Hope is a key concept for progress. Every individual or family, group or organisation, community or nation is motivated by hope. It is the catalytical element that continuously burns the desire to succeed and expect a better future. Absence of hope leads to nihilism and stagnation.
While hope is considered as a positive element of human thinking, it must be accompanied with good intentions (niyat). Without good intention, a hope can lead towards selfish objectives. Nourishing hope to succeed by wishing harm or destruction to others already smacks with bad intention. It does not cost anything to make a hope and thus people can generate myriads of hope in their minds for which the sky is the limit. The maritime adventures in the Medieval era were undertaken with the hope of discovering new lands. Similarly, the costly space exploration is being pursued with the hope of finding living organism and understanding the universe. But hope should be based on realistic and achievable goals, otherwise it turns out into a nightmare. A hope that bubbles around a fantasy or an extremely unlikely outcome can become a “false hope”.
The effectiveness of good leadership is based, not just on doing the right things, but on the hope phenomenon. Napoleon Bonaparte said: “A leader is a dealer in hope”. Many leaders have succeeded or failed to effect change within a community or organisation depending on how they created and harnessed hope. One of the key requirement for effective leadership is to calibrate the hope with good intentions. It is not humanly possible to fulfil all the hopes, but a leader must be well-inspired to motivate his followers towards a goal-post with sincerity of purpose.
When President Nasser came with the project of building Aswan Dam, he was criticised for his “Pharanoic” initiative. But he was inspired with good intentions with the hope of relieving the lives of the Egyptian farmers. Recently, the Turkish Prime Minister was blamed for realising the Bosphorous undersea tunnel which was considered as a grandiose Ottoman dream dating since 1860. But his niyat is good as he hopes to solve the massive traffic congestion of Istanbul and connect the civilization of the East and the West.
Based on nothing but hope and good intentions, Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel Prize Laureate and the founder of Grameen Bank, was able to empower millions of poor Bangladeshis who had no means and hope to make an economic living. Dr Yunus, by kindling hopes in the hearts of the poor, has reversed the conventional banking wisdom by removing collateral requirement and created a banking system which is based on mutual trust, strict supervision, accountability, participation and creativity.
Based on nothing but hope and god intentions, our ancestors, who were uprooted from their homeland, were able to transform the island of Mauritius into a sugar economy. They did not benefit the fruits of their sacrifices and hard work during their lifetime, but they kept on toiling unrelentlessly with the hope that their dreams could be transferred to future generations.
The challenge facing Mauritius today is what to hand over to the next generation. The opportunities are so limited that many Mauritians start thinking about migrating abroad. When a baby is born, the parent instinctively start thinking about his future. They are prepared to give him the best parental care to make him a successful adult. But the parental imagination gets haunted by nightmarish dreams of an uncertain future. What guidance and orientation must they give to their children? Should they prepare them to anchor in Mauritius or to evolve on a global horizon? It is here that hope and good intentions are necessary to encourage parents in raising and motivating their children to invest in the country’s future.
The concept of ocean economy is a novel idea that must inspire hope and confidence in the future of Mauritius. With tenacity of hope and consistency of action it has been possible transform and bloom the desert. There is no reason why Mauritians cannot harvest the resources of the ocean through application of new technologies. Evidently, this will require massive and sustained investment over a long-term in training and building human capacity, undertaking research and development, acquiring technology and equipment, laying down the ocean infrastructure and mobilising financial resources. For many of us, the transformation of Mauritius into an ocean economy may not happen in our lifetime. But this should not prevent us from nourishing hope for a better future as a legacy to the upcoming generations.
The nature of some projects is such that they cannot be realized in one’s lifetime; and this must not be the reason to give up hope. It is just like the story of certain fruit trees that have trans-generational cycle. When one bows the seed of a fruit-plant, he has the firm hope and intention to consume its fruits one day. But knowing that the tree may not bear fruits during one’s lifetime, it would be a selfish and regressive idea not to grow the tree. On the contrary one must be exalted by good intention to grow and sustain it with the hope that its fruits will be enjoyed by posterity. Hope with god intentions is a transmission belt to future.