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TS - Misplaced priorities and current crisis

May 25, 2009 07:27 AM
by MKR

TS - Misplaced priorities and current crisis
We have seen much discussion about rules and regulations of TS and the
powers and privileges of the elected leaders. The bottom line today is TS
and its mission has been hurt by the cleavage we have seen from the voting
pattern in the last GC meeting.
What we have seen since the start of the election, is an attempt to make
least important issues to appear as very important. First and foremost,
dwindling membership would be the issue of most concern in any organization
- spiritual or business or philanthropic. TS was organized with full
autonomy at all levels and the international involvement comes up only when
there are disputes between sections. This is a foundation which was
discussed at length in Masters Letters to Sinnett. This policy contradicts
traditional top down control and direction in many religious denominations
which helps build a large blind following. I believe that this is a very
significant factor in the survival and growth of TS for over a century.
Membership recruitment and retention outside India is a serious problem and
this is a hot potato no one wants to talk about. Again this is an issue that
has to be attacked in each country since the local conditions vary so much
that there can be no universal solution for it. Also due to the autonomy at
lodge and section level, none at lodge or section level will tolerate anyone
dictating what they should do to fix it. In commercial organizations, the
leader could dismiss those at lower levels who are not functioning. To
guarantee the autonomy, in TS no one can dismiss an elected leader.
We have seen all kinds of discussions on the rules and regulations as if
they are the root cause of all problems. They are not. Any amount of
tinkering will do no good to the serious membership problem. Somehow, it is
made to appear as if rules are of concern of membership. No, they are only
the concern of the GC members, because their self-interest is involved.
I think there are two key factors which are hurting TS. One seems to be
elitism. (You may want to read about it in wiki.) Second is for years and
years, there was no transparency on what was going on in the GC. The section
leaders travel to Adyar at TS expense and when they are back don't tell
about  the decisions taken and the reasons behind them. We hear more about
whom they saw, whom they had coffee or tea with etc.

The annual report issued by TS seems to contain the minutes of the GC
meeting. Members can read it and get some idea of the decisions. This is not
a secret document. TS is not a secret society. Its decisions are not secret.
Recently I tried to find if the TSA library has copies of the 2006 and 2007
annual reports and was told they could not find it. I do not know why? Where
did the copies go?
One wonders whether the leaders are deluded by maya that they know what is
better for the members and hence there is no need to tell members about
their decisions affecting the members. When members learnt last year about
the ultra-secret attempt to disenfranchise members world wide and seize
control of the presidency by a handful of GC members, it was a shock felt
world-wide. Many could not believe this could happen in TS. Already the GC
members have the monopoly to nominate the president. The secret attempt was
to assume the power to appoint the president by disenfranchising the
membership and make the president their puppet. What is more striking is the
timing of this and the players behind it. But for the Internet and the good
luck of TS and its members, this was discovered in time before it was a fait
accompli and too late to do anything.
In an organization where autonomy at all levels is key, leaders cannot lead
members if members do not have full trust in their leaders. The actions we
have seen so far and the cleavage we are witnessing has affected the trust
factor in the minds of membership.
What all of the above seems to show is that dramatic and quick action is
needed if TS wants to grow outside India. I hope and pray that some miracle
will happen soon to help TS.
There is no religion higher than truth.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


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