Episode #261 – “Nepotism is the biggest gamble against productivity!” – Vidura’s key advice on leadership!!!


In the previous episode we had witnessed a very important discussion wherein Vidura spoke about the significance of a king appointing the right people as ministers under him. We’ve already witnessed in few other occasions before this in terms of “Recruitment” as explained by the Vidura Neeti, however Vidura stresses on this important point once more because there is a lack of clarity in this aspect with respect to King Dhirdiraashtra. The people who are appointed as ministers are supposed to be key advisers to the king on all the aspects pertaining to the “Raaja Dharma” and effective administration of the kingdom. Before appointing ministers, it is the bound duty of the king to test them adequately to know their levels of competence in decision-making amidst tough situations.

Vidura emphasizes this point repeatedly because he finds it evident that King Dhirdiraashtra has missed a trick here! Rather than appointing competent people as his minsters, King Dhirdiraashtra had ended up appointing tainted people for the posts, who were constantly misleading the King on various occasions. Moreover, King Dhirdiraashtra had appointed some of his close family members as his ministers, irrespective of whether they’re competent or not to be in that position! This is what we call in today’s HR Management terms as “Nepotism”. The term Nepotism simply means, appointing close aides or friends or family members to key positions, without understanding their strengths and capabilities on the job. In this way, he had appointed Sahuni and even Bhishma for that matter! At a critical time when Dharma had to be upheld in terms of protecting a woman from being insulted, all of his ministers were sitting silent without condemning the grave crime! In fact, Sahuni was literally encouraging Duryodhana to execute the heinous crime in front of the whole courtroom as people watched on! Such was the level of King Dhirdiraashtra’s ministry and this irked Vidura to the maximum! This is the main reason why he laments and slams King Dhirdiraashtra for selecting fools to be ministers and tries to explain to him the ill-effects of having such people in key positions of the kingdom.

In today’s scenario too, we are witnessing similar instances on a larger scale wherein less-talented people are preferred more than genuinely qualified people for jobs, promotions, etc. just because these less-talented people are close aides to the people of the top management of the organization. Of course there are laws, rules and regulations prohibiting such brazen nepotist practices, but are they implemented in such a way that the qualified person gets an opportunity that he truly deserves? Even in today’s political scenario in India we can see many political parties today having incompetent leaders although there might be other people in the party who might be genuinely qualified to assume key leadership positions. For instance, in one of the main north-Indian states, the son of a major political party that had won the state elections was “coronated” as the “Deputy Chief Minister” of that state. If we look at the educational qualification of this so-called “Deputy Chief Minister”, he hadn’t even completed his basic schooling! Now my question is, if such unqualified people are pushed to occupy higher ranks, doesn’t it spoil the intentions and aspirations of thousands of youngsters in the country who desire to achieve good career growth with their genuine qualifications? This is exactly what Vidura is talking here too. If we give the top ranks to unqualified people, not only does the administration suffer, but also it throws the aspirations of qualified people to shambles, which results in mass exodus of highly qualified people to other foreign countries, thus ultimately resulting in what we call “Bran-drain”.

This “Nepotism” happens not only in the political arena, but also across other organizations in various industries. Hence the message from yesterday’s and today’s episodes is that, leaders should be extremely careful in selecting the right people for the top ranks in their respective organizations. The productivity of the organization would go down if merit is compromised for unqualified people who are close aides to the leader.

So for today, let us introspect this important point once more and let us do the needful. We should always remember that a right deserving person should never be denied his/her rightful opportunity for growth and such a thing is against the professional ethics of a leader. We shall wait till the next episode to witness Vidura’s next point of explanation. Stay tuned! 😊

Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at International School of Business & Media, Pune, India. A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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