Saturday, December 31, 2011

Lokpal: Civil society is as much at crossroad as the government

Couple of months back I posted my thoughts about the need for Anna and the team to do some soul searching considering the increasing tensions that were evident and out there in the media for us to absorb. The fears that i had at that time didn't prove too off the mark looking at the response that the movement received this time.

Anna Hazare and his team did a wonderful job in bringing the issue of corruption to national consciousness. Considering the various layers and layers of issues and important questions that lie in each clause at a technical level, it is critical that the bill is debated thoroughly before it sees the light of the day. The debates in the Parliament undoubtedly were fine exhibition of understanding of legislation and political rhetoric. A learning experience for me for sure.

As much as it will be important to understand in what form Congress brings the bill back to Lok Sabha, it will be critical to understand what does Anna do to build the pressure for a strong Lok Pal. When i state thus, i am not referring to Anna as the person who should be responsible for creating pressure but as someone who has already taken the lead and did manage to capture the imagination of people at large. Its not his agenda alone but a national cause for which he waged the battle.

To understand the sudden silence in December's fast, it may help to do a kind of referendum (on its own approach) that the group claimed to do in Chandni Chowk to understand what really went wrong. Why weren't people enthusiastic any more. And the more difficult question is how do we enthuse people now?

Just one day prior to the proposed fast i.e on 26th of Dec, law minister- Salman Khurshid was asked by Barkha Dutta about what he felt about the over 1 lakh people who had signed the online petition towards "jail bharo" call  His response was 'signing online and actually going to jail are completely different aspects. We will see how many actually do that.'  As a politician it is not surprising that their sense of pulse of people will be better than people outside or else why will they be elected representatives but that surely should also encourage us as citizens to understand where did the civil society lose out?

In a very interesting turn, Medha Patkar who was as vocal as anyone can be in the August'11 fast, in one of the talk shows held just the day the bill was being debated in Rajya Sabha states that they should not insist on the timeline now that the debate is being done rigorously. This again is a shift from the earlier stand of we have to get the bill passed in the winter session.

Thus it seems that every aspect of argument or stand that one is taking in the passing of this historic bill, there are strong arguments from either side and a loud claim of one section knowing it all is highly misplaced at least and a grave error at maximum. Thus if someone says that the panel should have representation from various sections, another section of society says why should there be quota in something like LokPal which should be an unbiased body. Similarly Pratap Bhanu Mehta- head of center for civil society made a compelling case in front of Standing Committee on why the PM should not be part of Lok Pal and how that argument was fairly strong. Thus if each aspect of this bill along with the method of public pressure is so contentious, it is anyone's guess on what will work and what won't.

Thus strategizing for Anna is going to be very difficult going ahead since one it would call for him to eat some of the words that he committed and secondly each decision would be fraught with greatest uncertainty on how the civil society will actually take it and whether it would support it.

It has to be principally understood that in a political domain, one's powers emerge from the support base that we are able to gather and not our belief or conviction alone. If the latter doesn't result in the former, the person will be as weak or strong as any other person walking on the street.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The essential flame

A brilliant article by Aung San Suu Kyi examining the role of power and passion in shaping nations.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Mujhko bhi tarkeeb sikha yar julahe

A wonderful poem by Gulzar sahab where he uses the analogy of a weaver who is able to handle his tender threads so deftly despite those threads giving way at times.  How the end work doesn't give any indication of those broken joints as against his efforts at trying to maintain a single relationship which appears full of strains and joints.

मुझको भी तरकीब सिखा यार जुलाहे

अकसर तुझको देखा है कि ताना बुनते
जब कोइ तागा टुट गया या खत्म हुआ
फिर से बांध के
और सिरा कोई जोड़ के उसमे
आगे बुनने लगते हो
तेरे इस ताने में लेकिन
इक भी गांठ गिराह बुन्तर की
देख नहीं सकता कोई

मैनें तो ईक बार बुना था एक ही रिश्ता
लेकिन उसकी सारी गिराहे
साफ नजर आती हैं मेरे यार जुलाहे

Friday, November 4, 2011

Need for governance practices for civil society organization

A good article by Kiran Karnik on the need for good governance mechanisms for civil society organizations.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Team Anna's troubles

I expressed my thoughts on the challenges for Anna Hazare's team in my post yesterday.

The editorial today in Indian Express from Shekhar Gupta is a scathing expression of the point  of trying to hold a sky high moral ground whose foundations are not totally rock solid.  Though i find him biased on a lot of matters otherwise, in this section I feel the questions raised do hold water.

Whatever is happening is not good at all for the cause by any standards.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Anna needs to call a 'Chintan Shibir'

Some of the developments in Anna Hazare team's efforts drive me to feel that there are clear causes for concern.

Discussions have subsided. Facebook updates have waned away. Discussions about the bill are not happening.No fervent demonstrations etc happening.Routine life has cast its own net and we are back to our respective domains. Steve Jobs' death was the latest event that drew the sentiments of the youth last time.

Those who were involved in the movement from the very beginning are continuing to raise voices. The hope was in their voice. The hope will continue to lie in their efforts. Rest will follow as and when through discussions or through efforts.

What has happened with Team Anna in the past few weeks is actually worth note as it provides vital insights into some cracks in its management.

Few facts:

1. Despite the fact that Govt stated its intention to bring the bill into the parliament in the winter session, three members of the team decided to use Hissar poll to pressurise the government. The idea was to put political pressure even though there were no 'clean' candidate in other parties and in the absence of 'Right to Recall' the members voiced that the new people would be ousted in case they also acted in the lines of Congress.

Thus though they say they are not going to form a political party, they are trying to influence electoral results by direct action.

What drove the people to vote for Bishnoi from BJP is anybody's guess. Kejriwal feels its their victory while BJP members and political analysts think otherwise.

2. Factions are seen within the party as two of the senior members left the group stating above as the reason. They found the act to be an act of impatience and not in line with their opinion.  The expression of the members even revealed that they never agreed to support it in this form.

3. Prashant Bhushan- the senior lawyer within the group made certain comments in the public about his views on Kashmir (a subject unrelated to corruption) leading to rowdy reaction from some unknown group. Anna Hazare expressed that he didn't agree to both the content of the speech and also the fact that he spoke on this issue in public without group consent.

4. Arvind Kejriwal also faced a backlash when one of the Congress supporters hurled a shoe at him. He commented on the media stating that they are even willing to face bullets. Anna Hazare stood behind his words stating that such things do happen but won't deter the group.

5. Kiran Bedi is being questioned on why she chooses to claim the entire fare for her travels while she has been awarded rebate by GoI on Air India tickets.

6. In the debates shown in certain news channel, it is seen that senior members within the team are not in sync with the method and controls that are governing the progression of the movement.

7. The group members continue to dodge the question on whether they would ever form a political party. The huge gap one creates when one says- i don't want to enter politics but i want to clean it is one of the most counter intuitive statements one can make.


1. Carrying the Cross:Team Anna comprises of people of impeccable integrity who have spent decades in public life doing remarkable work through the years.  Through the aspersions they have cast on the politicians, they have kind of worn a halo of morality around their head. This kind of positioning once taken, makes one extremely vulnerable to attacks as well. In one way the group has invited the kind of probity thats happening towards their own selves.
 Does this kind of a situation have the potential of denting the image of the party in any form?

2. Intent of Institution Building is missing- 'Team Anna' which got formed as a team while it became a movement when people showed their faith in them and that was driven by the hyper intensive media coverage. It is to be noted that the members within the team are not really known for institution building. They are strong individualistic players. Would someone like Tata or Deepak Parekh given a different structure to the way the group is progressing?Would the present members also want to be tied to a certain order in which they speak and express themselves in public? The fact that people are expressing views about various things and expressing their disagreement with each other is a sign that they are not as prepared as any political party is generally seen to be with clear guidelines on who is authorised to express on what aspects? The challenges are two fold- first the journey towards routing out corruption doesn't end with the passing of Lokpal bill. In fact it may begin decisively from there onwards. What is the group doing for the long haul if at all? People like Kejriwal have a lot of demands like a lot of other activists in public life but is there an organized effort required to attain it or can it be done in an adhoc manner the way it has progressed so far? 
Secondly,  an institution which has clearly laid down role for its members to work towards can really draw upon their energies in the most efficient way possible. Wonder what Rajinder Singh (who left the group) would contribute considering his perspective towards corruption is driven by the the deep angst he has towards pollution of our splendid rivers.

3. The dangers of impatience: It is evident that within this group people like Arvind Kejriwal are having far less patience than others. The danger with impatience is that it can lead to over enthusiastic steps and in the worse case, draw the wrath of those who feel patience is a virtue. (Giving a reason that the bill is pending since 60s is incorrect since several small steps have been taken in that direction but with little impact.) This is particularly important when one is engaging with the highest offices in the country. The kind of impatience seen also leads one to uncomfortable questions since one has not thought well enough before acting. For example what does the group do in UP elections where probably all the parties are having deep corruption records like BSP, SP etc.

Its the same impatience which if not challenged for long can also lead to hubris as it happened when several civil society leaders expressed their dissent on not factoring in their views and only trying to push the singular agenda of Jan Lokpal. This is another reason the group is finding itself isolated by some other very well meaning people.

One of the members who left even stated that this is not the kind of example that we should leave in front of the youth.

My personal opinion is that, one of the key qualities that the group needs to develop is the ability to build consensus through patient hearing and persuasion. Something that people like Patel, Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr were known for. A national level leader can't give knee jerk reactions or conduct oneself out of bravado alone.

4. The difficulty of holding together a very high powered group of leaders: Considering the stature of the people in this 'team' (i hate to constantly call it team though), it is very likely that all these people will have their own opinion on different salient issues of our country. While a political party needs to have coherent and articulate policies around these issues where all members have to concur when they talk to the media. And this takes time sometimes even in years. They can debate endlessly and thrash it out but once they are out there, there can't be dissonance. The simple mind listening to them doesn't care what their views our as much as he would want to see them speak in sync. In fact this was what energized people more than anything else. Educated people expressed that they don't know whats there in the bill but the fact that they are fighting for it is good enough. A kind of outsourcing of thinking happened. But if the unit you outsource your thinking to, shows signs of dissonance, it can lead to annoyance.

The effort towards holding the group together has not been put at all. Since corruption is a multi layered problem, questions can be raised on any aspect say from policy on electoral financing, to public distribution system to regulation of NREGA. What mechanism should the group have to ensure that it doesn't keep on stepping on each other's shoes from time to time while responding to each.

The possible way ahead

Thus, from the way the things have progressed, it appears that the group needs a 'Chintan Shibir' or a self reflection forum to put its own house in order. Understand the kind of organized effort it needs to develop its strength from within. In the absence of that, attacks- both through ideas and physically can cause immense damage thereby leading to weakening of the public image of the group because for such an agenda, its the image that matters more than anything else to see the light of the day.

Anna Hazare has taken immense efforts to reach this level. Further serious soul searching and self critique will help in consolidating the efforts for the times ahead.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Taking science to masses

Arvind Gupta is no less than a magician. In a world where the price of toys are shooting out of the roof, here comes an engineer having the capacity to make science enjoyable by making scientists out of municipal school kids.

Barefoot College talk by Bunker Roy.

A wonderful talk by Bunker Roy on empowerment of village folks through the concept of barefoot college. Great talk. Hats off to these people who see villagers as equals and have the grit to enhance the quality of their lives. It calls for Himalayan conviction and self belief.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mallya's values are so clear

Vijay Mallya has all the wealth for sustaining his great 'image' through his Kingfisher calender but wonders what to do when it comes to paying salaries to the employees of Kingfisher airlines who are facing 'red' now.

Check out these two contrasting information pieces that appeared in the span of 5 days

Kingfisher says capital crunch hurting salary payments


The hunt for Kingfisher calender 2012 is back

Inviting a la wall street protests ?

Shameless to say the least.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The man behind Apple is no more

Steve Jobs passed away yesterday. I have never used any of his inventions yet but I still can revere the amazing genius that he actually was. He was able to see value in the field of technology specifically computers in 60s way before most of us even knew anything about it. His amazing journey and the kind of digital products that he came up with captured the imagination of people throughout the world. A true leader he was!

The number of messages that we see post his death indicate the influence that he had on this specific age group of people. Particularly the upmarket professionals and students who are in their 20s and 30s now.

The emotive value of his loss is testimony to the fact that the more expansive a life one leads, the deeper the loss of that person is sensed once he/she leaves.

He will surely continue to inspire several people in the years to come.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

ICT driven social entrepreneurship ventures

Report on some wonderful international efforts of social entrepreneurship using ICT to improve the lives of people.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Safar mein dhoop to hogi

सफ़र में धूप तो होगी जो चल सको तो चलो
सभी हैं भीड़ में तुम भी निकल सको तो चलो

इधर उधर कई मंज़िल हैं चल सको तो चलो
बने बनाये हैं साँचे जो ढल सको तो चलो

किसी के वास्ते राहें कहाँ बदलती हैं
तुम अपने आप को ख़ुद ही बदल सको तो चलो

यहाँ किसी को कोई रास्ता नहीं देता
मुझे गिराके अगर तुम सम्भल सको तो चलो

यही है ज़िन्दगी कुछ ख़्वाब चन्द उम्मीदें
इन्हीं खिलौनों से तुम भी बहल सको तो चलो

हर इक सफ़र को है महफ़ूस रास्तों की तलाश
हिफ़ाज़तों की रिवायत बदल सको तो चलो

कहीं नहीं कोई सूरज, धुआँ धुआँ है फ़िज़ा
ख़ुद अपने आप से बाहर निकल सको तो चलो

A poignant reflection of life by Nida Fazli

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Need for coaching

Loved this article by Dr Atul Gawande on the need for coaching even for experts. The article touches upon some salient questions like What is coaching? Why do expert sportsmen need coaching? Why would a surgeon with an experience of over 2000 surgeries need coaching?  What about musicians? And naturally the case gets established through these answers..

Worth a read for sure

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Orissa fights corruption through technology

Orissa is one of the most backward states in India in terms of socio economic indicators.

As the voice to fight corruption through Lokpal is raised from various quarters, there are initiatives being taken by certain states to fight corruption through systemic change by changing the work flow whereby the possibility of corruption itself is minimized.

One such initiative that is being launched in Orissa is a scheme for reducing child mortality and welfare of mothers. It is termed Mamata and is based on the idea of direct cash transfer to the right persons by minimizing the possibility of the discretion of the middle men to swindle the money midway. The scheme would involve creation of bank accounts (enabled by internet) for the beneficiaries and then a certain sum of money would be directly transferred to the account which would be aimed at benefitting the lady and the expected child towards a healthy future.
There is a risk of not using the money for which the government is giving it out and it can actually be dealt with by giving vouchers instead. There are international studies and experiments done to understand the dynamics of cash transfer and its impact on the problem to which it is being directed.

The good part about the inclination of the state government (Biju Janata Dal) to ensure its sound implementation is the fact that Orissa is heading for its Panchayat polls in 2012. Thus as the country heads in a direction where sound politics gets neatly intertwined with good governance, it surely portends a good future.

As they say it, CSR works best when the business interest of the corporate entity is aligned to the cause that it espouses. Otherwise, it ends up being a green wash at best.

Using technology to fight corruption looks like an easier bet than trying to use ways of changing ossified minds who cannot see anything beyond their own petty interest.

I am optimistic of the UID project- Aadhaar exactly for the above reasons.

Friday, September 9, 2011

In search of an economic order that maximises welfare

Jeffrey Sachs tries to take a considered view on whats going wrong with the present economic order.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Interview of Loksatta chief

Nice interview of Jaiprakash Narayanan on the corruption and political instability in Andhra.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The directionless war against terrorism

I came across this article that appeared in NY Times on the futility of the rationale of using terror over an unlimited period to check terrorism.

There have been several advocates of how the entire arrogant and 'me the saviour of the world' attitude is rife with contradictions and deep limitations.

Wendell Berry in a way predicted this state when he expressed his discontent on the National Security Strategy of Bush way back in 2002 through this piece of thought. Another one is articulated in thoughts in the presence of fear.

Think advocates of peace like Mahatma Gandhi and several others will continue to live as we continue to suppress their ideas day in and day out.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Zindagi roz hamari class leti hai

A beautiful commerical from Britannia but aptly covers the idea of 'School of Life'

Monday, August 29, 2011

Lovely poem by Dharmavir Bharti

Ravi Shankar Prasad from BJP quoted the first stanza of this poem- Munadi in the Parliament session of 27th Aug. This poem was written during the JP Movement by Dharmavir Bharti.

The MP wanted to draw the parallels of this poem with the existing movement lead by Anna Hazare

Time to say less and understand more

There is so much to be understood about Anna's movement against corruption. A remarkably chequered movement it has been but has attained a great end so far in terms of the Parliament passing a unanimous resolution in favour of the demands.

One of the common though highly simplistic understanding as voiced by the actor Om Puri but commonly found amongst professionals in India is that all politicians are able to buy votes through notes and liquor. The actor in a demeaning way ever termed the politicians as 'ganwar;. There are clear loop holes in the way our law and order has not been able to subvert such realities but to say that thats how political leaders capture the imagination of people in the country is naive to say the least.

Winning elections in this country is a really really tough mental game and few really capture the complexity of what it takes to jump into this foray. 

Sharad Yadav one of the leaders who has risen from student level politics gave a befitting response to this perspective when he said

“Without the wisdom of Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi,” he said, people like him would not have been allowed to bring even their cattle to graze in Delhi. “This House,” he said, “is the only place, where you can see the face of the entire nation”, where Dalits can be seen as equals and where names like “Ghurau Ram, Garib Ram and Pakaodi Lal” walk around as MPs. It is only thanks to Gandhi and his freedom movement that today a Pakaodi Lal can come here, he said. A Pakaodi Lal in your Lok Sabha? Does that answer Om Puri’s description of a place filled with ganwaars? And if so, does that make you feel embarrassed? Mahatma Gandhi would have only been proud.

One can image that if such a versatile actor who has attained national fame can carry such views and feel it fine to vocalize it as if its a shooting which is going on, what can we infer about the views of people at large. The other funny part is that a politician will not want to talk about technicalities of acting but an acting would be 100% sure about the technicalities of what politics is!!! At times its a funny arrogance with which we tend to interpret our worlds.

Politics is very less understood as its formal study generally ends with a a 100 page book read last time in grade 10th.  Rest it left for media to teach since there are few who really tend to venture into it profesionally. Time for Anna like movement to serve wake up calls for educated and uneducated alike. Indian democracy has a lot to attain.  We all need to grow up.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Dismal performance of aspiring teachers

National Council of Teacher education at the directive of Ministry of HRD conducted a national wide Teacher eligibility test that is going to be mandatory for any teacher wanting to join a government or a private school going ahead. The results of this test which was conducted this year through CBSE in June this year was declared last week. To say the least, the findings are highly discouraging. Amongst the over 7.15 lakh candidates who gave that test, barely 14% were able to get through.

At the outset, we need to laud the government for hitting the problem at the right end by revealing to itself and everyone around, the yawning gap of quality of teachers. It also throws up a lot of questions in parallel.

With the Right to Education getting included as a Fundamental Right, if we don’t have teachers to translate that legitimate right into a reality then what does it leave us to feel elated about.  RTE opens up a need for 6.5 lakh teachers for its successful implementation. And it is just one of the several complex requirements that it gives way to. Teacher quality is one of the fundamental pre-requisites for ensuring that a school delivers. Thus if this Act has to see the light of the day in both letter and spirit, it would require a systemic view to the problems that plague our education system- starting with the issue of addressing the challenge of getting teachers who can deliver followed with aspects of resources, enrolment, reducing drop-outs, incentives, public private partnership etc.

Secondly, we need to have requisite checks and balances to evaluate the effectiveness of the teacher training programs. A society which is transforming gradually into a knowledge centric economy has to understand these aspects from the very core. This becomes all the more important in an environment where unlike Finland and Singapore, teaching as a profession (particularly in primary and secondary levels) in India doesn’t attract huge number of bright minds. And thus the nature of intervention and its currency with regards to changing times has to factor in this reality.

Thirdly, this test was not meant for the existing teachers who are already on the job so we can’t say how they would have fared. But still we can rationally presume that there may be a significant number of teachers who would have not fit the bill. If teachers who are not fit to qualify such an exam are assessing students and their learning, what is the credibility of those assessments? How many a tender minds must they be labeling incorrectly to thwart their learning journey for long..

Fourthly, on one hand there is our growing economy with its ever increasing need for skilled people and on the supply side at the farthest end we have teachers who are not in a position to teach children.  Does that imply that more and more students would end up in either being under-employed with no idea of what their strengths are or else seek short term vocational courses to atleast be fit enough to earn their bread and butter. Last year Aspiring minds managed to hog front page news by coming up with the startling finding that just 18% of our tech students are fit for IT jobs.

Another problem that this result gives way is the fact that it further convolutes the debate on whether the system is weak or is it that we don’t have the right teachers to work within the system which may or may not be really so weak.

The only silver lining to this outcome is probably the fact that it should encourage our institutes and aspiring teachers to introspect and try harder going ahead so that they are able to shoulder the responsibility which the entire country is expecting them to do today.  Build a truly powerful nation. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

India's growth story

The elephant that became a tiger-  A well researched and thoughtful paper on India's growth story since it embraced liberalization in 1991.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The problem with NREGA

An important perspective by Ila Pattnaik on why NREGA is bound to perpetuate the structural nature of unemployment in India.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Whats your Mt Everest?

I happened to listen to the talk from Apa Sherpa organized by NHRDN Mumbai and two other Sherpas who have in a way conquered Mt Everest by cracking the enigma of scaling its awe inspiring altitude not just once but multiple times. Apa has been successful in scaling Mt Everest 21 times. I am as far removed from mountaineering as he might be from probably what I am into. But its not so difficult for me to imagine what kind of an adventure it must be.  Sherpas are basically natives of the mountains who have braved their lives to scale the Everest and now they share their knowledge and efforts with people who want to realize similar dreams. In a way they are leaders amidst the mountains.

His story is about someone who is humility personified and comes from a very struggling background. He grew up amidst difficulties and drew his strength from the experiences that he encountered as a result of those difficulties.

Lets look at what Apa Sherpa is not? He is not flamboyant, he is not verbose, he is diminutive, he maintains a low profile and if you meet him along the road, you won’t find any halo over his head. Yet what makes him a prolific leader is worth reflection.

Few things that struck me about Apa Sherpa:

1.       His leadership is about DOING:  He is not a great story teller who will talk to you about metaphors drawing Sun Tzu type analogies between war and business or mountaineering and business. He has never dived into the topic of business parallels to quote instances from the industry.He has done what is considered one of the most difficult feats and everyone reveres him for that. One can’t read a book to scale up the mountains. There is no book that can equip one to the feeling that one can get on base camp 4 where they say temperatures go as low as minus 40 degrees celcius with wind velocity close to 200km/hr.

If you are on the mountains and you need to know where you have to go, just listen to him.

He is going to be your leader there.

2.       When we do something multiple times, we make it appear even simpler:  You scale a danger once and you are somebody to listen to and you make a habit of scaling up dangers and you become an expert at it for anyone to approach you. Thus when leaders repeat their performance, it doesn’t translate into monotony because in those multiple experiences they are proving that it may not probably be as difficult as you think it is.

Also when he was  asked about whether he also finds mountaineering monotonous after having done it so many times, his answer was- if you are monotonous in your cubicles come to the mountains for trekking. It seems that he is naturally aligned to what he is doing. The motivation is completely intrinsic. His message is his life as Gandhiji famously remarked.

3.       A child of hardships:  Apa lost his father at a tender age of 12 and then he had to support his family for a living. He had to drop off from school and become a porter which made him carry more weight than his own body weight. He laughingly states that probably that may have hampered his height since he appears not more than 5 ft few inches. He struggled his way after that and only after a few years the same capacity to carry more weight than his body along the heights became a vital quality which is a prerequisite of a Sherpa. Thus when we try something unique in the middle of difficulties, it can become one of greatest differentiating strengths of ours. We should try to listen to the lessons of difficulties with patience.

4.       Contextual nature of leadership- As outlined above, Apa’s leadership is what it takes to be a leader in those terrains. It is different from a business or political leadership. He is driven by feelings and connects to people along their aspirations. He has some very prolific young people from Asia Trekking company who deeply respect his greatness and value that he brings to the lives of people for whom scaling Mt Everest matters a lot. He doesn’t appear to be a person who would get ruffled up quickly and that is such a vital trait when they are meeting trekkers from various parts of the world who may have risked a lot in their aspiration to scale up the mountain. Thus leadership qualities vary as per the demands of the situation in which you are required to lead.  There is no fixed template for it. Probably that’s what makes it such an enigma.

We salute you Apa for your attainments and probably your persona that those attainments have given shape to. 

Guess we all in our own domains of work can figure out models of excellence in our conduct and become shining examples like Apa. His story left me to think about ‘What was my Mt Everest’. Do you know yours?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ask an unscripted question

Harvard Medical School commencement speech of Atul Gawande. Worth a read

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The IMF chief post

Here is a strong argument by Swaminathan Aiyer on why the post of IMF chief should be going to a technocrat rather than to a politician. Lagarde, the Finance Minister of France is leading the race at present. Considering the fragile state of many of the economies in the European Union, it is highly likely that the decisions made by this person might get influenced keeping her essential nature of a 'politician' in view.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Need for a new model for growth

Can't agree more with these thoughts. The author talks about the fundamental fallacy about trying to replicate the western intensive capitalistic model of so called 'growth' to economies like India and China which by their sheer strength of population base can catalyze the process of environment degradation.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The difficulty of being good

Dr Jayprakash Narayanan was manhandled yesterday in AP Assembly over the Telengana issue by MLAs from another party.

He has the wherewithal to state his opinion on the reason for not wanting the formation of Telengana despite the flood of opinion in the contrarian direction. A former distinguished bureaucrat and brilliant demagogue who has given opportunity to young people to join his party and provided them tickets to contest elections purely on the basis of merit. He is one of the rarest of the rare people in the country who has wanted to do something about Indian political scene and managed to make headway by winning a seat in the AP assembly elections in a context dominated by rowdy and milieu of corrupt politicians. There are plenty who have wanted but few who could actually prove their tenacity. Hats off to this person.

There is something terribly wrong about our democracy and if it doesn't get the requisite interest from people at large, we will continue to go on the downslide. Its manifestations are all over the press in the form of scams that are getting unravelled on a regular basis. Our insitutions meant to protect democracy are much sluggish than the people who know how to break laws. This can also be seen from the number of RTI activists who have given up their lives for wanting to make the government more accountable. Its so terrible.

Loksatta Party which he heads still will take years to mature as a sound political group for a variety of reasons but his efforts, commitment for a clean political culture and leadership is all in front of us. We need to figure out if we can also participate in some form and may be support him as well.

Friday, January 28, 2011