Harish Jharia

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10 July 2009

Is It Right to Disclose Trade Secrets by Mentors?


© Harish Jharia

In your professional academia, and career you usually encounter many difficulties and problems that you overcome and solve with the help of your guides or mentors or inexplicably, sometimes make it all by yourself.

You might have experienced that in this process of analysis and a sort of mini ‘R&D’ and prolonged experience you sometimes develop expertise in certain fields.

I can cite my own example of gaining expertise in leveling old-time Dumpy Levels (in 1960s) that were mounted on tripods while doing outdoor surveying practicals in my college days.

Even today, there are many other surveying instruments, telescopes, cameras etc that require precise leveling with the help of three leveling base-screws. Remember, that you cannot make the instrument ready for use unless you know the proper drill of doing this type of leveling.

Likewise, you acquire expertise in your own field like the following few examples:
  1. How to dominate a crowd around you
  2. How to be stable and confident while facing an interview board viz PSC, UPSC, SSB etc
  3. How to drive away a static car stopped on a steep up-gradient without a slightest rollback
  4. How to answer maximum right answers in an objective type test paper
  5. Once you become expert in any field, you are automatically christened as a guru in that department. Moreover, you become a real mentor only when you part with your expertise with someone.
Here comes the question of choosing a deserving candidate and avoiding disclosure of knowledge to someone who is suspected to use it against you and exploit with the help of tactics learnt from you. Such people might use it for wrong motives for exploiting innocent people around them.

For example, there is an incident described in Hindu scriptures about lord Vishnu. The lord bestowing supernatural powers by mistake to an unworthy demon named Bhasmasur. Bhasmasur, with those powers could set anyone, ablaze simply by positioning his hand over a victim’s head.

To the sheer embarrassment of lord Vishnu, Bhasmasur went on a blazing spree with sinful motives of capturing the world and establishing himself as God himself. Eventually lord Vishnu had to reincarnate himself for eliminating Bhasmasur using his own powers.

The incident described above appears to be not so very relevant in modern days. Nevertheless, that warns us to select a suitable person carefully before parting with our original expertise.

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