Article by Jayant Bhandari.
Unknowns lurked in every corner of my stay in the UK, crystallizing many ideas I had never known or thought of in my wildest imagination. Lacking anything akin to the Ten Commandments, India has no prohibitions for sins, certainly not lying. I grew up firm in my view that you say what makes you look good and what gets you the most resources. It would take me a year after my arrival in the UK to realize that people might speak the truth for the sake of speaking it.
At the office where I worked in Manchester, I compiled a newsletter, placing the list of all the projects they were working on at the back page. To create the impression of a more extensive workload, I would add old projects to make the list appear crowded. One day, a consultant told me I had overblown his contributions. I was surprised. Why would he want to undercut the promotion of his work? In those days, political correctness and multi-culturalism weren’t the thing. If you strayed too far away, you were told.
I was experiencing civilization for the first time and had stepped into the unknown. The cloud that had always lingered in my mind started lifting, and my body began to change, albeit hindered by half-starvation. It would set a decades-long process to readjust my thinking and decision-making. With a crisper way of reasoning, how and what I comprehended from the spoken and written word began to evolve. I found myself less focused on converting others to my opinions and more engaged in exploration and searching for truth. Consequently, my interactions with people changed significantly, leading to fewer conflicts.
During the first few months in the UK, I initially harbored thoughts of exploiting the system, viewing it as payback time for the British colonization of India. However, this perspective began to dissolve in the face of a stream of compassionate, generous, helpful, moral, fair, dutiful, and upright people.
This chimes exactly with what Vishal Mangalwadi writes in his book: “The Book That Made Your World“, in particular the beginning of chapter 14, on “Morality”.