both occupy is the same. One India cannot go too far leaving the other behind. As we think about the problems of the other India, there are solutions that exist. But for making these real, we will have to leave aside some of our old mindsets. This movie advocates the “victory of individual spirit". It is about “lighting a bulb”. It is about an individual’s personal beliefs pitted against a society’s hypocritical potpourri of “paramparas and sanskritis". It is about an individual who wants to change the life of people who dont want to change. It is about the transformation of an individual who is indifferent and cynical to the ways of society, to an individual who doesn’t accept the status-quo and stands for the people, against people. It is about catharsis of basic human emotions that any man goes through while dealing with this change to change. It is about life. It is about a billion others who wait for Mohans to change India.

Conclusion
The movie is a slice of life. When seen from the angle of development of the nation or for that matter any organization, this movie gives a motivation and highlights on the fact that to change a system needs a complete change in perspective. This is extremely important from the point of view of training. And this is the basic fundamental of training. Method of training used in the movie though subtle is of interest because of the trainers have handled the training in different ways and have adapted the process to suit the needs of the person being trained. Self involvement of the trainer was a highlight and the resources available to them were used optimally. The skill sets of the people were used and the training provided in most instances were on-the-job training.

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