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Challenges for Mediators in India

Challenges for Mediators in India

What did you find hardest about practising mediation in India?

 

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I have never been able to recreate the kind of peer group and the kind of social environment that I had in Cambridge, and I think coming back, re-entry into India was much harder for me than leaving India socially. I was spoiled, spoiled for choices, spoiled for a certain environment intellectually and emotionally that satisfied many of my needs, and India is in a very different place. But I came in the midst of the economic boom, and everybody was chasing money, and starting a company, and getting investor capital, and going for an IPO, this was what was driving most people, and this was a world that was completely alien to me. I’m thoroughly uninterested in taking my company public, or making pots of money, that was just never an interest of mine. And also I didn’t expect to but I didn’t realize how affected I would be by not having a peer group that could nourish me.

 

 

And philosophically, people who are aligned with you, and you know, just to give you a sense of the hardest part in the first two years, was that nobody understood what I was trying to do. And I got extraordinary flack and criticism for even trying to do what I was trying to do. It was just seen as a new fangled American or Western idea that was completely irrelevant in the Indian context. And everybody else seemed to know exactly how to deal with conflict, and felt it fit to tell me how to do my job.

About the mediator

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Ashok is fond of saying that, while he is no Mother Theresa or Gautama Buddha, he is utterly fascinated by the intricacies and nuances of conflict resolution and peacemaking. A facilitator for 25 years, he has been called many names, including “agent provocateur.” The many hats he wears include mediator, facilitator, educator, and office clown. When asked why he does this work, he says: ‘Conflicts are early warning signals that things ar... View Mediator