Letter to Prof. V.B.Nadkarni
Letter to Dr. V.B. Nadkarni
In this letter, Kamat responds to efforts by a close friend to find an employment for him. In many ways, this is the story of his life. Excerpted from a draft in Kamat's diary.
Chindwada, Madhya Pradesh,
September, 7, 1976
I am deeply touched by your letter dated 2nd of September 1976 -- not because I still have a hope of securing an academic job in an university, but because I have such great friends like yourself who are caring for me.
Yes, indeed once I had dreamt of an academic career in an university, and wanted to mentor at least a few good students to become great citizens. It was the pursuit of this dream that made me labor very hard in Dharwad and Jobner campuses. But Baban, our system does not value honesty, labor, and sincerity, and I had to relinquish my teaching profession. I tried for a career as a researcher, only to be met with greater disappointment. After applying and interviewing with plethora of research organizations and institutions, and after being told that "I am inadequate" for their needs, I started to discover myself. I realized that for a person to contribute to society and to justify one's existence, he need not be provided with material resources or a post of power. I thought that as long as I have a desire to labor, and a desire to learn, I would find fulfillment, and started Scientific Photo Lab in Bangalore. I must say that the admiration and adulation of my customers -- mostly students and faculty of science, has been more than I had wanted.
As you know, my hobby of writing is also a new one, and I didn't have any background whatsoever to become a writer. My five books, while have not made me rich, have become very popular and earned me quite a following. Perhaps you think that the income I derive from writing and photography is an insult to my education or my caliber, but I ask that a man's success in life not be measured in the wealth he builds or the power he acquires. I have been studying the tribals of Madhya Pradesh -- all they have is a thatched hut, a charpai (wooden cot), and a couple of pots and pans. Yet they live such a happy and contented life! My argument is that we all humans should develop this simple attitude to life.
Pardon me, I started with something, but went somewhere else. Yes, once upon a time, all I wanted was a job in Karnatak University, so I could stabilize my family, and engage in research and teaching. But now, I have lost that desire, and the last six years of self-employment have made me very proud and I think it will be very difficult for me now to abide by other people's rules. I beg you not to pressurize me into applying for this position, and instead I ask you to let me fly like a free bird.
I am very grateful for your affection, and sincerely honor your efforts to give me a chance in academia. I ask for your continued trust in me.
With regards to Vaini, and love to the children,
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