Humanities gives skills to face the new world : Dr. Kranti Saran, Ashoka University

Prof Kranti Saran was one of the speakers of eminence to address the students who are stepping into class XI at Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, and their parents. Here I tried to reproduce his inspiring Kranti Sarantalk, to the best of my abilities.

Kranti Saran, currently an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Ashoka University and a Research Associate at Harvard University, also a visiting faculty in JNU.

His research interests trace a progression of questions about the nature of bodily sensations and bodily spatiality to the nature of introspection of them. From introspection, his interests generalize to the nature of attention. Finally, he is interested in how practices of attention to bodily and mental states can school a subject’s affect in a morally salutary direction.

———————————————- My Journey —————————–
What does a philosopher do?
Most people talk about being super successful
Most of us are not, but still will lead a happy life.

I had scored a 70% in my school, never like today’s 95%+
In school, I was never interested in what we were studying, because of the way we were studying.
I used to read a lot; though disconnected with contextual reality, I always felt thing will work

I had to get into a college. what to do? Never got what I wanted.
Accident happened….philosophy happened.
This was what I was waiting for the whole life.
I fell in love with.
I started liking and doing well in acads
It was a wonderful feeling, but disconcerting too as I was doing well.
….went to Harvard and a few other places too..
———————————————————————————-
Three things I want to share from my learnings.

1. Be prepared to be surprised – in class x, I would have never imagined what I am doing today. Acads? I ran away from it then. It is now rich and rewarding

2. Play to your strengths
A. In our school, if you were smart you did science. I discovered, I had no aptitude for science. 52% in class XII. DO NOT PUSH THE CHILD INTO AN AREA THAT YOU FEEL THEY OUGHT TO BE.

3. what special talent do you have? What is that one thing that you are disproportionately blessed with. Nurture and develop. Disproportionate rewards will come your way.

CAREERS OF FUTURE

careers different from undergrad training? How many here? About 30 odd parents stood up.

When the concept of car was introduced they were called horseless carriages. Now we see Teslas of the world bring in rapid changes

What do we need now?

We need to be flexible to bring the skills to the market place
We need to be adaptable, agile and nimble in the market place

Once upon a time Music industry – was worried about piracy etc. Napster etc happened then.
Apple introduced music service and the music industry has never been the same again.

We do not have models of the world, that the world will change to. Everything is abstract.
Have skills that are nimble, and help you to adapt quickly.

Skill set to have – How Humanities equip you.

What are the particular skills that you learn in classroom?

  • Reasoning and analysis – how do you put the argument
  • Communication to get your ideas and thoughts across
    You are with people all the time, how do you use persuasiveness is the key
  • Feeds into capacity of being a team member, building a team

All these three will help you connect the dots. Helps to think out of the box.

How does it translate into a real world?

1. Jeff bozos of AMAZON

  • Asks subordinates to write a detailed memo In advance and share
  • Everyone reads, be prepared before they come to the meeting

Why?
– clear writing shows clarity of thought
– well thought-out ideas emerge

2. Have you ever read any IPO document?

  • IPO document of Twitter will tell you details
  • Founders are not techies in under grad
  • Almost all of them are from arts, humanities,…

So, select Class XI subjects such a way that they make you flexible and adaptable.

You can get in touch with Kranti Saran at Saran@ashoka.edu.in
Thanks to the web for photograph of Kranti Saran. The rights belongs to the owner.

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MARRIAGE – an institution of unending discoveries – By: Kimmies Floral

This story I came across in a FB posting, but is a wonderful one… Thanks for those who posted
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When I got home that night as my wife served dinner, I held her hand and said, I’ve got something to tell you.  She sat down and ate quietly.  Again I observed the hurt in her eyes.   Suddenly I didn’t know how to open my mouth.  But I had to let …her know what I was thinking.  I want a divorce.  I raised the topic calmly.  She didn’t seem to be annoyed by my words, instead she asked me softly, why?   I avoided her question. This made her angry. She threw away the chopsticks and shouted at me, you are not a man!
That night, we didn’t talk to each other.  She was weeping.  I knew she wanted to find out what had happened to our marriage.  But I could hardly give her a satisfactory answer;  she had lost my heart to Jane.  I didn’t love her anymore. I just pitied her!   With a deep sense of guilt,  I drafted a divorce agreement which stated that she could own our house, our car, and 30% stake of my company.  She glanced at it and then tore it into pieces. The woman who had spent ten years of her life with me had become a stranger.  I felt sorry for her wasted time, resources and energy but I could not take back what I had said for I loved Jane so dearly.  Finally she cried loudly in front of me, which was what I had expected to see.  To me her cry was actually a kind of release. The idea of divorce which had obsessed me for several weeks seemed to be firmer and clearer now.

The next day, I came back home very late and found her writing something at the table.  I didn’t have supper but went straight to sleep and fell asleep very fast because I was tired after an eventful day with Jane.   When I woke up, she was still there at the table writing.  I just did not care so I turned over and was asleep again.   In the morning she presented her divorce conditions :  she didn’t want anything from me, but needed a month’s notice before the divorce. She requested that in that one month we both struggle to live as normal a life as possible.  Her reasons were simple: our son had his exams in a month’s time and she didn’t want to disrupt him with our broken marriage.   This was agreeable to me.  But she had something more, she asked me to recall how I had carried her into out bridal room on our wedding day.  She requested that every day for the month’s duration I carry her out of our bedroom to the front door ever morning.  I thought she was going crazy.  Just to make our last days together bearable I accepted her odd request.

I told Jane about my wife’s divorce conditions. . She laughed loudly and thought it was absurd. No matter what tricks she applies, she has to face the divorce, she said scornfully.

My wife and I hadn’t had any body contact since my divorce intention was explicitly expressed.  So when I carried her out on the first day, we both appeared clumsy.  Our son clapped behind us, daddy is holding mommy in his arms. His words brought me a sense of pain. From the bedroom to the sitting room,  then to the door,  I walked over ten meters with her in my arms.  She closed her eyes and said softly; don’t tell our son about the divorce.  I nodded, feeling somewhat upset.  I put her down outside the door. She went to wait for the bus to work. I drove alone to the office.

On the second day, both of us acted much more easily.  She leaned on my chest.  I could smell the fragrance of her blouse.  I realized that I hadn’t looked at this woman carefully for a long time.  I realized she was not young any more.  There were fine wrinkles on her face, her hair was graying!  Our marriage had taken its toll on her.  For a minute I wondered what I had done to her.   On the fourth day, when I lifted her up,  I felt a sense of intimacy returning.  This was the woman who had given ten years of her life to me. On the fifth and sixth day,  I realized that our sense of intimacy was growing again.  I didn’t tell Jane about this. It became easier to carry her as the month slipped by.  Perhaps the everyday workout made me stronger.

She was choosing what to wear one morning.  She tried on quite a few dresses but could not find a suitable one.  Then she sighed, all my dresses have grown bigger. I suddenly realized that she had grown so thin, that was the reason why I could carry her more easily.   Suddenly it hit me… she had buried so much pain and bitterness in her heart. Subconsciously I reached out and touched her head.   Our son came in at the moment and said, Dad, it’s time to carry mom out.  To him, seeing his father carrying his mother out had become an essential part of his life.  My wife gestured to our son to come closer and hugged him tightly.  I turned my face away because I was afraid I might change my mind at this last minute. I then held her in my arms, walking from the bedroom, through the sitting room, to the hallway. Her hand surrounded my neck softly and naturally.  I held her body tightly; it was just like our wedding day.   But her much lighter weight made me sad. On the last day, when I held her in my arms I could hardly move a step. Our son had gone to school. I held her tightly and said, I hadn’t noticed that our life lacked intimacy.

I drove to office…. jumped out of the car swiftly without locking the door.  I was afraid any delay would make me change my mind…I walked upstairs. Jane opened the door and I said to her, Sorry, Jane, I do not want the divorce anymore.   She looked at me, astonished, and then touched my forehead. Do you have a fever? She said.  I moved her hand off my head.  Sorry, Jane, I said, I won’t divorce. My marriage life was boring probably because she and I didn’t value the details of our lives, not because we didn’t love each other anymore. Now I realize that since I carried her into my home on our wedding day I am supposed to hold her until death do us apart. Jane seemed to suddenly wake up. She gave me a loud slap and then slammed the door and burst into tears. I walked downstairs and drove away.

At the floral shop on the way, I ordered a bouquet of flowers for my wife. The salesgirl asked me what to write on the card.  I smiled and wrote,  I’ll carry you out every morning until death do us apart.   That evening I arrived home, flowers in my hands, a smile on my face, I run up stairs, only to find my wife in the bed – dead. My wife had been fighting CANCER for months and I was so busy with Jane to even notice.  She knew that she would die soon and she wanted to save me from the whatever negative reaction from our son, in case we push thru with the divorce.– At least, in the eyes of our son— I’m a loving husband….

The small details of your lives are what really matter in a relationship. It is not the mansion, the car, property, the money in the bank. These create an environment conducive for happiness but cannot give happiness in themselves. So find time to be your spouse’s friend and do those little things for each other that build intimacy. Do have a real happy marriage!

You may just might save a marriage, by sharing this.

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.

Lovingly sharing it. Sreeni@iwsb.in

The world at your doorstep….. what are you passionate about?

(This is an old article that I had written in a couple newspapers. I stumble upon it on my laptop and thought posting it could be of value to parents who are in a dilemma about what should their children pursue.)

IT’S a paradox of the times. The world is shrinking and expanding simultaneously. Technology is transforming our planet into a virtual village. More and more people, particularly youngsters like you, are using computers and the Internet. Sitting in your classrooms or homes, you can access whatever information you need from the World Wide Web and interact with any one around the world. No wonder geography is history now. If you really capitalize on this revolution, EDUCATION can become fun and paying too. No longer is the class XII student compelled to compete only for the engineering and medical courses, not that there is anything wrong with these popular streams. But now there is a plethora of career options. One can follow one’s heart and pursue a vocation of choice.

Ask yourself, “What do I want to be?” With information at your finger tip, literally, as your ARMORY and passion as your FERRARI, if you are enthused about a career, you can invigorate your parents too to jump in, to help you chase your dreams!!

Here are a few career areas that hold promise for the next decade or so.

ICE (Information, Communication and Entertainment): With integration of technologies, we are bound to witness a greater interactivity of computer networks, communication channels and entertainment media. You can now watch movies, enjoy a concert or even attend a class of a professor and university of your choice at your own pace and time, in your room at a click of the mouse. This means that the good times are rolling for back-end professionals such as innovators, software developers, content providers, engineers, technicians, producers, writers, script-writers, set designers, animators, and researchers. Of course, there’s good news for front-end experts like journalists, anchors, jockeys — VJ, RJ and DJ — newsreaders and performers. Those opting for humanities have a world of opportunities to choose from. So don’t suppress your desire to take up the Arts after class X.

Biotechnology, bio-informatics, biochemistry, biomechanics etc.: Developments in areas related to the application of biology and allied subjects along with Information Technology is bound to transform lives. Miniaturization of technologies will see outstanding progress and application in a variety of areas ranging from ICE to medicine. At the same time health-care products, food processing and preservatives, agriculture productivity, oil refining, contamination control, medicinal cures, waste management and environmental sciences will gain prominence. Keen to make a mark in these areas? Well, master both the physical and biological sciences in your senior secondary.

Design: Office or home Interiors, landscapes, shopping displays or communication – all need designs for enhancement. Institutions offer specialized and intensive courses in design – product, textile, ceramic, interior, landscape, fashion, gem and jewelry, retailing and communication design, not limited architectural design. Remember, it’s not the stream but creativity that determines your success in the world of design.

Education and Human Resources Development (HRD): They will be highly integrated and with the world becoming a knowledge village, there will be a growing need for educationists, counselors, trainers, assessors, motivators, academic administrators, instructional designers, course designers, and techno-academic integrators. One can get into this area irrespective of the subject at higher secondary.

Healthcare: Another area that will witness a great shift from public or governmental domain to the private domain. Healthcare will see greater application of technology and sophisticated medical practices at a reduced cost. Hospitals will be run like any other business corporate and so will require people for administration, public relations and customer care in addition to needing doctors, surgeons and paramedical staff.

The conventional sectors: Sectors that have a continuous demand for trained people include: Infrastructure — transportation, energy, community planning, for instance; Financial — innovative instruments for resource generation, insurance, banking and so on; Services — hospitality, tourism and travel, IT enabled services, for example; Development and legal sectors — such as social work, human rights, developmental economics, environmental issues; and, of course, the defence sector.

So list your thoughts and prioritize your interests, pursue your passion. Read up about the areas that appeal to you and see whether you have the capabilities needed to pursue that career. Armed with the information, speak to your parents and teachers, asking them to do both, listen to and question your plans. They will be able to help you in discovering the path to your goal. Befriend them as you would your peer group. If you need more help email me. Focus and work hard…the Ferraris will be yours for the asking.

R. SREENIVASAN, MTech (JNU), MBA (IIM Bangalore)
Educationist and Motivator,
Chairman, Indus World School, RAIPUR
sreeni@clef.in

Sharpening the Saw: What you should be doing before reaching your B-School campus?

Once an admission offer from a B-School lands in your lap, your friends and family are as excited as you are and you end up having to throw a party for all well wishers and then-on wait for the D-day to board your train or flight to reach the campus. Yes, you do go out shopping for essentials for the next two years at the hostel.

One question that should spring into your head is that – “Can I do a few things from now till the date of my journey that can have a positive impact at least on my first term, if not the next two years!!” Is this an important question to address? Yes, indeed.

I am very keen that you gain maximum from your two years at B-School. Having met over thirty five thousand aspirants in the last one year during my ‘Bharat Bhraman’, having been part of the panels for selection for B-Schools, and having been a facilitator to a couple of lakh B-School aspirants over the last two decades, and also as an alumnus of an IIM myself, I have few things to ask you to work upon –

Working on your Communication Skills and General Awareness
It is very important that you work on your ability to think, organize and articulate your thoughts. Whether you are already good at it or you feel challenged, you need to work on it. It needs a constant endeavour from each one of us every day. Kindly read a good newspaper – The Hindu / Indian Express every day, especially the features and editorial pages.

Listen to 9pm news on DD and Day’s round up on one of the business channels every evening. You can also catch up latest business news from one of the business dailies. Study the graphs and data to understand the situation depicted.

Make sure you write an article every day – create a blog to express yourself (you can check my website http://www.sreeni.org for any ideas). Alternatively, take a topic and speak in front of the mirror while recording it using a Dictaphone or a tape recorder. Play it to listen and introspect – where you got stuck and why? How can you overcome the shortcomings? Take action to be better.

Interaction with eminent leaders

Working on some basics
Three subjects that would form the core for any business education and thereby your performance during the MBA programme are – quanititative ability (statistics), economics and accounting; I strongly urge you to pick a basic book on these to familiarize yourself even before you reach your campus for the pre-term / first term. The best place to start is CBSE Class XI and XII books.

An Introspective Write-up: What I want to be?

There is something even more important. You should be able to first figure out what you really want to do in life. I suggest you spend some time to introspect about this question ‘What I would be remembered for when I leave this world?’

A few questions to help you start off –
1. What do you really enjoy doing? Which industry or company will benefit maximum from your passion.
2. Once you short list the company / industry, start reading about them through various available data and feature sources
3. Are there any personalities you admire and why? Is there and values they espouse or abilities that they have that you want to inculcate? Work on them consciously.

Once you are able to write this note for yourself, I am sure you will get to know what you need to do from now on to achieve your ultimate goals, and how you would like to make maximum of your next two years at the B-School of your choice. Put all these in a note for yourself. I hope this will be a great exercise for your journey.

understanding how butterflies impact success of economies!

Involving in a few Out-of-the Box activities

You can associate with an organization or movement that espouses a cause very close to your heart for a few weeks and contribute there. This will help you understand a whole lot about yourself, working of an organization and also can give ideas about what all you could do during your two years of B-School and after..
A few movements that I am involved actively are – NIF and its Shodhyatras (www.sristi.org); SPICMACAY’s (www.spicmacay.com) promotion of culture and art forms among youth etc, engaging in improving learning environments in schools through mentor training (www.clef.in)etc. I am sure you too can identify a cause and contribute during your free time to gain something that can be significant for your journey of life.

25th Shodhyatra (May 14-21st)

I strongly recommend each one of you to try and participate in the coming Shodhyatra, especially those who are very close to Chattisgarh (MP, Bihar, UP, Orissa, Andhra) as this time the yatra is happening in Narayanpur. I will be there along with a few of our past IWSB students too. To know more about it read ahead.

Shodh Yatra is a journey for the search of knowledge, creativity and innovations at grassroots. Shodh Yatra is an attempt on the part of SRISTI/NIF to reach out to the remotest part of the country with a firm belief that hardship and challenges of natural surroundings are the prime motivators of creativity and innovations. Shodh Yatra aims at unearthing such traditional knowledge and grassroots innovations that have not only simplified the lives of men, women and farm labourers but have also significantly contributed towards the conservation of bio-diversity. Shodh Yatra is a journey of mutual exchange and sharing of knowledge. Whatever knowledge and practices that we have pooled in, over the years are shared with the villagers during the Shodh Yatra. We also share the Honey Bee database with the villagers. Shodh Yatra is also a journey to spread green consciousness and we do it by involving women and children to display their ecological knowledge through various competitions.

As an institution, IWSB encourages students to be part of Shodhyatra anchored by one of the foremost thinkers of the country Prof. Anil Gupta (professor at IIM Ahmedabad and also anchor of National Innovation Foundation). You can know more about the movement from my website – Check the NIF related link here

For details of the May 14-21st shodhyatra kindly check the link. check for the shodhyatra details

This shodhyatra is just a strong suggestion and not a compulsory agenda..

Before winding up, I would like to just say that – Kindly be hungry for learning, devour magazines, journals and books; do not hesitate to interact with professors beyond your class requirements, plunge into all activities that are happening around you, take additional responsibilities on the campus that can build your personality.
I am sure you would have got enough ideas to build upon what I have stated here that can be invaluable for your journey ahead.

Wishing you the very best. Enjoy your B-school life.

Sreeni
sreeni@iwsb.in
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