” Nation Building – Duty of Every Citizen, Institution, and Enterprise ” – June 25, 2019.

          Sri Narendra Modi and his Ministers have assumed charge for the second time (for their second term) in a row after a massive mandate from the Citizens of India.

               The onus will now be on the  BJP Leadership team to show  (a) ‘sustainability’   in terms of development and programs announced/initiated during their first term ;  and  (b)  growth, jobs, and security to the citizens.

Sri Narendra Modi taking oath as PM, 2019.

PM  Modi has to a great extent succeeded in integrating development programs for the marginalised and downtrodden, placing their welfare as the central piece of his growth, sales, and marketing strategy during his first term. But there are Citizens – aspirational youth, educated and less educated plus work driven seniors – who look more for unintuitive variety of services for their work satisfaction and fulfillment. Here, I refer to those who are not tech savvy and remain mostly traditional but task oriented and inspired.

               The government has so far been successful in providing relief to those who did not have work and who remained mostly unproductive, affording them a free gift in essence.

               But to deliver the kind of economic and financial results that people of this new age mostly demand, the free gift must translate itself into a productive gift. It means that anyone and everyone getting free benefits need to be part of a productive activity at panchayat, taluk, village, town  and such levels where work is carried out contributing to nation building. There can no longer be any charity. This is the Leadership team’s first challenge.

              The second challenge is an offshoot of industrial  activity, (big, medium, small, micro). Every owner of every enterprise should feel obligated to be part of the nation building process beyond what everyone produces, and who/how many  each employs. This should be clearly stated in their vision/mission statement. It is like Corporate Social Responsibility, but one that is mandated and promoted aggressively with Government partnership.

               Say, a pharma Industry major establishing a  free hospital in four districts (one each in North, South, East and West ) ;  a hotel major establishing a  free food outlet in four identified districts ;  an apparel major establishing a free apparel branch/outlet in four identified districts …   The branches/outlets serve the needy community (based on individual economic parameters) free of charge, even while charging others for their services. “Needy”  by definition are not just the downtrodden or the marginalised sections but will constitute anyone whose needs for these services have not been fulfilled for lack of resources ;  available facilities now at a distance unable to be reached easily ;  and for those who lost the opportunity so far but seek some relief from anxiety now.

                Most  FMCGs  in  their  eagerness  to increase their marketshare/revenues have been taking this route of  ‘serving the unchartered territory’  terming them   ‘ rural selling ‘   for decades. The above proposed ones are based on this model but with management, regulatory, and operational controls different from but aligned with the parent organisation.

               Data Science and AI can play a part in identifying the districts, population covered, availability/non-availability of the services, identification of the ‘needy’ group, resources needed and the like. Aadhaar as a tool in identification may also be helpful.

       This will mark a new  “Government-Business Partnership”  engaged in the noble task of serving the needy contributing to the Nation Building Process. This is more of a systematic and organised planning and delivery of benefits to citizens.

 

            “Dieu avec nous”

   Tuesday, June 25, 2019 –  7.19 p.m. (IST)

             Tidbit : ” Government will take care of me,you, us ;

                     Government  will take care of birth, marriage, and death ;

                      Government will take care of our thoughts, our living ;

                       But   who will take care of the Government ? ”  –  Chain-gang song.

 

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” Visiting United States of America is Easier Today ” – June 14, 2019.

I vividly remember my one and the only visit to the U.S.A.  –  it turned out to be a 72 days, academic services packed, hectic, journey through 5 different states in the US (Kentucky, Tennessee, Lousiana, Texas, and Kansas)  presenting scientific papers (2),  giving lectures (9),  attending workshops (3), Course development programs plus many faculty interactions as a mark of  tour de force  –  in 1986, when I was an Assistant Professor in the National Industrial Engineering Institute in Bombay, India.

          What triggered this fairly long visit, quite unusual for presentation of paper in a Conference in those days for anyone with only International travel support from the institute and other national agencies, was my two scientific papers in Human Engineering accepted for presentation in a World Conference in Kentucky, the munificence of the host institutions notwithstanding. I was granted international travel from India to my first destination in the US and back plus $15 per day allowance for 6 days. I had to part with a good share of my own contribution too in the process.

          I had to tie other activities in other places with their hospitality and local travel support from concerned institutions through my already established contacts who were extremely accommodating and considerate beyond my expectations. I hold everyone who supported me in honor and pride. They made what initially looked impossible to me possible.

          Quite significant about my academic sojourn was the complete absence of any pleasure outing during that period. That I never felt having missed anything socially was borne out only when a colleague of mine enquired about it upon my return to India. Quite a promising and fulfilling experience that stood in favour when my evaluation for a higher position came three years  later.

          My intent to stress on this experience is to emphasise the three main paths by which any faculty could visit  U.S.A. (any foreign country for that matter)  in those times. (a)  Presentation of academic, referred scientific or conceptual papers in a Convention/Conference  –  this is common and most followed ;  (b)  Exchange programs and faculty for an identified period between institutions through (national) the support and scholarship of National agencies respectively (like for e.g. Ford Foundation) ;  and  (c)  Securing direct admission to any higher education program or a fellowship program in any university abroad.  Well, relatives of persons already abroad, businessman, and tourists do visit, but not so much based on academic credentials or merit and hence I did not include that here. Also, the number(s) by that vary significantly annually compared to the earlier described ones.

          I am now 66, a legitimate senior.

A class setting.

Today, most families take pride in the fact that at least one member is in a foreign nation enabling their ‘parents’ (stress on those who have not been fortunate to visit a foreign country till they are retired or become seniors) to visit, stay, and enjoy the country’s culture and heritage fully. Also, a spouse who either has been unfortunate or could not command the merit or interest to try and secure a place is also enabled thus bringing to consummation his/her desire. If this is not a boon, what else is ? I do not, however, favor/respect these routes of entry. In my own limited social circle I know many who took to this to their advantage and prospered. American tourism gains.

A section of students from different countries.

In 2018, around 196000 Indian students enrolled in higher educational institutions in the US.  That is more than double the number of students from just a decade ago.

          The engineering and tech companies founded by Indian migrants between 1995 and 2005 were more than from UK, China, Taiwan, and Japan combined. Silicon valley companies (specially start-ups ) founded by Indian immigrants also increased from 7% in 1999 to 15.5% in 2006 for which statistics was available. Many come from humble origins and succeeded in a big way with relentless pursuit.

          “Student Visa Day” on Wednesday, June 12, 2019,  highlighting the importance and significance of  “students” and celebrating the higher education ties between India and USA was the most recent event when many Indians secured the  ‘student visas’ at relative ease. Aren’t they fairly treated ?

          Youth, specially students, are being given excellent opportunities to satisfy their educational interests despite the general perceptions and complaints about visa restrictions. It is actually good times for the inclined.

 

   ” Dieu avec nous”

   Friday, June 14, 2019 –  9.19 p.m. (IST)

   Tidbit :  ”  From ambition to reality, USA still makes it worth “.  –   SR

 

 

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” Is a Congress Leadership Change Warranted ? Not at this Moment. ” – June 12, 2019.

Parties and organisations have faced the situation that the Congress Political Leadership in India is staring at now, sometime or the other earlier in our history. 

          What to do when you are decimated twice successively in 10 years ?  How does one revive the party ?

          There is definitely a way without changing the leadership or ideology.

          Connect more honestly, truthfully, and respectfully as never before with all office bearers and heads of national, regional, and state level party organisation. Also have all associates connect with the ‘common man’/ ‘citizens’  at every level in the country.

          In business terms they are your core  ‘retailers’,  the most effective link between the party and the people.

          How do you achieve that ?  This is where the national party needs to change its ‘strategy’ and bring fresh approach and vigour galvanising the party apparatus. This is not new, but the effectiveness of this is the one separating the victor and the vanquished.

          What is the  ‘strategy’ ?  It is the public display of a change in the  ‘mindset’ and behavior of the Leader and the associates.

          Don’t understand, be clear ?  This is primarily the task of Sri Rahul Gandhi with the support of his close aides. He calls everyone, and such other functionaries from every State and Union Territory to say,  Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai, Chandigarh, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Tiruvananthapuram, Jaipur, Bhopal, Guwahati, Jammu, Amritsar, and the like and organises a  two-day  “Revival”  Program. While Delhi program can be chaired by Sonia Gandhi, Dr Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi, programs in other places can be chaired by Congress leaders like  Dr Shashi Tharoor,  P Chidambaram,  Manish Tiwari, Amarinder Singh, Jyothiradhitya Scindia,  Kamalnath, Ashok Gehlot, Sachin Pilot, Mallikarjun Kharge, AK Antony, KC Venugopal, and other tall leaders.

          What is the objective ?  “Revival”  Program is a sort of a training program to the associates with the following objectives : (1) To recover from languor ;  (2)  To renew one’s performance ;  (3)  To improve interest and attention ;  (4)  To create new awakening ; and  (5) To cause fresh excitement to all.

          What is key to make this successful ?  The key strategy in this exercise is to amplify and expand in quantity and reach the “publicity” or “propaganda” by every tool the party has access to. Media (print and electronic) ;  e:mechanisms ;  banners/bill boards ;  and whatever other. This should be choreographed and orchestrated in a manner that will evoke memories of Independence movement among the citizens. This calls for the execution of a humongous task with time, effort, and resources of the kind unparalleled before. Nothing works better than PUBLICITY.

          What is the result ?  Coming from a party that is defeated hollow, this  “Super Training”  exercise will convey to the people that the spirit, energy, effort, enthusiasm, and wisdom of the party in the service of people have only grown better and bigger than being destroyed or annihilated. It will make people put on their thinking caps and give a fresh look and appraisal of the party.

          If this exercise is followed by a vigorous act of retention of existing members and attraction of new members (both ideal) , a task given to all associates, it will make a big difference in terms of the comparative edge that the party can promote in this new political age.

          The figure below represents the Congress Party’s Revival Strategy Triad.

It constitutes the two-day training program,  publicity,  and the membership promotion/communication –  a turn around Strategy.

          The program will also ensure that the Leader has trained the co-leaders and all associates. They should be trained in such a manner that a  ‘common man’  or  ‘citizen’  comes always  FIRST to any other devious direction or task from the leader. Just as in business where you are not supposed to avoid customers,  in Politics too you cannot avoid  ‘citizens’ or ‘common man’.  Listening to the ‘common man’ or being available to him is the minimum that is expected of an associate or a leader.

          Building relationship with ‘common man’ is the essence of Politics ;  and respecting and treating them well is the path to the progress of the party.

            Leaders are often burdened with the tasks of raising resources ;  organising meetings ;  making policies and programs ;  devising action plans ;  controlling the departments/divisions and the like, but when a ‘common man’  or  ‘citizen’  enters the office with a query,  ignoring him even amid your pressing task will be more damaging than attending to him while holding the task for sometime which can be rewarding.

          It is important that the training program is centered on this singular element of relationship building to make the full impact.

          If this cannot spell  success what more can ?

 

   ” Dieu avec nous “

   Wednesday,  June 12, 2019 –  6.49 p.m. (IST).

   Tidbit  : ” Nobody can demand leadership “

 

P.S.  I am an apolitical citizen;  the views expressed are personal and are not meant to support any party, leader, or individual.

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” Manisha and Sridharan on a wonderful journey building up their lives ” – June 6, 2019.

A life-changing experience ;  full of fun and frolic in the environment ;  seven small steps but a big leap to a new territory in life ;  dressing up so well and differently at different events during the two-day marriage occasion  –  these are what constituted the cheerful, good humoured, and extremely affable experiences that gave great satisfaction and joy as much to the couple as to all those who came to witness the function and bless the couple on June 5 & 6,  2019,  –  me, a non-entity as a non-descript recluse sitting and watching the proceedings as keenly as I did in seminars/conventions during my hey days, included.

       Fixed by parents traditionally ;  compatibility of the couple decided and validated by matching their horoscopes showing the planetary positions at the time of their birth;  solemnised by a small engagement ceremony on the 22nd of February, 2019; and fixing the marriage on June 6, 2019 in the presence of pujari and witnesses were the initial moves.

Lagna Pathrikai’  read out on that occasion was the commitment for both families.

        That “Ramesh”  meaning the conductor Lord Vishnu is the name of the  ‘heads’  of both families stood out not just in semantic harmony, but as a prediction of their conduct and virtues accurately. As for their families it is a marriage (to say in business terms, a merger) of Banking and Telecommunications (Bride’s father a banker, and the groom’s father a telecommunications administrator) the bread and butter of the new age networking, interactions, communications, and investments with financial resources.

         What more can anyone expect than boosting the growth and development globally with these twin key tools in today’s world.

        Everyone in the hall during the two-day festivities was not just a spectator but the deserving beneficiary of a pie in the above mentioned growth and development. If the attendees offered their blessings and gifts of any nature to the couple, both  ‘Rameshs’  offered their blessings for the growth and development of everyone’s life in the hall.

        A day prior to the wedding the bride’s family arrived at the Mandapam. As in all traditional weddings the venue was decorated with ‘kolams’ (attractive designs made with rice powder paste and coloured) and flowers. On the morning of June 5,  at about 10 a.m. the bride’s family kept ‘chandhanam’ (sandalwood paste);  ‘kunkumam’ (vermillion);  rose water;  sugar candy;  garlands;  a platter for Aarthi as also a small vessel containing ‘thirattipal’ (sweetened koya) in anticipation of the groom’s arrival. Upon the groom’s arrival, nadaswaram was played and Aarthi performed.

       “Vratham”,  a ceremony performed separately by the bride’s and groom’s side with the bride’s side rituals less elaborate (9 – 10 a.m.) than those for the groom’s side, as I noticed.

       ‘Charadu’,  ‘Palika’  ceremony followed for evoking the prosperity of the couples’  life together.

        At around 3 p.m. key members of both families sat opposite each other and the lagna Pathrikai’ was read aloud by the ‘pujari’. Thamboolam ( platters of betel nuts, dry fruits, nuts, coconuts, and turmeric and kunkumam) and gifts were exchanged. Cone shaped ‘parupputhengai’ was an important part of these.

         “Kashi Yatra” was an important event on the day of marriage (at 10 a.m. on June 6, 2019) when the groom embarked on a mock pilgrimage holding an umbrella, a walking stick, and a towel containing lentils and rice tied to his shoulder. As he stepped out of the Mandapam bride’s father pleads with him not to go but stay to marry his daughter instead. This was not, however, clearly played/happened though.

        I heard someone close-by saying the following humorously : ” In some marriage functions they have autos waiting outside the hall giving the boy one last chance to run away”. I laughed inwardly and it did not happen in this function.

         Groom entered the Mandapam back, discarded the stick, and was garlanded by the bride. Groom also garlanded the bride.

          With the  chanting of mantras, the sacred fire was ignited by the pujari ;  bride seated on her father’s lap ;  groom gifted with a silk dhoti and shawl.

        A coconut dipped in turmeric was held by the bride and groom together with the bride’s mother pouring water onto the coconut – a key ritual that followed in Kanyadhanam.

        Mangalsutra  was placed on bride’s head along with a miniature piece of jewellery, groom performed Puja with kunkumam and flowers. Then tied the first knot of “thali” (at the stroke of 11.30 a.m.) around the bride’s neck.

         Sapthapathi;  bride making offering to the sacred fire ;  and Grihapravesam followed.

        Seer Bakshanam was distributed to all relatives and friends assembled for the marriage and thus ended the marriage.

         Due to my pressing commitments I had to leave before Grihapravesam, but I left with my heart full of intense gladness and mirth.

        A function celebrated in a simple, and systematic manner, providing an opportunity to any  “Marriage Systems Analyst”  to devise and plan more efficient methods of performing the rituals.

           One of the ideal celebrations that I attended in a long time.

 

“Dieu avec nous”

Friday, June 6, 2019 –  5.29 p.m. (IST)

Tidbit  :  ” May you live as long as you like, and have all you want as long as you live ” –  my best wishes.

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