Sunday, November 23, 2008


‘Veritas Vos Liberagit’ goes the saying and it incidentally is the credo of my alma mater, the Mar Ivanios College, Trivandrum. It means “ knowledge/truth shall liberate”.

When more than 75% of the country are “bachas” as the young leader of one of the “oldest’ political parties claims, then the importance of knowledge cannot be understated. “Teach India” an initiative by TOI, a leading media group in the country has to be applauded for this reason. It is not an original idea, it was tried and tested successfully in the United States of America. In a nutshell, it requires graduates and others who are educationally qualified to volunteer a year or so for educating people who are outside the ambit of the educational system or need additional inputs to acquire it effectively. It certainly has my vote and I would urge anyone I know and care about to take a look at this project carefully.

No, TOI has not asked me to write this and has no business relationship with me other than that of a reader to a publicationJ

A decade back I was encouraged by Mr M.G.Parameswaran, who now heads FCB Ulka, to teach at the Somaiyah Institute of Management Studies and Research, since he felt that I was full of academic concepts and “teaching everyone around, their job” J. Professor Arya at the SIMSR found that I had a knack for it, given the full house I got every weekend, from the youngsters and the working managers. When finally, his Institute started showing up in the final rounds of strategy competitions, the word spread and I ended up teaching at SIES-Nerul, Vivekananda and later on, at N.L.Dalmia.

I must say that the stint helped me immensely in clearing up concepts I had learned and forgotten, at Management School. The initial years in any job/ career is more of taking photocopies, arranging coffee/ tea , making phone calls and running errands which does not require a post- graduation in management. In fact, the only concepts required are those in “Abnormal Psychology” which pertains to ego- defense mechanisms and ‘gang behaviour’, which is referred to in corporate circles as “team work”. (Henri Fayol and his “spirit de corps” is an unknown commodity!) Teaching helped me revisit these concepts and with the benefit of corporate experience, was able to validate and separate the chaff from the grain. Students too can question you and make you THINK about what you do. There is a freshness of perspective and honesty of intent, which is absent in an office. All in all, I learned as much and more, than I taught. The money was inconsequential and it meant weekends spent away from Bachanalian revels and socializing. It was however worth it because these kids have ended up becoming an extended family and after a decade, when I bump into them at corner room offices and in newspaper columns, there is a certain sense of pride which is comforting. Something, which no salary cheque or bonus can match.

I am enclosing a link which has a letter sent by the BMM batch of Vivekananda in 2000, when I was in the Middle East. It almost made me come back. I still read it once in a while to get my self-esteem back when it has taken a beating!!!

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