Published: 05th September 2019
Teachers' Day: How this B'luru prof is working for society's well being
Dr Victor Paul is a professor and Head of Department of Sociology and Social Work at Christ University
Teachers are the facilitators who create the future of their students. “Have passion. If you have passion you will be successful in what you are doing and it is important to maintain a timeline”, said the professor and Head of Department of Sociology and Social Work at Christ University, Dr Victor Paul, a teacher who is living his life to the fullest with a scorching thirst to serve the society, and the patience to guide young minds. Five vital points Dr Paul stresses upon includes believing in one's self, maintaining a balance in life, remaining committed, perception and managing conflicts.
He also projected the current faculty scenario, “We (teachers) have a relatively better understanding about concepts and pedagogical aspects and a transformational leader in a teacher can reach out to their colleagues, students, parents and communities effectively." Dr Paul believes that knowledge through experience manifests success of any academic programme.
His inclination towards serving the society was ignited during his student life. “During that time, we had a lot of co-curricular and extracurricular opportunities including political opportunity, NSS (The National Service Scheme) and AICUF (The All India Catholic University Federation)”, all these opportunities carved his path towards being a social worker. In his initial days, he was an active member of NSS and later to enhance his student leadership he became a part of the national organization. His immense contribution as a member resulted in his presidency of the organisation.
Inspiration is all you need to choose your path and for him, the inclination towards the social work profession took place during his visit to a place that dealt with especially abled children (part of social camp). Recalling those times he talked about witnessing the humanistic approach of Social Work Students from Rajgiri College and them catering to the need of the children (specially-abled children). Touched by the simplicity and beauty of this profession Dr Paul decided to choose Social Work as a profession. To achieve the goal, he was introduced to MSW (Masters in Social Work) course by a family friend who was a social entrepreneur and had pursued MSW himself.
His journey as a social worker includes varied experiences with many organizations and on asking about the most memorable moment of his journey, Dr Paul very affectionately mentioned about his time as the Director of Rajeev Gandhi Initiative for Elementary Education of Madhya Pradesh government, where he came across social activist Daya Bai from Kerala. During this interview, he fondly recollected the memory of his interaction with the woman who had fire in her eyes and truthfulness in her sprit towards the cause she stands for. Her dedication, as mentioned by Dr Paul, has led her to beautifully don the shawl of culture over her shoulders and love in her heart. The most impressive aspect and learning were to see a simple lady sitting outside her house draped in cotton saree and covered in mesmerizing tribal tattoos in her body, communicating in fluent English with the visitor. Her learnings were not just from the society she was serving but from the journey to serve it. On asking his takeaway from this journey he mentioned that “there are many people in India who are dedicated to the cause of making a difference in the lives of people and Daya Bai is one of them.”
Dr Paul has been an inspiration for many students and professors who had the opportunity to be guided by him. On asking about his role as a mentor he said, “Mentoring demands patience and experience to deal with people. My focus of life now is to give back and the best way to do that is to mentor young minds in the right path”. On asking how he has mastered this skill he said, “I have learned it by practising (mentoring). It is a challenging thing and it is important to understand the child’s background for effective mentoring. I help them to find the purpose of their life”.
“Life taught me to respect others. Where there is respect, there is no anger," he said. In the journey of handling conflict, we wished to know his thought about it to which he quoted, “Do one to others as they want you to do” and stated that the crucial part of handling conflict is to help them to see your perspective. According to Dr Paul, the conflict arises when expectation exceeds the reality and if we curb that then seeing a different perspective is not that difficult. Social Work is still a budding profession in India and still being contemplated about its future. On asking him about social work and its stand in India he mentioned the vital aspect of the course and Social Work as a profession.
Dr Paul mentioned that Social Work is the mother of all Professions as it is human-centric and that makes a difference in the lives of people. On asking him further about it he said that MSW course focuses on teaching one from all angles. It will give the pursuer knowledge about Project Management, psychology, sociology, organizational management and will entitle you to gain practical experience along with the theoretical aspect of it. Dr. Paul also mentioned that such rigorous training is essential in gaining the competencies required for this profession and learning to develop knowledge through serving is very important to develop the practitioner and the profession.
“To live your life to its completeness,” said the professor and a man of his words for whom success is the commitment, dedication, and accomplishment he did live his life by it.