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Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar

This incident happened during the later part of 1800s, in Bangaal when Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar and his few friends were busy collecting donations to start Calcutta University. One day Vidyasagar stopped at the door of the palace of Nawaab of Avadh. Nawaab was not exactly known to be a generous person and many people tried to dissuade Vidyasagar from taking this mission. But Vidyasagar met Nawab and presented his cause. On hearing Vidyasagar’s plea, Nawab got up, pulled one of his shoes and dropped in Vidyasagar’s bag as donation. Vidyasagar did not say a word. He simply got up, thanked Nawab and left.

Next day Vidyasagar organized auction of Nawaab’s shoe in front of his palace. Lots of Nawaab’s knights , Jaageerdaar, court members, who wanted to impress Nawaab started bidding. By the mid afternoon the shoe was sold for Rs 1000. Nawab, happy to hear that his shoe fetched Rs 1000, matched the auction money. He added his own Rs. 1000 as donation.

When the destiny dropped a shoe in his basket, Vidyasagar could have walked out furious, or he could have thrown the shoe on Nawaab as revenge of insult, or he could have got depressed and gone home crying that nobody is willing to give him donation and given up his efforts to raise donation for the university. But he did nothing of that sort. He remained focused on his main goal. He rose above his personal feelings, ego, and insecurities and exploited the situation creatively. He rose above his insecurities and exploited that of others around him. He took that shoe and converted it to the biggest donation to University of Calcutta. Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar converted his on-face insult and resulting disappointment into a Rs. 2000 donation plus a pleased Nawab who could be of some assistance at some point later. Later Calcutta University became a reality. It became a center of education for fine arts, social studies, science and technology.

Throughout our life, we come across situations that will bring disappointment, anger, frustration, depression, but most of the times, there will be a way we can use this situation to our advantage if we remain calm and focused on our real objective, if we engage in introspection, and if we find a creative solution by thinking outside the box. Next time when your destiny hands over you a shoe when you were expecting treasures, take that as a challenge to your creativity, not as an insult to your ego. Next time you get a lemon, don’t make lemonade, try to convert it into a jackpot.

This story is famous for Madan Mohan Mallviya also when he went to ask for donation to the Nizaam of Hyderaabaad.





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Created by Sushma Gupta on 05/09/04     |      Contact:      |      Modified on 01/22/13