In conversation with Prashant Nair: NatCon 2018
Prashant Nair belongs to the Indian Administrative Services and belongs to the Kerala Cadre. He currently serves as the Secretary to the Union Tourism Minister. He was part of the esteemed panel of speakers at the National Conference for Youth on Social Change.
Here he is in conversation with MTTN describing his inspiration and motivation.
MTTN: As a collector from Kozhikode district, please quote some of your favourite moments from being a district collector.
Mr Prashant: Well I never expected gratitude from people with every deed. I did my job with compassion. I still remember how every day I had 200 people waiting to see me. I would start seeing people at 11 in the morning till lunchtime. One day, an old lady was waiting for a long time and when she came in, I asked her what her complaint was. She told me she was waiting for all this while just to say thank you. Something dear to her had been pending for 5-6 years and had passed just a couple of weeks ago. It was so very moving. There have been various such instances which have moved me.
MTTN: What inspired you to find compassionate Kozhikode?
After running for the collector position, I went to the district mental health centre. It shook me. There was no organization, these people couldn’t articulate the pain they were going through and most of them had been dumped by their relatives. They didn’t have voting rights and had no care. The city in itself was prosperous and yet such a centre existed in the centre of the city. I felt ashamed as a collector of the city. These people needed immediate attention and help and I couldn’t wait for a budget meeting till next year to help them. That night on Facebook, I put up the requirements needed to make a good mental health centre and urged the public to reach out and help. It was my first experience with crowdsourcing. Within two weeks the whole supply, consisting of basic things like buckets and mattress etc was delivered to the hospital and it was worth eight lakhs. It was a beautiful sight to see!
MTTN: What are the qualities that should be inculcated amongst the youth to make them better citizens?
Mr Prashant: Compassion. Youth always respond during a crisis. Tech-savvy people helped us immensely during the recent flood operations. Crisis management is not easy. It starts with an SOS call. Location of the call is tracked and then the rescue chain starts. It’s a pretty elaborate process. I had so many teams collaborating together to make this operation a success. The information gathered was relayed to the control rooms and the Navy. Other than the people on TV, all the people working behind the curtain are just as important. For example, the people manning call centres. It is an emotional experience. The youth must prioritize the feeling of compassion over competitiveness.
MTTN: What inspired you to bring change to the world?
Mr Prashant: I never thought of changing the world. I still don’t. The kind of role which you take up makes a difference. Because I got into administrative service, the canvas where I can help people is slightly wider. So many people do so many things which are yet to be recognized. I have never worked solo. I was always blessed to have a brilliant team to work with. We are all just trying to do what we can do, to the best of our abilities.
In conclusion, Mr Prashant Nair is a man with a plan. His work and ideas are like a breath of fresh air for this country and we wish him good luck with his future endeavours.
Interview By: Soumee Sengupta
Written By: Anushna Sen.