Where is that imaginative, creative, energetic, vivacious child lost?

Smita, a teacher from one of the sought after schools in Dwarka, N K Bagrodia public school, has been chasing me for the last couple of months to visit her school. She confessed that, ever since she heard me speak at an education leaders conference conducted by ITIHAAS, she wanted to invite me to her school. She would call me to grace one function or other, as a guest. Most of the times, I was on the move. One thing about Smita I always felt when she spoke to me, is her energy and enthusiasm; that transcended the medium of phone. Last week when she called, I acquiesced to be the guest for their annual festival of creativity – Trishna, wherein about 30+ schools from across Delhi were participating.

The real pleasure being in a school lies in the children’s space.  On arrival, I was ushered into the Principal, Dr. Rajee N, Kumar’s room to meet her and a few more school leaders were called too. Dr. Rajee was sharing her experience of watching the children pushing boundaries since morning, in one creative activity or the other. Here I was, so keen to see the children in action, more than distributing the prizes, I was feeling incarcerated, though the interaction with the leadership was invaluable. The real learning is in experiencing the process, not in seeing the final product. I insisted on watching the children in action. The principal was graceful in facilitating me to watch a couple of activities.

Albeit it was at the fag end of the day, I could experience the theatre / acting performance, wherein the students were given 30 minutes to conjure a scene, write a script, select the performers, prepare and present. The students were from classes 7-9 and it was a delight to watch how they went about presenting. Children observe everything, absorb like a sponge and synthesize making meaning out of every action around them. This activity gave me one more opportunity to watch their thought process; how well they could project their learning. Needless to say, I really enjoyed every presentation, reinforcing my beliefs about children and their infinite capabilities.


Post the event, I was now keen to interact with the school leadership. Thanks to Dr. Rajee, she too was keen to. I was sharing that the ingenuity of children that we witnessed in the activities of the event can be stoked every day, in every class and home; and who are we to restrict to one event or two in a year.

Very unfortunate that in most of the schools in India, in general, the child comes last. Schools need to exist for the child; she must be the center of all activities that schools plan. It is far from being so, the way we operate – the curriculum designed, the courses offered, the syllabus, the pedagogy, the planning to finish syllabus….. the list is endless. Everything is designed to help the school and the teachers to have peace of mind and to enable ease of execution. An imaginative, creative, energetic, vivacious child, bubbling with ideas ends up being a morose, thoughtless, aimless, fearful youth devoid of confidence and self-belief by the time he or she ends schooling.

If only each one of us, every adult – teachers, parents, schools, universities, educational leaders – can believe in every child, put the child first, acknowledge the needs of the child, really bring the openness to create exciting learning environments at schools, universities and home, I think the world will be a far, far better place to live in. The children and youth will be keen to solve the problems that the society in their neighborhood is facing. Every education institution can be at the fore-front of transformation of the society. Alas!

I am a culprit too. It takes immense effort to be open and facilitating. I am trying and have been on that journey for quite some time. Still short-comings come to the fore. I still need to keep my EGO aside. Working on being humble, pleasant, purposeful is still a huge ask, even with all good intentions and awareness of the outcomes.

My personal endeavour has been to be conscious and work towards making every child’s space an exciting one. To this effect, we, leadership at CL Educate, have been proactive to work with schools, institutions, universities to stoke jigyasa (curiosity, inquisitiveness) among children and youth; create an environment to help them explore, research in areas or subjects of their interest; have belief in their capabilities. Over the years the outcomes have been rewarding as we see the Ananda (joy) among children and youth. This facilitates the institutions and families to also realize where the inclinations of the child is and this has lead to remarkable breakthroughs for the progress of children and youth ahead in their careers and life. Many a child has presented his research and innovations in the global conferences, got her work published in prestigious journals; has had confidence to present oneself for an interview to reach the portals of a world class institution or university. The quest is to enable every child, irrespective of the outcome, gain a great deal of belief in oneself for one’s life. The process makes them so.

I welcome anyone who is keen to facilitate his child or children in schools, and youth in college, to write to me. We will be more than happy to facilitate.


Kashmir – On the verge of realizing its potential …… especially intellectual..

Welcome to the beautiful Kashmir Valley

Welcome to the beautiful Kashmir Valley

“Over two lakh tourists in the valley and only 25 thousand rooms available,” screamed the headlines of a newspaper in the Kashmir Valley. The ever-green tourism sector of Kashmir has seen unprecedented growth in the last 3-4 years. The people of the valley are re-discovering and realizing the potential of the valley to attract tourists from around the world, especially the mainland India. Every person talks about it and says that, “Kashmir will not see the dark days again as we realize what we can be, now.”

What we can be now, is taking a different meaning all together, among the youth of Kashmir. I was once again in the valley for my annual pilgrimage of addressing and motivating youth at its most prestigious venue, SKICC on the banks of the DAL. This conference was with a difference though as it focused on helping youth to challenge the civil services.

Having a young chief-minister is certainly seems to be making the difference. Sharing the dias with Mr. Omar Abdullah in the last years conference.

From one civil services entrant in the last decade, in 2013 J&K sends 17 charged youth to IAS/IPS/IFS. Hundreds want to, now! This is transformational! This is what I meant when I repeated, “We are realizing now, what we can be!”

More youth exceling at the national stage, will see they taking greater responsibility in Kashmir and in India, and resulting in more opportunities and greater integration.

At the conference to facilitate youth to challenge Civil Services, June 2013

While last years conference was inaugurated by the young CM, this years conference to facilitate more youth to get into CIVILS SERVICES, at SKICC, Srinagar on June 7th had Mr. Iqbal, Chief Secretary J&K; MR Wahid ex-VC University, Mr Shafi Pandit first IAS qualifier (1968) and ex-chair J&K public services commission, Dr Shah Faesal first IAS Topper from the valley in 2010; Dr Sehrish Asgar (2011 IPS, 2012 IAS) first woman from J&K to enter civil services) and Dr Ruwida (2012 IAS), another inspiration who qualified this year.

In the last couple of days, I came across a newspaper article in a national daily, that Over five hundred children from Valley have enrolled in various coaching institutions for engineering and medical entrances at Kota, Rajasthan. Over sixty percent of these children are girls. They all want to excel in life. The institutions in Kota have created provisions for classes and their stay, even taking care of their cultural needs like prayers, food etc. This augurs very well for the aspiring youth of Kashmir.

At the Career Launcher centre in Srinagar, I met a young lady, Sumaira, a post-graduate from Kashmir university, very articulate, and got to know that she has been picked up by Saudi Airlines as an airhostess. In all, this year, about 17 young women have been recruited by international airlines from the Gulf to meet the needs of their services. She was so overwhelmed by the facilitation CL has done in infusing her confidence that she even chose to come with us on a spectacular train journey in the valley, to interact more with her mentor Mr. Vijay Jha of CL who was accompanying me, as I chose to get the insights of train travel in the valley for the first time. More about it down under.

While with Sumaira, in the office, another youth walks into CL, asking for the coaching that he could get for Civil services at CL. While interacting, he was very effusive about the education, attitude of co-learners and the environment he got in the last four years of his engineering under-graduation at an institution in Jabalpur. In fact, he was countering the pessimism that Sumaira was expressing, about the outlook of youth in mainland towards the youth from Kashmir. The interaction was very healthy and enlightening.

The Kazigund to Baramullah rail connectivity sees packed trains running all the time…

In 2009, Kashmir was blessed with railways, a long delayed initiative, that could have been at the heart of integration with the mainland. I took time off to experience the train journey in the valley on this visit of mine. The train runs between Kazigund at the southern tip of the Valley to Baramullah in the northern end. The frequency is of every two hours.

By the schedule published, we reached the station closest to Srinagar, on its outskirts and found the station empty as we were an hour before the scheduled train. But we got a great opportunity to see the beautifully decorated station. This station has be declared the most beautiful station of our country and figures in the Limca Book of records.

Within no time the station was bustling with crowd, as we neared the departure of the train. The train arrived and we found it to be jam-packed. Within a couple of years of the introduction of the train in the valley, it has become the most preferred transportation mode for the valley. A distance of about hundred kilometers by road (Baramullah to Qazigund), that used to be covered by shared rickety-taxis on a bumpy road, at a cost of over hundred and fifty rupees, now, gets covered by the air-conditioned train in a little over two hours, in a comfortable way, at a mere fifteen rupees. Why will not this be most sought after?

The whole circuit of Srinagar-Kazigund-Baramullah-Srinagar took us about five hours. But it was a great eye-opener for me in every respect. Each one talks about the difference this train has made to them. As I am writing this article, Dr Manmohan Singh is going to inaugurate the extension of railway track further south of Kazigund. By 2017, the Valley will be completely connected with Udhampur, Jammu and the mainland.

Train connectivity to the mainland is going to make a huge difference. The mobility of citizens for the valley to the mainland is going to be smooth, comfortable and economical and the tourism inflow will be multiplied. That’s when we will see the true potential of the valley being realized.

While on the train, I noticed a couple of youngsters having a few sheets of paper that looked like an entrance exam question paper. I took it from them to have a look, then realized that it was the entrance exam paper for undergraduate programs of Aligarh Muslim University. I had a wonderful interaction with the youth. Realized that over 2000 youth appear in the exam. Vijay had extensive interaction with the students and even helped them figure out what their true scores in the exam could be.

I have been addressing youth of J&K since 2007, almost twice a year. In the last 6 years I have experienced immense changes in the outlook of youth. They now realize that they are as good as anyone across the country and they want to show what they can do. I am sure Kashmir is on the verge of realizing its intellectual potential.

All these developments on the intellectual front, will impact social, cultural, physical and economical development of the valley. We will see many entrepreneurs emerging too, as a couple of our own IWSB students started contributing to the economy there. It augurs well for J&K and of course for India too.

‘Take this Rs 2,000/- and be quiet; thank god your girl is alive’

What excuse shall we give for a 5-year-old being raped? Was she dented and painted! Was she not wearing the right clothes? Was she roaming with the wrong guys at the wrong hour? Was she giving the wrong signals to the guy?

Not a single day passes without a rape or two in the news, and I am sure thousands go unreported! There are prying eyes every where! Half of humanity is always under constant fear?! What a loss of potential! What a loss!

All Eyes are on me! what do I do to save myself?

An infiltrator violating the borders of Mother India is shot at and incapacitated. We take great pride in doing so and the nation unites eulogizing the spirit of defending our Mother Nation. But we see every mother, sister and daughter being violated around us and are hardly bothered. Our police will find ways to intimidate the family. Our societal elders will banish them out of the community or even from this world. There are enough lawyers to prove the culprit to be juvenile. And our acclaimed lawyers and judges find ways and means to delay the hearings. It will be a decade or two, by which time the victim would have been through a million deaths all the while the culprit gets patronage under one influential group or the other!

What have we become? When did we stop being humans? Where does this stop?
Is this the India which we want to live in? Is this the India we want to leave for our children and grand children? Does mere amending the laws going to find solutions?

Where does it start?

At every home, for sure. We do not want to have a girl child. Even before the young one comes into this world, the mother is subjected to all sorts. There is a great disparity in the way a girl child is treated compared to a boy child – Food to amenities to school to opportunities, she is always against the wall and he is the lord. What sort of messages do we pass on to the boys and the girls as they grow? What attitudes do these boys carry of the fellow girl children as they grow?

The boys end up being drivers and cleaners, policemen and lawyers, doctors and engineers ….while most girls find their progression curtailed by their family; and if not, the boys around, feel their progression has to be curtailed! What a sad state of affairs that we sow and nurture…

We need to start at home. Respect and celebrate every girl child and woman at home… Unless every home does it, we will have perpetrators at every nook and corner. The road is pretty long…

While it will take a few generations for the change to happen, bottom up, we need to do a lot in every space. The common theme though will be of infusing sense of responsibility and belonging.

The indifferent one! If only they can be saviours, our plight will be very different!

First and foremost has to be political and electoral reforms. The election commission should make sure that criminalization of politics is eliminated at any cost. The constitution provides all authority for the election commission to do so.

Every political party should realize that their future lies in decriminalization. They would be better off selecting responsible candidates and also not interfere in any administration appointments and implementation once the directional decisions are taken.

The Administrative reforms are the next most important facet. There have been a few administrative officers in small pockets of the country who have changed the face of these places. We need every officer to make impact.

That cannot happen unless the government is as efficient. So political parties forming the government has to set their houses right. Each one of us as a citizen has the responsibility to cast the vote and select the right person.

The police has to be more conscious of its social responsibilities. Hence their training and orientation will have to change. They need to be deployed more for aam admi’s cause than that of the VIP duties!

We need to come out of “Chalta hai”, “Aisa hi hoga”, “Mera kya jara hai” attitude. Only then the aforesaid shifts can be implemented in right spirit. Each one of us has to be vigilant and feel responsible for everything happening around. Youth needs to play a pivotal role in making this happen. Unless we leave our personal, self-centric approach, we will not be able to bring the change. We need to evolve ourselves beyond the mundane.

It is a tough ask. Let us make it happen.


What is the measure of success? How do we facilitate – parents and educators to introspect

The 'brightest' youth of the country trying to find light at the end of the dark tunnel!

The ‘brightest’ youth of the country trying to find light at the end of the ‘darkest tunnel’!

I headed to Varanasi for yet another PDP boot camp aimed at the young bright aspirants who have received calls from the best of the Business schools of India. I usually board a train to Varanasi, as it is only a overnight journey. After my wonderful experience (it was a  72-hour ride for an usual 12-hour schedule!) with the last week’s Shahisnan (the important bath day) rush on the Indian railroad heading to and out of the Kumbh mela, I decided to fly over the Kumbh during the next shahisnan that was scheduled on Feb 15.

I boarded the flight a day before the PDP boot camp so that I could start off the boot camp early morning, on the following day. That gave me a clear evening to go about in Varanasi, one of my favorite cities of India. The sky had opened up. It was pouring and was so cloudy that the pilot had a challenge on his hand – he could not spot the runway when he  almost came to the landing altitude. All of a sudden, the captain revved up the engine, the wheels folded in, the flight gained altitude. There were moments of anxiety as the revving up looked like an emergency. A few like me sensed there was something wrong. After gaining considerably, the captain announced the challenge that was. Finally, after an hour of hovering, the flight landed on the Tarmac, skidding on the puddles of water as the rain was pouring.
The pouring continued, destabilizing my scheduled of going around the ghats and covering the evening harati at dashswamedh ghat. But there was a surprise in store – a musical concert that, Baglaji, a good friend and CL champion in Varanasi, had planned to take me too. I will talk about the concert story in another posting of mine, though would like to say it was by Paul Livingstone, a young disciple of Pt. Ravi Shankar. After the concert at the peshwa haveli, on the raja ghat, still raining, I stepped out of the ghats to head my way back to the hotel. As I was famished and, was passing by the Shiva German bakery, in the alleys close by, my curiosity overtook me and I entered the bakery to experience the favorite jaunt of all visiting expats.
German bakery was overflowing with foreigners. Thankfully three friends who were occupying a table next to the door got up and walked out after their meals. As I was standing next to the door, I quickly occupied one of the chairs, placed my camera on the table, and took a deep breath. As I was drenched, I made myself comfortable in the cozy corner. Four more entered, immediately  after me and I offered them the table, and thought will move to a smaller space. But a young couple moved towards me while the other two moved to another table. We smiled at each other while they settled.
Both of them apologized for encroaching upon my table. But I was delighted to have them, and I did tell them why I stepped into the restaurant, that had no other south Asian! We introduced to one another and I got to know that both of them are artists – painters – from Germany, fresh out of their arts school!
While the tall gentleman, Michel, with a long matted hair tied into a bun on his head, is visiting India for the third time, his companion Meike, was visiting India for the first time. Both of them, in their mid twenties, were also excited to interact with me as I was asking about their journey through India, their impressions of India, what has been their fascinating encounters etc.
Michel was innured to the contrasts that India, as a destination, offers, since it is his third visit; while Meike, shared the emotional swings that India has been triggering in her, as this was her first encounter with the stark disparities.  They have travelled through Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Delhi, Allahabad during the kumbh and now in awe inspiring varanasi. The contrast of rich and poor, developed and those left behind, clean and dirty, spiritual and materialistic, concerned and apathetic…. The list I am sure is endless for the young Meike to come to terms with. Nevertheless, both were excited to be traveling and experiencing, especially one week that they spent with the sadhus of Juna-Akhada during the Mahakumbh in Allahabad. We discussed the art scene of Germany, especially Berlin and that of Delhi in India; possibilities of their paintings evoking their feelings of the experiences and that they could display in Delhi before they wind up their tour of India. At the end of our dinner, we parted with the promise of meeting soon, when they are in Delhi.
The very next morning I was there at the ghats again, capturing the dawn and the rush of pilgrims to have their morning bath in The Ganges and Pooja. While capturing, I noticed a young lady, of a different nationality, in a traditional Indian dress and a bindi on her forehead, who was fascinated of the happenings around the Kedar ghat. She was trying to have a closer look at the action around her, and also was clicking a few photos.
Out of curiosity, as usual, I started talking to Her. She revealed that she was Gala from Argentina, a student of international relations, and was working in the developmental space. She came to India for Jagriti yatra, of all the things, with which I have had a long association. One led to the other and she started realizing that I knew quite a few people that she has met in the last few weeks. She has spent over the last two months, apart from being on the Jagriti train, a month with an NGO in Bangalore and then traveling through Udaipur, Jaisalmer and Jaipur before reaching Benaras.
Gaelle from France and Gala from Argentina with Sreeni!

Gaelle from France and Gala from Argentina with Sreeni!

I got to know that Gala is accompanied by another young lady, Gaelle, whom Gala met in Udaipur. Both are exploring India for the last one month. Gaelle hails from France and is a management graduate. She wanted to visit India, hence sought a one month assignment with an NGO in Udaipur. After her assignment, she wanted to explore India, when she met Gala who was visiting Udaipur.
I had the opportunity to meet both, Gala and Gaelle, over breakfast at shiva German Bakery. That interaction gave me a lot of insights about their journey.  Gala shared that, “If I am able travel in India alone, I can go to anywhere in the world”, most probably alluding to the much publicised incidents involving the atrocities on young women, of late. Gaelle, shared that, “the social context in france discourages one from taking any breaks from education”; so she finished her B-school education before she started her journeys.
Both were delighted to travel around the world, exploring within and without.  Coming from middle-class families, from Argentina and France respectively,  their families have been of great support, encouraging them to take their decisions.Both of them, in their early twenties, have already travelled extensively, knowing more about the world, more so discovering oneself. Gaelle shared that her 14-year old kid sister is far more aware about the world at her age than herself, because of what Gaelle has gained from her travel, post her B-school education. Her mother too is now more proactive in every sense. These travels have made a big difference to her family.
In fact I happened to meet a host of youngsters who were visiting Varanasi from around the world and were good in music, playing one instrument or other. They all got together, created music and performed live for three consecutive nights on the banks of Ganges. Gala was sad that she was not carrying her Saxophone, else she would have joined in those music experiments.
Chin on his 10 country cycling tour, standing infront of the church in Melacca!

Chin on his 10 country cycling tour, standing infront of the church in Melacca!!

A few years ago, I was in Melacca, a beautiful destination while driving across Malaysia, along with Mallika and Indira (family). We came across a young man, on a bicycle asking directions with a book on Malaysia in hand, and the knapsack of his firmly tied to the carriage of the bicycle. I interacted with him to discover that he was Chin, travelling from Gonjou province on his bicycle, and has already covered six countries before he met us at Melacca. He was heading to Singapore, Indonesia and Australian continent before he heads back to China… He shared about his learnings across the countries already travelled and that he was looking forward to the amazing learning in the subsequent months….
Whenever I interacted with such youngsters, I always thought what would they be after a few months of travel in alien lands… What a way to educate a young mind…
On the contrary, in every PDP Boot camp this year, conducted across the country, with the best of the Indian youth who have received calls from prestigious business schools of the Country, I had to really struggle to help them think about their purpose of doing MBA. With the interview calls in hand, they were looking for ‘spoon-fed’ answer to the questions like – why MBA? What is your plan for the next 4-5 years?
Imagine that is the state of affairs of the brightest 22-25 year-olds in our nation!! They are unaware about self, of their own surroundings, foreget about their city. Lack of curiosity and inquisitiveness, energy and enthusiasm.. where would they lead to?
Where does the fault lie? We all are responsible…. parents, educators and facilitators, the society…
The important questions for parents, teachers and schools to introspect are –
A. What do we want our children and youth to be?
B. How do we help them to be inquisitive and learners for life?
C. How do we instill self belief?
D. What should the ‘education’ process be?
E. What is the measure of success?
F. Can we as parents enable our children excel in life rather than push them to get ‘coveted’ degrees?
G. Will our society and education community allow our children to take breaks to explore at least India, work and know more about themselves, before they pursue degrees and courses?
The questions are innumerable. I want to walk and show, than just talk…

Act promptly, Save life – Piyush Tiwari – Founder, Save life foundation @ Indialogues

Piyush Tiwari, founder, Save Life foundation

Piyush Tiwari, founder, Save Life foundation

Piyush is the Founder & Managing Trustee of the Save Life Foundation. Ever since the death of his cousin Shivam Bajpai in a road accident in year 2007, Piyush has been working to establish a network of like-minded individuals and institutions to achieve his goal of reducing the mortality rate on Indian roads. Piyush is a graduate from University of Delhi and works with the Calibrated Group, a US-based private equity fund, as the head of its India business. Prior to joining Calibrated Group, Piyush was involved in setting-up and managing the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), a public-private partnership between the Government of India and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

The Save LIFE Foundation (SLF) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization focused on enabling Bystander Care, the immediate care that Police and public can provide emergency victims, especially those of road accidents, to enhance their chances of survival. Bystander Care will continue to play a key role in saving lives given the massive traffic congestion across most Indian cities, which hinder quick movement of EMS vehicles.

Over the past 2 years, Save LIFE has trained over 2500 Police first-responders in Delhi leading to a significant enhancement in survival rate of accident victims due to administration of basic emergency care to victims. Their immediate goal is to establish a community based and community driven emergency response service that will see over 8000 public volunteers in Delhi being trained in Basic Trauma Life Support skills, connected through a call centre so that they can be mobilized as first-responders in the event of a medical emergency, especially road accidents.

This morning, while on my way to this talk, I met with this situation – Scooter towing a car with 20mtr long rope. Someone went in between…and we had to rush the youth to a hospital!!

Road accidents – Nation loses 18 people every hour in road accidents, world No. 1 in road accident deaths. It is an epidemic with the high economic implications –

– no rules
– no post care
– not bothered
– bad design

Why are the accidents so high? Categorized into four blocks –

– No licensing, no training
– No civic enforcement
– Road design and engineering

  • Road user conflict
    o Largest and smallest non motorized on same lane
  • – Lack of post accident care

  • Not getting care in the golden period
  • This situation is unacceptable..what do you do about it?

    Road accident victim… why people don’t help

    – people are afraid of police harassment

    So SAVE LIFE established in 2008 – challenges

    – fractured system both legally and

    Middle part of the chain is what we wanted to target

    – Help on the road immediately
    – Police or any help vehicle
    – Advanced care immediately

    Can we start with educating and training police personnel?

    The first target we approached the police commissioner. Delhi has 650 vans. We want to train the 3000 personal, on basic trauma save support. In 3 months we trained them. In 2008, the survival rate of police was 71%. Post the training the reports show survival rate went up to 93%. That was only because there are many who were handling the basic three things very well.

    We have got the request to train 4500 more personnel from police. NSG commandoes after 26/11?

    How do we get people to involve more people like you and me? Can we do something? How do we get Delhi, to nominate citizen volunteers?

    Any one who is trying to help road accident victims will not be harassed. We have now 8500 potential volunteers from Delhi Police. We are in the process are training them in basic trauma support and we plan to connect them. One of the big criteria called mobility..

    Technology solution …
    · call the four digit number..
    · call center conveys the info all volunteers about where the accident happened…
    · press 1 to accept and reach the spot to give basic relief…
    · police will then move within the 15 minutes of providing the basic trauma..

    We have created a parallel system from govt where community service is playing a great role.

    · In rural thane this project is being implemented – Vasai and Kharghar blocks, you will see boards and action in Navi Mumbai.

    · We have taken community combined technology, healthcare and volunteerism.

    · We are encouraging cities, towns and communities to adopt the model to execute in the city.

    · Strength of this model lies in Rural India far more, since the big medical centers are far away, almost three hours.

    A few challenges that we face in design is…

    a. Spine boards – fibre glass spine board costs 98K rupees. Throwing a challenge to develop a low cost spine board, I will make sure that I will sell 1mn of these. We need to give dignity to people and to make them survive with working spine.
    b. I went to Harvard leadership program on health. Indian designers have better skills to make low cost version for India
    c. How to pull someone stuck inside the car without harming him or her.

    SaveLife foundation, A-316, Ansal chambers – piyush@savelifefoundation.org

    B-school grads growing @ scorching pace in young and fast growing companies!

    An article written for media, that was asked off me. I am not sure when it will be published, but I have done it here…

    India as a nation has progressed leaps and bounds since the commencement of economic liberalization in 1991. Today we are eleventh largest in the world in nominal GDP and fourth by Purchasing Power Parity at exchange rates. If you look at these two decades of economic growth, it has been, solely, due to the rise of various entrepreneurial endeavors in this country, primarily in the services sector and especially in IT and ITeS sectors including BPO, and to some extent in the manufacturing sectors of pharma, biotechnology and automobile.

    In the IT sector, though a TCS, an Infosys or Wipro have been in existence even prior to liberalization, they took off vertically since the 1990s with ITeS and BPO dimensions adding up. But the real contributor for the scorching growth in this sector was large number of start-ups that happened post liberalization in the last two decades adding to the numbers of Indian multinationals!

    With over half of the population still employed in the agricultural sector and about 80 percent of the economy still being unorganized, the potential untapped in India is huge. The entrepreneurial zeal that has steamrolled the services space of IT and ITeS in the last two decades, has already started showing its impact on other spaces like financial, real estate, education sectors, and there is a renewed interest in the MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises).

    Scorching pace of India’s economic growth forecasts the nation reaching second position in the world, vis-à-vis GDP by 2050. To make it happen, the progress has to be across the economy, that will impact per capita front too, pulling it up from the current 127th position. We need to create over 100 million jobs. If I were to quote Mukesh Ambani, “about 20 million jobs will get created every year for a decade or two.” Where will it be? Certainly not in the large corporate, but thousands of MSME. The next two decades will be decades of entrepreneurial leadership in this country.

    What do all these amount to, for a B-School graduate?

    Most of the B-school graduates neither have an idea when entering the B-school, nor when they pass out, what their goal is and where their future could lie. They get into an MBA, because they heard that the ‘life-after’ is secure with a handsome salary! They only think of joining a Hindustan Unilever, P&G, Citibank or Reliance. Many do join them but get disillusioned very soon with their days starting at six in the morning and ending at eleven at night, especially if one is in a large metro, with recognition hardly to come by.

    The economic meltdown of 2009 did change the perspective a bit, when many failed to get the jobs, forget about jobs with ‘BIG’ bucks or Big Brands! With no choice, quite a few opted for the young and fast growing companies and are sticking to these, realizing how the prospects are far brighter in these companies. With the same amount of effort they might have had to put in at larger organizations, the recognitions came flying faster and the jumps come quicker in these young companies, the moves have been very minimal.

    Being a B-school graduate myself, an alumnus of IIM Bangalore, when I look at the last two decades of the progress many a friend of mine has made, there is no question that the future of the nation and also the future of management graduates lie in the young and fast growing companies. Quite a few of these companies, that are making waves in the services, financial or even manufacturing spaces in the last decade, have been started by youngsters and experienced alike, with a compulsive vision and they managed to attracted quite a few of their friends to partner in their dreams and partake in the growth. Many quit large corporate, even from abroad, and moved to these fast pacing enterprises.

    For every listed fast growing company that has been founded in the last fifteen years like – IndiaBulls, InfoEdge(Naukri), Educomp, MakeMyTrip etc. – there are many unlisted ones like NetAmbit, Career Launcher, Valuefirst, The Smart Cube, Candid Marketing and many more even younger enterprises that are being toasted by their customers and the market alike. They are showing high double, if not three digit growths, unlike the large corporate who are moving at a low double or even single digit growth. These organizations have a great appetite for growth and are still in the early stages of their upward curve, as their services are catering to huge mass markets with compelling value for large population. These fast growing companies seek entrepreneurial leadership material to hire, not limited to B-school graduates.

    When I talk about entrepreneurial leadership, I am not limiting to entrepreneurship. Yes, certainly I will talk about being an entrepreneur in a while, but even to excel in other enterprises – like the larger ones or the aforementioned fast growing ones – you need to be entrepreneurial in thinking and also in acting, especially in the current competitive scenario. You will be notice, and you will be in demand.

    Entrepreneurial leaders are transformational and they relentlessly pursue their infinite potential. Typical traits include –
    – Ambitious and often first movers
    – Keen eye for opportunities
    – Challenge conventional thinking
    – Shift paradigms; create new insights
    – Healthy appetite for risk
    – Relentlessly push the boundaries of possibilities
    – Assume full responsibility of outcomes
    – Change the rules of the game
    – Conscious of their role for the betterment of the society

    If one is entrepreneurial, in the young companies that are nimble-footed, one gets integrated soon, gets greater responsibility, freedom and accountability. One has the entire canvas to himself to paint, and the painting gets recognized pretty soon. The ladders are drawn for one to climb quick and take higher roles.
    As an entrepreneur myself for a little over a decade, especially one who has been into education and in particular helping B-school aspirants, I have been following the stories of those who have been excelling in the entrepreneurial arena and also mentoring many youngsters who are entrepreneurial leadership material. I do get invited to speak at various forums, including leading B-Schools, to push the young graduates to think big. My annual lecture series – Dream It! Do It! and Think Big! Start Small! have been much sought after and I travel across the length and breadth of the country addressing 20-30 thousand youth every year.

    There is no question that the future lies here, is amplified by movements like The Indus Entrepeneurs (TIE) and National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN), promoted by the ‘whose who’ of Indian Business, that are engaging B-schools, university campuses and even K-12 school students. During the last three months, Indus World School of Business (IWSB), a B-school that has made name in fostering entrepreneurial leadership, has been proactively supporting an endeavour of TIE in running a programme, TIE Young Entrepreneur (TYE) for school students of grades 9-12. So the nation is catching them young!

    We have many an example in – JUMBOKING Vadapau by Dheeraj Gupta in Mumbai; FOODKING by Sarath Babu in Chennai, Saloni’s DESICREW in Tamilnad, Nirmal Kumar’s G-AUTO in Gujarat, Shweta Chari’s TOYBANK in Mumbai, Kaushalendra’s SAMRIDHI in Bihar, Ishita Khanna’s ECOSPHERE in Spiti, Prashant’s BAMBOO HOUSE in Hyderabad, Rajeev Kher’s SHRAMIK SANITATION in pune, Jaydeep’s RENAINSSANCE AAKAR Ventures in Delhi, Vipresh’s BHAGWATI HERBAL in Aligarh – most of them are endeavours of B-school graduates, that have commenced their operations in the last few years and are leaving a mark on the firmament of the nation. The endeavours such as these that are going to leave a lasting imprint need entrepreneurial leaders to take them to the next orbit.

    Let me give a couple of examples. Arif Hassan, of class of 2010, IWSB, joined a young fast growing NETTPOSITIVE in Bangalore, a business analytics firm, promoted by an IIM Alum. Arif, within a couple of months of joining, has been given responsibility of a revenue center – India operations of a Swedish client in m-commerce and mobile payment services. Rajeev Kher of SHRAMIK SANITATION, that is producing portable toilet solutions to help half of the Indian population that is not having access to toilets, is always on look out for entrepreneurial B-school graduates. Asad Akbar, another class 2010 pass out, says that his decision of joining young setup like CORETREE in Hyderabad, is paying rich dividends, in the sense that he has been entrusted with higher responsibilities and freedom to add value to the organization by being part of core teams.

    Do the remunerations stay behind for taking greater responsibilities? No, never. IWSB, a B-school, which focuses on placing students in the young and fast growing companies, in its maiden placement season has notched a respectable average salary for its class of 2010, at Rs. 5.64 lakhs per annum and got placed among the top-10 B-schools in the country on return on investment – average salary upon fees paid. That shows where the future lies.

    In this last decade alone, the emergence of young entrepreneurs and their contribution to the national economy is quite visible in India. This trend is here to stay. If you are B-school student or for that matter any one, and have a desire to excel, desire to take greater responsibilities and grow faster in life in every sense – learning, materialistic, financially, spiritually – the best place to start your journey now is in the young and fast growing companies. Who knows from taking the challenges that go with such growth centric organizations, you may learn so much in quick time that, you may even wish to start something of your own. That is always a welcome move for you and for the nation too. Jump into this ocean. I am sure even before you realize, you will be swimming quickly and may go on to create your own world, that the world will be very proud of!

    Let us restore the Jannat. Let the heaven thrive : Kashmir

    It is indeed sad to see so many lives being lost. The real players behind the scene are enjoying their hot cup of Kahwa in their cozy cottage…on either side of the fence…

    Where all these things are heading to?

    I have traveled enough in Kashmir to know what the common man on the ground needs, what the youth is looking for in Inderhama outside Srinagar, what the lady in Khumriyal, Kupwara aspires for her son or daughter, what the girl I met in Anatnag wants do in Life, what is to lose the husband or a son, how does it feel to be labelled as a ‘terrorist’, how the ‘terrorist’ saw the other side of the fence, and how he experienced sneaking in and out, what the life out there was…… how does he survive as a taxi driver now, how his family lives now, what do they see as their future after he has joined mainstream….what six months of winter means for livelihood, how do the gentry go from Ladakh to different part of India to gain more…

    I have interacted enough with the stonepelters and rioters, I have interacted enough with those we became victims of the leaders who induce them to do it…

    Have seen enough what the forward looking and hardworking Kashmiri really doing; His way of contributing to the betterment of Kashmir even after recovering from the riddled bullets of a ‘terrorist’, I have seen and interacted while everything else is happening outside…

    What do we really want at the end of the day?

    We need freedom to think, freedom to do, we need opportunities to create opportunities, to realize our dreams and enjoy with the family and well wishers at the end of the day…

    What do we need to do?

    There are many who want to bring a change, who want to see a better tomorrow…. these things are never achieved through stones and bullets… It can happen only if every leader and common man like you and me do not pour emotions out, not talk about vengeance …sit and think what is good and how do we go about it…

    Positive outlook and thinking is the starting point….

    I love Kashmir. I am keen that every Kashmiri youth, every boy and girl shines out there in the world, everyone contributes back to the well being of every other Kashmiri as every Indian is doing…

    Let us all together make it happen,


    Kashmir : http://www.flickr.com/photos/sreenivasan/sets/72157623734915410/

    Ladakh : http://www.flickr.com/photos/sreenivasan/sets/72157620501037091/

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