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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Life in Term IV…

It was almost a year ago, that some starry-eyed juniors watched jealously as their seniors made merry, while they themselves slogged it out in the first year of their rigorous MBA course. They dreamt of living a blissful life with fewer classes, more chilled out profs, and loads of juniors flocking around them for those elusive bits of gyaan.


Today, those same starry-eyed folks are bleary-eyed seniors watching jealously as their juniors make merry, while they themselves slog it out in the second year of their rigorous MBA course. They dream of living a blissful life with fewer classes, more chilled out profs, and no juniors flocking around for scraps of gyaan.


Now, you might want to sagaciously add that ‘The grass is greener on the other side’ but I’d warn you against it. After all, we might be bleary-eyed seniors, but we’re not cows hankering after green grass. (On a personal note, I’m not a junkie who is looking for grass of the other kind either… ahem!)


If one had truckloads of work in previous terms, now it has got magnified to mountain loads. What with subjects like Managerial Ethics and Global Business Turnaround.


In fact, I still feel that we don’t need tutoring in ethics. If I’m already ethical, the course won’t be of much help, and if I’m willing to stretch my integrity like a rubber band, well, no prof who is advocating ‘the greater good of the greater number’ is going to be useful to me. (Unless of course, I’m the kind who will guffaw at the naivety of the poor, ethical morons.)


As far as Global Turnaround goes, I had walked into the class with visions of me stepping out of a black Mercedes, immaculately clad in an Armani suit, sporting Gucci glasses, and talking incessantly on my Vertu, into a board room. And there, some of my minions – all these senior vice-presidents and global heads of operations fellows would listen in rapt attention while I narrated my strategy to get companies like GM and Ford back on track and the world out of the recession.


Alas! That was to remain a fond dream as I slogged it out with reading lengthy articles on ‘urban blight’ and making assignments on ‘revitalizing Jamshedpur.’ Aargh!!


Perhaps, the administrators included a course on Indian Philosophy and Leadership Excellence (IPLE) just to counter the violent thoughts conjured by some of the other courses. Well, we’re studying the Holy Geeta, some parts of the ancient scriptures, and also how despite his promsicuity early on, Lord Krishna was a transformational leader. So what, if he resorted to a few underhanded tactics to win the Mahabharata war? After all, ‘Winning is not everything, it is the only thing!’ Also, we read about how Lord Ram refused to take his wife’s word on her chastity, but is still to be revered as a great leader of men (and monkeys? :O).


Another character that I rather object to is Mahatma Gandhi. I might be ruffling a few feathers by saying so, but I think we give too much credit to that one man for our independence. He may have been a major contributor, but ‘Father of the Nation’? Oh, please!! Of course, of course. He was leading the nation to victory over the Brits, and so what if he neglected his own family, right? After all, ‘the greater good of the greater number’… BAH!


Anyway, I think I shall leave you to read my ramblings and comment (hopefully) while I study the Geeta for a test tonight.


Scriber's Web said...

It is so interesting that you are studying Geeta in your course.

I so agree with you about Rama. There is a famous gujju song about Rama and how he treated Sita. It gives me goosebumps!

I also agree about Gandhi. He was a good leader. But his personal life...

BTW... Did you know that my sister designed costumes for the movie Gandhi my father? I think that is the name of the movie. She got a filmfare award for it. How cool is that? It is kinda ironic because my grandfather went to jail for the Gandhi movement. Life is strange...

B said...

Oh Messiah of Useless Gandhi-ness(or 'Giri'?)-stricken souls(I have left behind all my knowledge of the language as I write this, kindly excuse), kindly advice your could-be future junior, who might also flock around for scraps of gyaan, as to how.... how it is that you have made it to where a lower mortal like her,as a daily ritual,dreams of being. Show mercy, Sire! :)

All the best for the Gita test. Happy learning! :)

Sumit said...

@Scriber... I'm so glad that you agree with me, because to many folks, these thoughts do sound blasphemous.

Awesome to know that piece of trivia about Ms. Sujata Sharma. :) So, creativity is in the genes, eh? And yeah, the other bit is ironic for sure.

@Anu... Would-be and could-be juniors are always welcome for gyaan. :D If I can, I'll be more than glad to help. Ask away! :)

And yeah, thanks for the wishes; I can do with some luck in tests. said...

well i think i do agree wid u... its kinda strange how we overrate ppl here!!!

numerounity said...

Cool...reminded me of my good ol MBA days..even we use to see our seniors and then our juniors and then carp!!! Hee hee..MBA was fun in the chennai sun!

BTW i too hated MG in my MBA days but now it does not matter.

Saurabh said...

Phew... so much of blaspehemy (political & religious) in one post ;)

I always thought HR guys were these typical politically correct humble piece of evangelism, who would go to any length to justify a course like ethics in an MBA programme. Seems like, I've got to learn a lot about the real world.

And for heaven's sake, don't drag the "Father" of the Nation into this!

But all said and done, I loved ur post, as always !

Anonymous said...

You have the BG as part of your curriculum!?! I am amazed..& don't worry. I share your heretic thoughts on Shri Ramji & Shri Krishnaji(:))

Now Gandhi I still admire..I mean common..Only a clotheshorse like me can acknowledge the greatness of a man who wore what he did!!!

Roshmi Sinha said...

A nice read... as usual!

P.S. Our mythology and scriptures are full of anecdotes/examples/metaphors... and the "Mahabharata" and the "Ramayana" are no different.

These are still not understood very well... and debates and discussions are raging... to this day.

Lord Krishna was a transformational leader... definitely! He was also the greatest Guru, teacher, guide, friend, philosopher, mentor.....

Lord Krishna has also said that the "Mahabharata" is the greatest book ever... echos of it can be found in events down the ages... but what is not there in this book... is not found anywhere.

An event described in the "Mahabharata"..."Draupadi's vastraharan"... is an event... perhaps. It is also an example or even a metaphor. On the "decadence" of society, on the norms of culture and the decadence of "dharma". "Dharma" is is not "religion" as we understand today. It is "rightousness".

If people deviate from "dharma"... what eventually happens or what their failing to do their "dharma" leads to... is shown very well through this one event/metaphor.

As Lord Krishna too mentions... in the "Bhagavad Gita". A society which stood by silently and simply watched, did not react nor protested... on such a shameful event... the "vastrahaaran" of Draupadi... on the "apamaan" of the Queen of Hastinapur, the daughter of King Drupad... an extraordinary woman, a major and important personality in her own right... what will such a society do when ordinary people... including ordinary women are subjected to ill treatment, injustice and torture.

It will shatter a society and give rise to all kinds of ills.

Therefore, Lord Krishna advises Arjun and all of us... to do our "duty"... to uphold "dharma"... without thinking or worrying about the "result" or the "aftermath".... failing which we are doomed forever. We should not blame "external" factors for the failure or the decadence of society... it happens due to our actions... only.

"Karmanyeva adhikaraste ma phaleshu kadachana Ma karmaphalahetur bhurma te sangostvakarmani."

Meaning: "Thy business is with the action only, never with its fruits; so let not the fruits of action be thy motive, nor be thou to inaction attached." The Bhagavad Gita: Chapter II-47. In short: "Do your Duty and Leave the Rest to God."

Hinduism was never meant to be a religion... the word "religion" never existed.

It was "sanatana dharma"... "sanatana" means "ancient" and "dharma" is "rightousness"...

It was an assimilation of the accumulated knowledge of the ancients over time. What the western world claims to have "discovered" was already known. e.g., the Laws of gravity... supposedly "discovered" by Newton. It was already known to the ancients and had been proved as well... by Aryabhatta, etc.

Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism... are not really new religions. These great men... came at all ages, to guide back this ancient faith... whenever it strayed from its path. Politics, Commerce and economic considerations coupled with the quest for power has changed everything... sadly!

Roshmi Sinha said...

Even our other great epic the "Ramayana" is still not understood very well... to this day.

e.g., Ravana is usually shown with 10 heads. But, there are scholars who say: that he did not have 10 heads but 10 kingdoms and each kingdom was represented by a different crown.

While others say: Ravana was very well versed in the 4 vedas and the 6 upanishads... so, he was thought to be equivalent to 10 scholars.

Some say he was Sita's father....

Also, "Jambavan" is now-a-days depicted as a bear. But he was not a bear. "Jamba" is a type of fruit... and probably it was found in some areas or islands which this character inhabited... hence he is called "Jambavan".

Some scholars also suggest that he was perhaps the first man, primitive man... on earth.

Discussions are still raging even as I write this.

Similarly, what is depicted as "monkeys"... is not "monkeys" as we understand them today. They too perhaps were a group of ancient/primitive men... whose skull structure resembled the great apes.

P.P.S. I second you re: "Mahatma" Gandhi though... completely.

He was a "creation" of the British and other "establishment" forces of the day. To counter any other leader emerging and challenging the Raj.

A poor student, a failed lawyer, and a man of considerable inferiority complex was turned into a "saintly" figure by these forces... to accomplish their hidden agenda.

BrownPhantom said...

In short, I agree that the course structure need to be more practical and relevant :).
Grass and weeds, not for the starry-eyed MBAs :).

Anonymous said...

dudes i completely agree with you in case of the Mahatma i think in his quest to make India a free country he forgot his family and thats the sacrifice he gave.....and abt MBA course contents...i want you to read my latest post and reflect on it...

Hope said...

I've been a silent reader of your blogs till now, and I must say that I envy your writing skills.
But, this post, I couldn't stop from putting in my trash of thoughts. Blame it on the content!!

I think we look at Mahabharata and Ramayana in the wrong perspective. If you forget the characters/story as reality/myth and God/humans at a side, and take these just as epics and work of fiction, then you can learn much more from them.

I think these epics were written to put fwd the learnings and ideal characteristics of a human...for future generations to learn and follow. You can say, they were text books, made in a story-book format, where the knowledge is how you can do things further. How you can solve problems and face complex situations which lie ahead in your life. They agree on the fact that no one can be taught ethics. They are not meant for that either. They are there to guide you when you find yourself at cross roads of ethics and work rules (called Dharma).
They are case studies which are taught to build up/enhance/shape-up your decision power for future use.
In a nut-shell, it's all about perspective and our attitude towards anything that changes how it looks, and what we learn from it.

Sumit said...

@Sugandha... thanks for agreeing :)

@Ekta... :) However much I may crib, these days are surely fun! :D

@Saurabh... lol! I'm glad that you stand corrected about HR guys. And ok, I'll try and avoid controversies around Mr. Gandhi. :)

@Choco... Yes, we have the Geeta and even pieces of the Vedas as part of our course. And I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only blaspheme around. :D

@Roshmi... thank you so much for making the effort to explain a different view in so much detail. Your comments were enlightening to say the least.

@Prashant... :)

@Gautam... thanks! :) I'll check your post out.

@Swati... thanks! :) I'm not too great at writing actually. There are some really talented folks in my blogroll. Do check them out too. And yes, I do agree with what you say about the epics being case studies.

P.S. You just got your blog a new follower. :)

Kaddu said...

@ Roshmi: "We should not blame "external" factors for the failure or the decadence of society... it happens due to our actions... only."
Very well said! Infact, ur entire comment was just brilliant! Superb!