Motivational speaker playing tennis without a net
A few weeks ago, while listening to a motivational speaker at an Educational Merit Awards ceremony in the city, American bard Robert Frost’s quote “playing tennis without a net” popped out of my memory bank. .
Frost may have been lamenting the growing number of poets, “Free Verse ‘poetry without formal structure, like a rhyme scheme’ was like ‘playing tennis without a net’.
This motivational speaker similar to Frost’s analogy stood for nearly an hour testing the patience of helpless guests giving “Gyaan” (knowledge) away from education, pedagogical shortcomings, lack of aptitude for excellence in young people, from the complexities of modern life, to miserable cell phones, the frantic race for wealth and comfort, to neglect in board excellence, selfishness, the disappearance of family values , a return to daily tasks based on faith and an appeal to ever deeper filiopietist values.
Drawing on mundane examples of blue and white collar dedication and commitment to their work, he took the audience on a roller coaster ride. It is debatable whether the message was understood by the audience, which in this case were the winners, their parents, teachers, classmates and sponsors seated on stage and an assortment of guests. And at the end of the show, a guest joked “what was he trying to say”.
Long discussions turn “Gyaan” (knowledge/wisdom) into “Bayaan” (narrative) causing listeners to lose “Dhiyaan” (attention). The faculty of listening is fragile it slows down, if it is taxed beyond its capacities, unless you have a rich repertoire to animate the interest of the audience. The main objective of motivational interviews is to leave maximum impact on the listeners and to avoid sentimentality. Established and skilled motivational speakers make it “shorter the better”, peppered with interesting anecdotes.
Motivational speakers of the “playing tennis without a net” type seem to be on the increase among the faithful and are increasingly attributing modern technical and scientific developments to “Western science”, urging their young listeners to take a “leap of faith”. defying the diversity and sometimes debilitating influences of Western cultures and market excellence, ignoring that scientific developments were substantially inspired by earlier work by Arabs and Indians.
There’s this clip doing the rounds on social media of one such speaker. The man who doesn’t have the king’s minimum English (the queen is dead and our old colonial lords have a king after 70) speaking a mixture of Urdu and English laments and persuades his audience to take back the pharmaceutical industry from the Jews which he claimed without a blink of an eye, had turned him away from the Christians by putting their own medical badge of the staff of Moses with two entwined serpents at the top (referring to the caduceus) above the cross, with the Islamic crescent and star insignia.
Unforgivable clumsy idiocy. The Red Cross has nothing to do with pharmaceutical production. It is a global humanitarian network based in Geneva that provides AZ aid to people and nations suffering from calamities and disasters, like its counterpart the Red Crescent.
His, “Staff of Moses and entwined serpents”, is the caduceus, a traditional symbol of the medical profession used by doctors, clinics, hospitals and ambulances, very common in the West. And seen on the billboards of medical and home health stores. It is actually one of many Greek and Roman mythological icons, carried by the Greek god Hermes. And there are several myths about the caduceus.
As a result, there is a noticeable qualitative improvement among Friday Pulpit (Khateebs) speakers. Contrary to the common fate that pontificates, despises sinners, harangues on the proverbial mote, assuring hellfire with no hope of mercy for actions and deeds that the BOOK does not specifically protect and forbids, ignoring the importance of Mamalat (relations/transactions with family, social affairs, business) which the Prophet warned to keep pace with. These few people are former students of Islamic seminaries, known to produce influential scholars. Few of them have managed to establish a healthy connection with young and educated people.
A mosque on road number 12 in Banjara Hills, known for the neatly arranged cemetery on its open ground, where traditional memorials on graves are not allowed, only headstones with the name of the deceased person and the date of his death are permitted, availed the services of such an ready-made Imam (prayer leader). Traditionally, Friday khutbas revolve around the do’s and don’ts of faith.
His Friday khutbas (sermon) are the perfect balance between the demands of modern times and the protocols of the faith. Aware of the shortcomings and flaws of the community and the social and political situation of the country, he puts forward issues such as “Time management. Islamic will and guidance. Avoid misunderstandings – build trust in relationships with others. Causes of tension and remedies. Contributions of Muslims in the country’s struggle for independence. Peace and security are the Mercy of God. Personal hygiene. Maintain healthy environments”. And insists on looking into the rich confines of Islamic civilization, history, its sciences and the Holy Scriptures, to find solutions rather than adopting what seems to be the prevailing mood in the West.
It’s not just the usual hype, but a cool, calm delivery punctuated with English terms, figure of speech, connotations, and catchy vocabulary to get the point across.