The Four-Way Test


Dear Rotarians,

As Rotarians representing our common affiliation, we may individually be distinctly different; however we all have a shared vision: to give back to community. As Rotarians we are also drawn together by a common code of ethics. I am inspired to write these words by certain incidents where businessmen and sportspersons have demonstrated their ethical convictions and walked the talk.

There is a blood bank inside the plant of a well-known industrial group in eastern India. If an employee donates a bottle of blood, he is given the day off, and he can also avail an extra day’s leave within seven days of his blood donation. Employees began to use this compensatory off to extend their holidays, leading to loss of several man-hours.

Once the chairman was asked a question: “People take undue advantage of the policy. We lose several man-hours. Blood is replenished in the body within 24 hours, you know. Why give that extra holiday within seven days of donating blood?” The chairman, with a smile on his face said, “encouragement is something I don’t need to teach you. Only few people donate because they want to. We may be losing some man-hours doing that but have you ever thought of the man-hours that get added to the blood recipient’s life? I am ready to sacrifice 16 man-hours for the better good.” The chairman is the true inspiration.

Hopefully, this anecdote has given you some idea on how you can develop and incorporate ethical and philanthropic principles in your own organisation. Those that focus on people and not just profit could be a wise investment.

One cannot be a true sportsman unless his actions are ethical. During the India-West Indies Test series in 1966–67 played in Mumbai, Indian wicket-keeper batsman Budhi Kunderan made merry against the fearsome Wes Hall and Charlie Griffith as well as Gary Sobers and Lance Gibbs by scoring 79 runs, coming in at No 9. Earlier during this innings Kunderan was declared out caught by Sobers when his score was in single digit. Sir Garfield Sobers, a true spirited and gentleman cricketer and one of the greatest all-rounders, withdrew his appeal saying that he had taken the ball on the bounce. Imagine, there was no TV coverage or slow motion replay of the played ball. When Sobers was later asked why he recalled the batsman when the umpire had declared him out, Sobers replied he believed in truth and the spirit of the game. This is the true Four-Way Test. Sir Gary is the true inspiration.

“Helping hands are better than praying lips” is the most powerful ethics in real life. That is our true inspiration.

Wishing you all a very happy New Year.

Be the Inspiration — and together, we can, and we will, inspire the world.


C Basker
Director, Rotary International

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