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So far Vinayshil Gautam has created 57 blog entries.

Indian Nationhood thrives amid diversity

Despite regional differences and identity quests, the strength of Indian nationhood persists, supported by a dedication to constitutional values and productive conversations

There is much talk about the nature of change in all aspects of Indian life, as is natural in changes envisaged at such a large scale. There are bound to be differences of opinion, multiple articulations, and an attempt to project one’s point of view. This is how it should be. This is amplified by the Sanskrit dictum “Vade Vade Jayat Tatva Bodhah” (through discussion one arrives at the truth). However, discussion must follow a protocol. This protocol is often unwritten and is a bedrock of any civil society. It has some enduring principles. The first and foremost of which would be that it cannot be and must not be abusive. 

The right to civil disagreement in a civil manner is the foundation of a civil society. Thus, it is that mutual respect and agreeing to disagree are required as essential to civil discourse. 

One can add to it, for good measure, certain other attributes and certain attributes of the mind. These attributes recognise the need to not only listen but honestly weigh the merits of another person’s point of view […]

By |2024-02-28T14:48:10+00:00February 23rd, 2024|Columns, Economics & Development|Comments Off on Indian Nationhood thrives amid diversity

Establishing meaningful educational priorities

The intricate balance between practical demands of commercial relevance and scholarly aspirations within management education reflects the ever-changing nature of academia

A lot of management text and advice is common-sensical. It is common sense if one agrees that the basic objective of management is a propulsion of commercial interest. That this proposition may itself be in doubt is another matter altogether. There is no substantial reason to see commerce as the domain of all management activities. If the purpose of management efforts is business management, then to some extent, it can become an extenuative logic because, at least, the assumption there is to focus on the optimization of business.

However, there is business and business; manufacturing can be a business but has a veneer of its own. It does not cover the business of ideas, and the business of ideas can be a specialization of its own, especially when it comes to being focused on education, financial exchanges, the exchange of news, and indeed exchange of money in stock exchanges. Thus, it is that business management has many forms of focus and interest. To cover all of it is difficult in a simple MBA program spread over 1200 to 1300 contact hours.

This […]

By |2024-02-28T14:51:45+00:00February 9th, 2024|Economics & Development|0 Comments

Holistic national educational outlook

India’s education system faces critical challenges, particularly in postgraduate education, and raises questions about policies’ coherence

Education in India is passing through, once again, a seminal phase in its growth. Since 1947, it has passed through several phases of change and each phase has had its own tale to tell.

Generally, education is seen in three phases: school education, college education and postgraduate education. School education is broadly divided into three areas, classes 1 to 5, generally known as primary school; classes 5-10 middle school, and classes 10-12, secondary school. These are not rigid levels but are loosely used for classification and easy communication.

The college-level education is from 1st year to 3rd year, which leads to a bachelor’s degree and 4th year and 5th year, which leads to a postgraduate degree. The doctoral education could thereafter follow. Institutions are known to specialise amongst these various segments and acquire a brand for that. In school education, some do offer class 1 to class 12 education, and there are others who also offer pre-class 1 education which can be termed as a nursery stage.

Postgraduate education, especially after a master’s degree has been normally followed by at least 1 year pre-Ph.Dwork and at least 2 […]

By |2024-02-28T14:54:20+00:00January 18th, 2024|Columns, Economics & Development|0 Comments

Social practices in changing times

Today, changes are taking place at a fast pace, often demanding a paradigm shift in the mindset and the policy framework to manage that change. It is not always easy

It is generally agreed that change is the law of life. The body changes, the mind changes, the environment changes, and so does everything else. It is creating a synergy amongst the different paces of change of different entities that is a core concern for management action. The response to this concern needs tactics, the conglomerate of tactics makes for a strategy, and putting together various strategies leads to a policy. The long and short of it is putting the proposition on its feet.

This cyclical insight into the management of change is one of the core propositions of management. Management action itself is embedded in an environment. This environment in recent history has also, been changing at an unprecedented pace over the last century or so. The two world wars contributed to the need for theories related to the management of change. The Second World War and its conclusion led to many wars across the globe. They were over the de-construction of empires and a new kind of war, which was […]

By |2024-02-28T14:58:41+00:00January 4th, 2024|Heritage & Indianess|0 Comments

Paradigm shift in management learning

The interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary character is the crux of management education. Different tools are needed in different use cases

The issues in the growth of management educational institutions are many. To begin with, it is on account of varying understanding about the nature of ‘management’, as a discipline. The subject area is itself relatively recent and it found a place in educational institutions between the two world wars. The research traditions are, also, relatively young and area-wise variations in the methods of research are many. Many who have a management degree were at the best taught to be managers and those skills are not always the same as what may be needed for teaching management.

There are also variations on account of the nature of the management of educational institutions. Management has been attempted to be taught in general education institutions, agricultural sciences institutions, medical institutions, single discipline institutions and other types of institutions. The antiquity of such institutions, their administrative structure, their market-relatedness, their brand pulls and more are of varying nature.

It is generally believed that management education, in its original incarnation, began as ‘labor studies’. ‘Leadership’ was then not a fashionable area of research or teaching. As it so happens […]

By |2024-02-29T10:20:07+00:00December 11th, 2023|Columns, Economics & Development|0 Comments

The cornerstone of all relationships

Whether lying gets you to hell or not, the truth is that credibility is the foundations of all relationships which must be protected at all costs

The essence of life is credibility. There is a story from the Mahabharata where there was an announcement in the battle to the effect of “Ashwatthama Hatow” (Ashwatthama is dead). The play on the name Ashwatthama was intended. There was an elephant by the name of Ashwatthama, and the name of the son of Dronacharya was Ashwatthama. Therefore, it was not clear from the announcement who died: was it the man or the elephant? In the middle of the battle, Dronacharya heard this announcement and is reported to have opined, Let Yudhishthira say this.

The essence was simple: Yudhishthira being the ‘truthful’ man, was expected not to not lie on this. When evoked by the Dronacharya, Yudhishthira said in a loud voice, “Ashwatthama Hatow: ha Iti, Naro va Kunjaro va naiw Janamee” (Ashwatthama is dead, whether it is a man or an elephant, I can’t say). Shri Krishna knew that Yudhishthira was going to say this. To fool Dronacharya, strategically, as soon as Yudhishthira said Narova… he blew his conch. In the sound of the conch, […]

By |2024-02-29T10:24:47+00:00November 23rd, 2023|Columns, Contemporary|0 Comments

Language: Emotional connect and more

Languages growing simultaneously in any society are a binding force. Language cannot be a reason for mutual exclusion and antipathy

Communication is central to all living entities. Plants communicate; creatures and animals communicate; and, of course, human beings communicate. They communicate not only amongst themselves but also across different categories and species. The examples are many, the illustrations are numerous, hence, there is no need to over-emphasise this aspect of communication. The big concern is not with the act of communication but with the modes of communication.

For example, the uses and anatomy of communication among plants are well mapped, but there are not many who attempted an extensive research study of plant communication.

There are some exceptions, especially in the form of references and awareness. Illustratively, Kalidasa, in his epic drama ‘Abhigyan Shakuntalam’, would have us believe that when Shakuntala was leaving the ‘Tapovana’ (the hermitage) of Sage ‘Kanva’, the creepers of the jungle wrapped themselves around Shakuntala to bid an emotional farewell. What Shakuntala said would probably never be known, but it was obvious that sentiments and expressions were involved. The creepers wrapped themselves around Shakuntala as a kind of embrace and communication medium. Like an electronic system, the system of […]

By |2024-02-29T10:28:20+00:00November 8th, 2023|Columns|0 Comments

For fulfilling life, accept it as it comes

Life is a strange experience not only because of its brevity but also for the disproportionate sense of importance that people ascribe to their own being

Assuming that the average life of an individual is about 80–90 years (at an optimistic level) the proportional level of work experience may not be more than about 40 years or so. This calculation is difficult to derive empirically but is common meniscal if you consider the following: One spends about one-third (1/3) of the 80 or 90 years simply sleeping or taking rest; another 1/5 is spent eating, dressing, commuting, and all that goes with it. The first 10 years or so before adulthood are part of growing up. A rough calculation like the one in the preceding lines would show that even the figure of 40 years of operational active life is a generous projection and assessment of the years allotted to ‘experience’. Of these 40 years’ a substantial part is spent preparing for life, such as studying, searching for information, and more. Hence, the conclusion is that roughly, only, about 50% is the active man-years in a human life of 80-90 years.

To spend this on feeling jealous, being petty, or simply idling […]

By |2024-02-29T11:57:53+00:00October 19th, 2023|Columns|0 Comments

The alternate philosophy of ‘The World is one’

India is the most populous country in the world, and like many situations, this fact can be perceived both as an advantage and a disadvantage. Indeed, as many realise, everything in life possesses dual aspects of advantage and disadvantage, simultaneously. It all depends on one’s perspective. Given the constraints of our context, it is desirable to avoid delving into side discussions. Therefore, let us focus on the issue of India: its vast size and its immense population.

Geographically, from Kutch to Kamrup and from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, a population of 1.42 billion people is encompassed, representing a cross-section of civilisations spanning from ancient times to the present. It is reported that in certain hilly districts of the country, tribes still subsist using only the bow and arrow, untouched by generations of progress. In a country where such diversity exists, there is also the remarkable achievement of Chandrayaan and the upcoming mission to the sun. Numerous other examples highlight India’s significant contributions to the world.

In many ways, India leads the way in value-based behavior and fostering a higher level of commitment to a more evolved global order. In a country as diverse as India, as mentioned earlier, there exist civilisations of all […]

By |2024-02-28T15:03:07+00:00September 10th, 2023|Columns, Contemporary|0 Comments

Enmeshing AI with human intelligence

Left unattended and not embedded in the inevitable ‘human’ context, Artificial Intelligence can be dangerous and misleading, to say the least

Artificial Intelligence’ is the flavour of the season. There is a competitive pitch in making a bid for it, claiming expertise and establishing one’s felicity in this area. Everyone feels the need to establish a claim to the slice of the pie. It is understandable because that is how fashions go.

It is difficult to fight fashions because it establishes primacy, gains resources and tends to set the norm. ‘Artificial Intelligence’ somehow has come to denote a higher and upgraded level of existence, cognition and expertise. The point that needs to be paid attention is that artificial intelligence is not ‘auto-generative’. At best, it is based on certain felicity to combine and recombine elements and building blocks like codes. It cannot ‘think’, in a manner of speaking, in an ‘original manner’. Combining or recombining constituents depends upon the strength and potential of the algorithm on which it works or is constructed.

This makes it look ‘original’ when in reality, as noted above, it is only the outcome of various permutations and more essential building blocks. This by itself is an achievement. It […]

By |2024-02-28T17:11:47+00:00September 2nd, 2023|Columns, Economics & Development|0 Comments
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