The Lost meaning of TRUSTEES
The Parsi community members of Mumbai are witnessing social media fight between the Trustees of the grand old institution, The BPP. The New Year fire crackers over social media are much louder, of longer duration and spectacular, than even the Burj Khalifa fire crackers, which holds the world record. To most of the community members, it is absolutely disgusting, ridiculous and shameful.
It seems the role of a trustee is unclear to most stakeholders, including many trustees & leaders of BPP. Trustees are supposed to be the lead actors in the founding stories of every institution. Trustees are also understood to have a duty of loyalty, a duty of care, and a duty of obedience. The duty of loyalty requires directors and trustees to put aside their personal interests in favor of the interests of the community they serve. A trustee ethic begins with trust being extended and with the acceptance of that trust. Those who are chosen, selected, or elected as trustees respond in trust, fidelity, loyalty, and care. In the reciprocity of trust, a moral relationship to the community members is aroused. A relationship rooted in trust is the motive force in engendering a sense of moral accountability and stewardship. It is precisely because trustees are entrusted that a sense of moral responsibility for community is created.
The moral responsibilities of trustees extend beyond legal obligations. It is important to state that ethics is not a matter of simply enunciating rules or moral codes, rather it is the application of moral understanding to situations and contexts. Community members look forward to each Trustee as their role model and look for true leadership qualities.
Let me list down some of the points, what we understand and expect from our Trustees/Board:
Definitions of Trustee:
- Group of members who manages money of the community
- One to whom everything is entrusted
- One occupying a position of TRUST
- One who has fiduciary duty to act in best interest of beneficiary (community)
- One who ensures no misuse of community assets
- To be role model for the community they serve.
- To be morally bound to handle matters in responsible and productive manner
- Under absolute moral obligation to act solely for the benefit of community and not for personal interests.
- Morally accountable to preserve faithfully the institution’s founding purposes.
What the community looks for in each one of them:
- Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds from each member.
- Leadership Qualities, create good examples and resolve their issues
- Teamwork between the Board members demonstrating UNITY.
- Creating congenial environment in the society
- A Role Model for the future generations.
- One who will passionately stand by for the community rights.
- Most importantly one who demonstrates the teachings & principles of Zarathustra, in their day to day interactions.
What is our community witnessing now?:
- Mud Slinging, Naming & Shaming and ridiculing each other on daily basis
- Allegations of criminal offenses
- Cross allegations and defamation threats
- Police threats and what not.
As many community members said, it is nothing less than washing the dirty linen in public. While some advice ‘Please don’t hang your dirty laundry on social media”. It also gives a feeling that probably no community in the recent past has washed more dirty laundry in public than we have.
It seems we have forgotten Zarathushtra’s prime objectives, and we judge ourselves and others by the prestige of our positions, the size of our bank accounts, the make of our cars, the size of our houses. In the light of all the above, we may say BPP today needs the true spirit of Zoroastrianism for revitalizing itself. There seems to be restlessness and fights due to loss of spiritual and ethical values.
Wordsworth put it well when he said:
“The world is too much with us, Late and soon, getting and spending, We lay waste our powers. Little we see in nature that is ours….,.”
To sum up, it is my humble suggestion to all the stakeholders/trustees/board members, to absorb the wise words of Zarathustra in true spirit, who said: Think creatively, constructively, rationally, originally and independently with your head; love fully, universally and joyously with your heart; and live dynamically in total goodness by using your hand to serve mankind in the cause of unity and peace.
This post is not meant to demean, insult or ridicule any individual, group, or institution.