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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Books Read in 2011

Reading creates capacity for deep, linear concentration. That is one unintended positive outcome of the habit of reading. Books always touch man’s head and heart with a burning/soothing/boring sensation. I read books on cinema, consumer behaviour, leadership and culture having various overtones this year. They helped me to fight desperation, myopia and close-mindedness prevailing inside me; I have always tried to pay attention to theories that conflict with common perception, only if those theories are more driven by human behaviour than common stereotype assumptions. Books of great authors are the best tools to understand these theories.

"Rich people have small TVs and big libraries, and poor people have small libraries and big TVs." Quite an apt statement to start about reading tour of this year. I am enlisting the names of books read by me in 2011 with their background and my feedback. Ratings are highly personal.

My name is red by Orhan Pamuk - English - 8/10

Hitch 22 :- Christopher Hitchens - English- 8/10
Author’s intellectual trajectory over the life time

Among the Believers :- V. S. Naipaul - English- 8/10
He makes writing verse look so easy and publishes Journey that highlights the culture of few selected Islamic country.

Who moved my Cheese ? :- Spencer Johnson - English- 7.5/10
Motivational business fable about opportunities and life at work.

In custody :- Anita Desai - English- 6.5/10
Loss of Urdu language in India through the eyes of a dying poet.

Our Films Their Films :- Satyajit Ray - English- 8.5/10
A deep insight by an auteur about his films.

The man who knew Infinity:A Life of the Genius Ramanujan-: Robert Kanigel - English- 7/10
Biography of the Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan written with utmost details and articulation.

Something Like An Autobiography :- Akira Kurosawa - English- 8.5/10
It is a charming account of the legendary movie director's early life.

Predictably Irrational :- Dan Ariely - English- 8/10
A book written in the behavioural science field makes a rational person looking dumb.

Rinzai: Master of the Irrational :- Osho - English- 8/10
No comments to be made about Zen !

I Have A Dream :- Rashmi Bansal - English- 8/10
Inspiring Stories of the 25 social entrepreneurs from humble and diverse background.

Heart of Darkness :-  Joseph Conrad - English- 7.5/10
Unfathomable dark nature of human explored through the journey of the narrator

Winning by Jack Welch with Suzy Welch :- Jack Welch - English- 7.5/10
A comprehensive look on designing career path and taking decisions in the corporate world.

As French novelist Marcel Proust once said that the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. I hope to evolved as a Reader and to enjoy more books in the coming year. XIMB library here I come !

Thought of the Day- New year doesn't bring happiness but people do ! Enjoy 2012.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Development in a Trimester of rural management - 2

Continuing from the 1st part of the Development series in RM , I will move towards the 2nd part of the learning in the field of Rural Management.

Looking into mine MBA and engineering curriculum, I can easily conclude that it is heavily influenced by American model and lacks novelty. Despite of mine low academic orientation, I have not seen really good books from an Indian author. Most of the books are from western universities. Hence, there is dire need to dejargonise and accept superfluos nature of our education.

During this trimester of PGDM-RM (rural management) at XIMB, I asked this question again and again :- why one chooses any course or college ? Whether one prefers a brand or academic learning or mere placement records of the college for routing the career path.

Any college should have these aspects for growth : Creation of knowledge through research, Application of knowledge within the industry through commercializaion and Dissemination of knowledge through classroom lectures. I am glad that XIMB fairs a good mark in this.

There will never be a final crisis of capitalism unless there is an alternative.Similarly, until students see an alternative system in RM, the prevailing dilemma of development and management will prevail. But even this duality helps us in looking for designing an economy of well-being.

When there is a large chance of being educated in an increasingly homogenised economic/educational system, RM course provide a different overview. Here in 5 points what I learnt in 3 months:

1- We don’t tend to celebrate ‘empowerment’ because there is no glamour in it. We celebrate charity because it makes us feel good.

2- We can make people accountable by giving them ownership and concrete goals to achieve.

3- We need to listen to dissonance of the participatory of the system. It is as much true for Panchayat level to the MBA college level where stakeholders are students.

4- Excess of Knowledge and logic sometimes became anti actional in nature. It makes person cautious and should be used for planning only. This country has enough critics but only few selective solution providers.

5- India have large people with an entrepreneurial nature but they only need subsidized capacity building. It is quite paradox to 'charity driven and complex' development approaches practiced by the government.

While writing conclusion is not an easy task, I can only remember the opening lines of novel "The tale of two cities by Charles Dickens" in the times of recession and protests.

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way- in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the uperlative degree of comparison only."

Monday, December 5, 2011

Personal Reading History -1

"It is good to be curious because that is how one starts the journey of inquiry... into existence; but if one simply remains curious, then there will be no intensity in it. One can move from one curiosity to another — one will become a driftwood — from one wave to another wave, never getting anchored anywhere. Curiosity is good as a beginning, but then one has to become more passionate. One has to make life a quest, not only a curiosity." --- Osho

I am now searching the root of mine reading habits and how they have changed my behavior over the span of time. Even though I was attracted towards school books, I don't remember any interest in the reading at KG level. Only memory I have of reading, it is of nursery rhyme 'Johnny Johnny Yes Papa' in the classroom. I spent most of the time listening to the old songs of Kishore Kumar and Mahendra Kumar in the cassette player.

I had started reading Children stories in Hindi newspaper 'Dainik Jagran' initially in the childhood. I was reading stories and poems in the school books. Chamapak for toddlers, Balhans for folk and patriotic stories, Nandan with tales of kings and queens and Nanhe Samrat with its Murkhistan were made available for us by our parents. I was more fond of reading comics of various desi superheroes. But the summarized five page short summary of world famous novel in Nandan was my favourite of all. Suman Saurabh and Chandamama were also there but there stories were interesting but in the discrete form dispersed over various magazine issues. But the story of Vikram Betal and Ulysses left a deep impact on me for epic novels and drama.

This was the phase of my life when I was more interested in religious texts. I had finished reading of Ramcharitmanas and Ramayan till the age of 9 years. Then, I also read a lot of Gitapress books about the life of Srikrishna. By sheer chance only, I never had opportunity to read any Amar Chitra Katha. Also, I was taught various short stanzas of Rahim, Raskhan, Dinkar, Niraala and Kabir.

Now comes mine fanatical reading of comics portion. I was avid reader of Naagraj, Super Commando Dhruv, Tausi, Doga, Parmanu, Chacha Chaudary and Ram-Rahim. I never had any chance to read english comic strips like Archie or Calvin-Hobbes.

One more subject that drew my attention was history books. Since, there were no hundered of comics available for a fast reader like me at maternal grandmother's home, I was given history book of 10th, 12th and graduation. It has most powerful impact on my memory. I was sheer delighted by the concept of revolution that happened in France and Russia. The complex name of Rousseau and Voltaire became familiar for me. It was also win win solution for everybody as it kept me engaged for a long time and I was like enjoying the dive into the world of knowledge.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Ten Issues - 18

Harvard professor Larry Lessig is one of our foremost authorities on copyright issues, with a vision for reconciling creative freedom with marketplace competition.



1- The Indian state of Bihar has long been a byword for bad governance. It was however governed particularly badly between 1990 and 2005, and has since experienced something of a ‘governance miracle’. How can we account for the 1990–2005 deterioration? Through this working paper - State Incapacity by Design: Understanding the Bihar Story, we will understand that the low state capacity is often a political choice.

2- La Grande Revolution, Encore? A comparison between France of 1787 with present USA as both had financed an overseas war with borrowed money.

3- The War Dogma: This article appears in the July issue of Agenda/Infochange for the theme on the ‘Limits of Freedom’. An insight on Dantewada and Operation Green Hunt.

4- Playing fast and loose by Pratap Bhanu Mehta : A overview of tussle on Janlokpal Bill - A morally insidious vacuum in government. A self-proclaimed civil society displaying its own will to power. A media age where being off-balance gets you visibility. A public whose mood is punitive. An intellectual climate that peddles the politics of illusion.

5- A weakness born of bad intent by Siddharth Varadarajan: - The UPA government's unwillingness to act against the abuse of political and corporate power has created a vacuum which others are rushing to fill.

6- Do you want to be watched? - The new rules under the IT Act are an assault on our freedom. A report by Sunil Abraham who is the executive director of the Centre for Internet and Society.

7- "Tragedies darken when their victims refuse to understand the causes. Intellectual failure has thus been the principle deficit; which means the so-called men of intellect are to blame". Interview with Dr. Mobarak Haider, A political activist, scholar and renowned writer of English and Urdu.

8- Demystification of myths by Nadeem F. Paracha - In the last thirty years the number of people in Pakistan who pray regularly and attend collective prayers in mosques has risen three-fold. So have the number of mosques, madressas, Islamic evangelical organizations and religious programming on TV - and yet the rates of rape (including child rape), drug addiction, public humiliation of women has steadily maintained an upward trend.

9- Why dream borrowed dreams? - One of the most seductive myths that the Indian middle class and its elite believes in is that the 21st century is the Indian Century. A deep analysis of this myth by Shiv Visvanathan.

10- Disgust, Magical Thinking, and Morality : A short article on Morality and feeling of disgust.

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