Today I saw a documentary on YouTube produced and directed by Andrew Hinton titled “Banking On Change – India”.
Many of India’s 1.24 billion population borrow from private money lenders at high interest rates. Once they begin to borrow, they rarely get free from the usury (the practice of making unethical or immoral monetary loans intended to unfairly enrich the money lenders). One man decided to change this system.
In this documentary Andrew Hinton tells the story of Mr. J.S. Parthiban, a bank manager in Salem, Tamilnadu, India. Parthiban is not a run-of-the-mill banker one finds in most banks in India. He is a bank manager with a difference. He helps people. He is genuinely interested in people.
Parthiban does not see himself as someone who sits in the office, signing papers and totalling numbers, and so on. He decided to take the bank to the rural folk and not the other way around. For him it is more than just dealing with money. It is dealing with the aspirations of the common people.
He visits isolated villages on his motorcycle. He helps the villagers through micro loans. He helps them develop self-respect by imbibing them with a sense of entrepreneurship.
“If I were a doctor, I would care for the people coming to me the same as I do now. If I were a teacher, I would be teaching my students with the same sincerity. I feel it doesn’t matter what you are or what your work is. It is your approach. It is the conviction behind the approach.
You can talk about global economic or financial crisis. Or the need to bring about drastic change in the system. But cultivating people should be the most important goal. If you do that, everything falls into the right place. If you help them change their attitude towards life, what they are doing, why they are doing, how they can be. If you can help them to find an answer to all these things, I think we have found an answer to all the big headlines in the newspapers.”
Rural India needs more bank managers in the mould of J.S. Parthiban.