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Standing By One’s Principles- An Excerpt from ‘Excellence Has No Borders’

Have you ever hit a point so low where hope was your only option? Dr B.S. Ajaikumar did too. He lost twenty million dollars and he almost lost his son. He hit a point where he stopped feeling that life was worth living but what brought him back was his zeal to never give up. His innate tendency to test the limits of his mental endurance. His tenacity for his principles. His family. Himself.

Meet Dr. Ajai Kumar in Excellence Has No Borders


As a young adult, I was not immune to these social upheavals. With my tendency to stand up for the underdog, my internal volcano seemed to bubble up at the slightest hint of injustice. At St John’s, I was known to be an unapologetic leftist who stood for values. I was just over sixteen years old, the youngest in my class. I do understand that sixteen years was very young to get into medical college. Fortunately, I was able to get several double promotions in my primary and middle school due to new educational rules. I used to sit in the second bench and was very nervous, since it was my first year at university. All the other students in my class were adults, street-smart and hostel boarders.


One incident that transpired among the hallowed portals of St John’s changed things considerably. The physics teacher had a bit of an accent and used to pronounce ‘cc’ (cubic centimetres) as ‘sheeshee’. One day, unable to control myself, I ended up covering my mouth and laughing. Face contorted with anger, the lecturer strode up to me.


‘Take your books and get out!’


I sat there in silence, without moving.


‘I said take your books and get out,’ he repeated.


Finally I found my voice. ‘I’ve done nothing wrong. When I’m not guilty, I won’t go out.’


Anger turning to mortification, the lecturer blurted, ‘I will report you to the Father, who is the head of the department of physics!’


‘Please do.’ I felt strangely calm.


I was reported to the head of the department and summoned by the Father. This was a matter of principle for me. I was ready to stand up for it. 


I told the principal, ‘Father, I will not leave the classroom when I’ve done nothing wrong.’


I was able to hold my ground, and no action was taken against me. My older classmates began to treat me with respect after this incident. It crystallized for me the importance of standing like a rock by one’s principles. Coupled with my internal volcano of tenacity and my hunger for challenges, this gave my emerging personality multiple dimensions. I would no longer stand with my head bowed when injustice slapped me in the face. I would not take indignities lying down. I would not shy away from taking someone on when they threw down the gauntlet to me. In the coming years, it would be one or more of this triad of personality traits that would come to the fore when it came to life decisions or whenever I found myself at a crossroads.

Dr. Ajaikumar has always stood for what he believes in and has had a tactful, problem solving approach to every hurdle that has stood between him and his goals. His book reflects the strength he’s had to gather to face every hurdle that has been thrown at him.

Read more about him and his experiences in his book, Excellence Has No Borders.

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