December 30, 2006

There's life after retirement

In response to e-mail alert to a few friends on my piece – FAQ: What do I do the whole day? – asking if they or their retired friends have had to face this question Dr Bhamy V Shenoy cited examples of several senior citizens who spent a full and fruitful life after retirement in social initiatives. Dr Shenoy, who leads a very public life as convenor of Mysore Grahakara Parishat, has several other facets that are not, perhaps, so widely known – that of an energy consultant to a former Soviet republic, a freelance feature writer, a Pratham activist, promoter of an educational institution in his native village, and social activist with conviction that the educated middle-class should embrace politics, to make it clean, caste-free and socially relevant.

Says Dr Shenoy in response to my alert mail: " How can we change the mindset of people, making them realise that retired people, especially in India, can do far more to fulfill their social responsibilities after retirement? Look at Mysore, supposedly a "heaven" for retired people. There are hundreds of them for whom society has done so much during their working years. Can't they spare some time to give back something to society? I was once surprised to find we had among Mysore residents a retired director of an IIT. He was led a reclusive life. There are many retired vice chancellors among our residents . Can they not take initiative in educating our slum and government school children. Look at this ' young man' Dr. Parpia, his relentless work to improve education for the poor. He may well be as busy now as he was while working for CFTRI.

We have a BARC scientist, Dr. Krishnan, searching for schools that will accept his services (free) to teach children basic science. He is coaching failed SSLC and PUC students, to enable them to reappear in examinations.

We have an 82 year principal of B.Ed school going to a Pratham school to teach first graders.

Mr. Madhavan's late mother-in-law used to coach children till she was 100 years old.

No doubt these are exceptions. But why cannot we make this the rule for our retured folk? When someone enjoys what he or she is doing, it does not become a job. All the examples I gave, are of those who were/are having a nice time doing their stint in society, after retirement."


NonLocalResident said...

Interesting article. This concept of volunteerism is very good. I volunteer a lot in the local schools here in the US. Maybe when I am there with my kid I can do the same? But how does one go about getting information?

Anonymous said...

You can contact Pratham Mysore at 2412612. This is located in Jayalaxmipuram in Mysore. If you are not from Mysore, you can contact Pratham offices which are located in many cities like Mysore. You can look at their contact info at

Bhamy V Shenoy

Shankar said...

I agree with Dr. Shenoy's comments that each of us having received so much from the society during our professional careers or during the prime youth could seriously consider giving back a bit in respective areas of experience or expertise. As a matter of fact, after nearly six decades after independence, our society seem to have more retired experts than working experts in almost all sectors. A large number of us would be too busy in routine or repetitive tasks while in active service not to have found adequate time to worry about the society around us. Once retired from active service most people would have some time for such activities. Those who need to earn even after active service may also have an oportunity to make decent money. We know that many retirees are active in this regard, as Dr. Shenoy has pointed out.

We only need to put some effort in that direction. It is a common feeling that retired people can keep themselves fit & healthy by keeping busy in doing a chore of their preference; so why not assist those in need of some help !!!

Anonymous said...

there are persons who would like to contribute eirher their own ideas and expertise or join others - most of the 'established' institutions or ngo's do not know how to merge these sincere offers of help in the existing programs- a request for money or material disgusts a true well-wisher and social worker- best way is to be honest about your welcome to the offerer, including a polite ' i am sorry i do not know how to accommodate you/ your views/ your ideas etc.- this is necessary because many offers come out of odd beliefs, religious tinges, parochal desires etc.. to overcome all these 'suspicions' and inefficiencies both the giver and the taker should be totally transparent --we can be in our little 10 thousnd /year small ngo work sethubandhana trust at mysore- emails can be sent to