Today, we have the privilege of interviewing Tadimalla H Mohan Rao, a multi-talented individual with a remarkable journey spanning geology, professional service, and cycling. Hailing from the small village of Tadimalla in West Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh, Rao has left an indelible mark in various spheres of his life.
Tadimalla H Mohan Rao, the author of the thought-provoking book on human ethics and values, has delved into the depths of human behavior and the significance of ethical principles in our lives. In this interview, we will explore the inspiration behind his book, the underlying theme of human orientation, and the impact of ethics and values on society.
1. What inspired you to write a book on human ethics and values?
Answer: Two reasons; the environment I was raised in, and the enormous role ethics and values play in ensuring that life’s train doesn’t ever get derailed.
2. Can you tell us more about the underlying theme of human orientation in your book?
Answer: The great quality of humanistic impulse, by default, must remain an in-built component of whatever we think, say, or do. The flavour and fragrance that keep springing out as a result, have the capacity to effectively address all genuine needs of not only humans but of the fauna and flora too, present in the vicinity. Else, the very purpose of our existence on this planet ever stands unrealized. This unequivocally applies to everything delivered by all of us. If that dash of humanistic impulse is absent in us, no thought, speech, or action of us can per se be qualified to be called a thought, speech, or action. The word that singularly fits into this entire gamut is compassion, which constitutes the underlying theme of human orientation. Are You Ready To Do So? is a modest attempt majorly based on this backdrop.
3. How did your son’s experience of becoming a published author at a young age influence your own writing journey?
Answer: When in VI standard, Ravi Teja, my elder son (now 29), first attempted to write something outside his academic subjects. In a crude way, he was scribbling anything and everything that came to his young mind. Honestly, I did not know what triggered his urge to write. As I saw, his manuscript with the cover page prominently displaying the words The Haunted House slowly started piling up page by page, and he used to keep the whole bunch of papers very close to his heart. Subsequently, as he could gather more time, he started typing his manuscript into the computer with his little fingers.
One day, the system crashed and he couldn’t retrieve what he had fed into the machine. He didn’t eat food the whole day. Somehow, the impulse to write again did not surface in him for a long time, and the writer in him went into hibernation for almost 4 years. Then during the summer vacation after his IX standard, he suddenly started writing again which, this time around continued unhindered almost for a year, and the result was birth of the pleasant surprise The Nightmare, a 105-page fiction that was published in April 2011, by Frog Books, Mumbai.
The Book launch function happened a month later on 5th May 2011 in his school (Kendriya Vidyalaya, Ashoknagar, Chennai) through the hands of Dr. Santhosh Babu, IAS, Director, e-Governance, Govt of Tamilnadu, at the kind instance of the Principal of the school, Mrs. N. Prasanna Kumari… Son became inspiration to father!
4. Can you share with us one of the most memorable moments from your writing journey while working on this book?
Answer: It was one evening around 6:00 during a heavy monsoon day in Nagpur in July 2019. I was returning to my quarters from a hectic day in the office. I saw a small bird struggling for life amid the fallen branches of a tree right in front of my quarters. I carefully picked up the little bird and brought it inside. The next about 50 minutes went into restoring the bird back to the comfort it required by nursing it and providing it with the necessary warmth and food. The small sparrow-like bird slowly started chirping first, then tried moving within the room, and then slowly attempted to flutter its small wings, by then dried!
As the winged friend regained its lost energy and slowly started flying inside the room (I doubly ensured that the ceiling fan was off), I took my laptop and in the next hour or so, completed the unfinished article Barriers Vs Bridges, which contained an important mention about Shri Jaisal, the local fisherman from Trissur, Kerala who, displaying the remarkable quality of compassion, instantly became a human bridge and helped women and children climb over him (even with their footwear on) to reach the waiting rescue boat for safety during the worst floods that hit Kerala the year before during August 2018.
Those rescue moments that saved the little bird, and which provided me with the necessary impetus to complete my article on the human bridge, stayed firmly in my memory lane ever since!
5. What do you hope readers will take away from your book, and how do you see it contributing to the ongoing discussions around ethics and values in today’s world?
Answer: In today’s world we mostly find chaos and confusion everywhere around us. Majority of people are just living a life without life. Further, several others tend to see illness even in their best wellness. Crime and corruption are crippling the delicate ethical fabric of society, though, at times, we do come across vivid exceptions. Societal good can happen only when Policy is not allowed to remain above humanity. One recent encouraging change noticed in this context was, the man with concern for his fellow man, humbly bowing down to the prolonged public displeasure, walked the extra mile and repealed the three opposed farm laws. However, the question still is, why at all does such a policy need to be framed in the first place.
Need of the hour, therefore, is to quickly spot the ‘damagers’ of the systems (out of the real managers) who are responsible for such a disorder, and deal a heavy blow to all of them with an iron hand. Simultaneously we need to check whether we are becoming barriers or bridges to human progress and development, and must make urgent corrections whenever we noticed that we were becoming barriers, rather than bridges, to progress and development. Further, the vice-versa is also equally important when it comes to putting a check on unethical and anti-national elements. By opening the doors to the law-abiding and showing the doors to the law-evading, the ethical fabric of society remains intact and vibrant, leading to the continuation of human progress. However, the polluted mind is causing serious damage to human progress and development, and worse, to human existence itself, at times. As such concerted efforts must take place to keep mind pollution at bay.
Unless our intelligentsia imbibes the wisdom to reach out to the masses in a selfless way, all-round development will continue to remain a mirage, and peace and happiness will not prevail. Concurrently it is further necessary that people start understanding the perils associated with needless dependence on technology, and in bringing the required discipline into their lives, before taking a view on the adoption of new technology.
In order to ensure the pleasant continuity of the bliss of human progress and development, a holistic & value-based education system combined with teachings on consumer and woman power must be order of the day. All this is possible only when we instill the core ethics and values into the lives of our younger generation right from the early age and develop a non-compromising attitude in them to practice the said values on a continuous basis. Before doing that, however, we need to become living examples to them by scrupulously following the values ourselves first, so that they can emulate us with open hearts!
I believe these are all the major takeaways for the readers from the book, which I am sure, would ensure a noteworthy contribution to the ongoing discussions on ethics and values.
6. How did your interest in cycling develop, and how has it impacted your life post-retirement?
Answer: Having been born into a traditional, value-based, and not-a-well-to-do family, I naturally took to cycling during my childhood, school, and college days as well. Thus, which was an absolute need till my college days, subsequently turned into a continued passion during the later part of my close to 37 ½ year-career in Coal India Ltd (CIL) – the Maharatna Central Public Sector Coal behemoth functioning under the administrative control of the Ministry of Coal, Govt of India – and its Miniratna subsidiary, the Nagpur-based Western Coalfields Ltd (WCL), thanks to the continued motivation and support by my second son, Sasi Kanth, 25, a cycling enthusiast and a footballer.
The final three years prior to my retirement from WCL Hq/Nagpur were the most memorable years in reference to my cycling forays. My daily 6 km home-to-office-and-back-home cycling stints and regular weekend cycling rides inspired many in my organization.On completion of the first 300 days of my cycling effort to office and back home, I was recognized with the title The Cycling Man of WCL. The event was widely acclaimed by the editorial team of Nucleus, the e-magazine of WCL, and was covered in the magazine’s March 2017 issue.
During the last 2 years of my career, my daily cycling spells to office and back got replaced with daily short rides in the mornings/evenings, as I was staying in the company quarters located just adjacent to my office that time. Further, on holidays I used to go on long rides outside the city. However, the most cherished and satisfying one was the Mission 0&0 (Zero Grade Slippage and Zero Consumer Complaints) ride, the 7-member, 2-day, 104-km official cycling expedition undertaken during March 2018 from WCL Hq to Umrer (the second largest coal-producing Area under WCL) and back to WCL Hq carrying Quality flags, thanks to the great enthusiasm and support extended by WCL management, in particular Shri M.S. Temurnikar, General Manager (QC), my immediate controlling officer and HoD. Above event, led by me from the front, was the first such cycling expedition ever undertaken in the entire CIL to spread awareness amongst the workforce engaged in coal mining and dispatch activities, on the need to conserve coal quality. All the above efforts were duly recognized by WCL management twice in a row on the occasion of the World Environment Day Celebrations held at WCL Hq during 2017 and 2018.
Thus, absolute fitness reasons & passion apart, what ensured my consistent pull towards cycling even after retirement is the clear value-addition I would be making to the environment not only in the reduction of pollution but in the conservation of the fast-depleting hydrocarbons, in my own small way. Thanks to this undying hunger, my post-retirement life is like an exciting and smooth ride on a bump-free road, with cycling now having become my lifestyle!
While my elder son Ravi is my inspiration for writing, my younger son Sasi is my inspiration for cycling!!
7. Finally, the last question. Can you tell us about a memorable experience from your 100-day Tour De 100 cycling challenge?
Answer: It was Diwali/Lakshmi Pooja Day (24th Oct 2022). I was returning home after a 30 KM cycling ride as a part of the 4th edition of the Tour De 100 global cycling challenge. Still about 5 km away from home, I halted on a roadside for drinking water. After quenching my thirst, when I was about to restart, I saw a Rs.500/- currency note lying on the road just in front of me. As I found no one in the vicinity searching for the lost note, I picked up the note as I could give the money to a few poor people who gather daily near the Shirdi Sai Baba temple located in Dilsukhnagar/ Hyderabad, near my home.
After reaching the temple, I checked up with a shop owner selling different Pooja items in the temple vicinity whether he would help me with change for the Rs.500/- note. He bluntly refused saying, he didn’t have change. I countered saying that he could have well said that he didn’t want to give me the change since it might affect his business, rather than saying a blatant lie in front of God. He got infuriated at my words, and with an utterly careless look, asked me to move! As I was retreating, I noticed that the very vendor was counting several currency notes in different denominations from his cashbox!
The same thing happened with another 5 to 6 vendors engaged in selling Pooja items in front of the Sai Baba temple. Ultimately, one tea vendor (chai wala), located slightly away from the temple, instantly obliged me and gave me two Rs.200/- notes and two Rs.50/- notes in exchange for the Rs.500/- note. Profusely thanking him for his kind and humane gesture, I passed on Rs.250/- each to two poor elderly women sitting in front of the temple in the name of that ‘anonymous’ donor, who lost the money!
The point that baffled me to the core was and still is, how the vendors could bluntly and flatly tell lies.. Was it due to an utter lack of ethics and values in them? I wondered!!
Thank you for joining us for this insightful online interview with the esteemed author. We hope that the conversation shed light on various aspects of his book, personal experiences, and perspectives on ethics and values. The author’s passion and dedication to promoting compassion, ethics, and values were truly inspiring.
As we conclude this interview, we would like to extend our heartfelt wishes for the author’s continued success in all his future endeavors. May his book reach countless readers, sparking meaningful discussions and encouraging individuals to embrace compassion and core values in their own lives. We eagerly anticipate the positive impact his work will have on the world.
Once again, thank you to the author for sharing his valuable insights with us, and we look forward to witnessing his continued journey of making a difference through his writing. Wishing him the very best in all his future endeavors.