Vande Mataram

Saturday, January 10, 2009

What they DON'T teach at Top Business Schools?

Bouquets, brickbats and troubles target the ones who are at the top. The recent crisis in global economy, the recession (Oh! it is slow down.... I'm sorry Mr,Chidambaram. Fine. That's okay, he is no more FM.), the financial mismanagement, the failures of giant companies, the learned and certified people who connive with or show callousness when it comes to fudging in a grand scale, you name it. All these point to the top notch B-Schools, as most of the people involved in such condemnable conducts, in one way or the other, are from the top B-Schools around the world.

Recently rocked Satyam scam raises the suspicion to higher levels. Given fact that most of the top business people are educated in top most B-Schools, we tend to ask what do they teach you at Top B-Schools and what do they not? Not limited to any businesses, all these companies have Top B-School alumni in leadership roles. These are the people who have the genius of overlooking the basics of management, which is quite well known to common man, but in a very much de-jargonized language. "If you give more loan to a person already in debt, he would not be able to repay", is the basic knowledge of laymen, that was overlooked by these elegantly educated experts, which led to the sub prime crisis and resultant global economic downturn.

The paying of bulk bonuses to top executives, irrespective of industry trend or economic trend is another part of this Top B-School culture. Talk at length about sacrifice and inspire people to shed even their shirts in sacrifice, but don't compromise even a dime in your pay is an attitude that would not help the society to live in tranquil. These people with top B-degrees, top notch doctorates, and pay checks those of Godzilla's size, fail to realize the baseline of lifecycle that good or bad things would come to and end. The universal fact that darkness would definitelybe followed by light and vice versa is known to common man, but not to these elite men.

This is a pathetic failure of the education system which doesn't prepare people to accept the adversity as part of human life and endure it with positive thoughts and deeds to make it less painful. The thought process is not developed properly by the education they had, hence whatever they had is not education. The ruin runs thorugh to the rock bottom of the system. Right from the primary school we tell our children that studying will give them a better life. We tend to ignore the fact that education is a life long process, not a preparatory process for life and we pass on this wrong notion to our children also.

The refusal to accept failure is hailed as a fighitng spirit, but the fight against failure is fought without ethics and victory often evades such fighters. A mistake was spotted with the functioning of the home loan system and people at the helm of affairs refused accept failure of their system and made it more complicated with the subprime. Such kind of refusals to accept failures deserve termination from the system.

Unless we do some self analysis, and try to find out our mistakes and correct them, we'll have more crisis of the subprime kind. Business schools and the teachers there shall devote some of their time to educate their students on educating them that there do exist something called non monetary values in human life. What they don't teach you at top B - Schools are the basic facts of human life without which any education will not stand worth, the true sense of the word.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Satyam means lie?

Corporate India is shell shocked with the revelations of the erstwhile CEO of Satyam computers, Ramalinga Raju that he was cooking the books, to a bad palate, with a pathetic recipe. Roars are heard that Raju shall be punished to ensure that such a thought should not come anyone in the India Inc. Screams are deafening our ears from small investors as to why always, they are becoming scape goats in the greedy work of one man or one group.

Legal luminaries go into detail as to how technically the Raju people manipulated the money flow in the company and thus deceived the law. Stories of different nature come from every media projecting Raju as a greedy goon, along with stories those sympathize him as a doting father going to 'any' extent to help his sons with their ailing businesses.

Let us dust our minds off the flashing news items and stunning stories to do a quiet thinking, so that we can come up with some worthy ideas to work upon. Because a quiet minded thinking gives startling revelations on the issue that goes on. Let us do it in a sequential way. Satyam flourishes through the IT boom and Raju emerges as a messiah of IT workmen and his family foundation helps the poor. In his words empowering the rural poor. Well, so far so good. All is well; that goes well.

Then came the bad time. News came that the World Bank has sent Satyam employees off its campus, for some kind of data theft. Reports suggested that every key press in the computers at world bank's head quarters was recorded and copied to a server in an undisclosed location. Reason attributed to this was that, Satyam was expecting some more contracts from WB and they were, out of curiosity, spied on the WB systems to get prior information on the transactions related to their business. Oh! wait a minute. Why should a company spy a client's entire transactions to get to know about it's pending business deals? Don't we have lobbyists to get things done?

We get two versions in attempting to answer this question. Satyam might have thought to save the lobbying expense by getting "insider information" from the world bank, which is a breach of trust and has to be dealt with according to the law that governs the contract. The other version deserves thorough investigation by the law enforcing agencies as there are unanswered questions. Why were the transactions copied and stored in a server at an undisclosed location? Where is that and where the data was transferred from there? What is the real purpose behind that? Given to understand the magnitude of such activities, the terror angle must be probed into.

If it is a bank of a nation, we can conclude that the bank's details could be sold to a rival nation. This is World Bank. W.O.R.L.D. B.A.N.K. Transacting with the entire world. The transactions of the world bank and its secrets are copied and stored in an undisclosed location to be moved off the picture. Satyam had never reacted strongly to this allegation, as a truthful person would do to charges of lying. Just a formal denial and threat of defamation law suit would not suffice to clean your image up, and you won't stop at that point if you're really clean. World Bank is a responsible organization, leave alone their policy matters which is fit to be debated and corrected, to make such a serious allegation casually.

We have intelligence reports that mafia has entered the real estate market in India and the coincidence we have is that the Raju family has invested heavily in real estate, holding to thousands of acres in their home state of Andhra Pradesh. Where did they get the money from? "Maytas has got a lot of projects and has no sufficient funds to execute those projects" was the reason given by Raju for the Maytas-Satyam fiasco. If one had tons of money to buy thousands of acres of land, of course in an inflated price, why could not they sell some of their lands, in a premium price, and get the funds when real estate was in its 'highlands'?

The primary lesson in a criminal investigation is "Disbelieve the obvious". The obvious picture we have is that Ramalinga Raju has fudged the finances of the company he promoted and he has accepted to doing the wrong. One wonders how could a person who was asserting that the Maytas-Satyam fiasco was a bad investment decision days ago, issue a public statement that he had attempted to fudge the companies finances and had miserably failed in it? The moot question is that what Raju is trying to hide by accepting disgrace in public for a business fraud. Given to understand the WB episode and the swindling of money from Satyam, there is a mammoth scope for the CBI and the NIA to investigate, with the help of IB and RAW of course, on what has happened, what could be the consequences, and to identify the who is who of this episode.

But let me reiterate my firm belief that the company Satyam, must go on. The liquidation of the company would have a severe strain on the economy during this volatile economic period. Investigate Raju and conduits. Bring them to books. Help Satyam to come out of this bad time and let the concern going.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Con the Military - Our leaders are peace lovers!!!

We the people of India's globalized generation, do not care much about the history of our nation, which, for the past 1000 years, had been a political conquest for one or the other aggressor. Every military aggression, every economic loot, every political conquest was because of the blunders of our military strategists. Our history, if carefully read, teaches that whenever we have given a callous treatment to those who pledge their lives to save the nation, we lose ourselves to the enemy aggressor. The leadership today has no hind sight, no fore sight, the only sight it has is vote sight. People those who man the corridors of power are puppets in the hands of behind the scene operators, who in turn fail to articulate the national feel. Reasons for such an indifference could be attributed from nationality to personality.

Right from early 1000s AD we saw the rise of invasion and with a scrutiny of the battles those took place with the recorded history and legends, we find that the military blunders of generosity during war to undeserving enemies, cost us most dear. Prithviraj Chauhan made a blunder of not killing Muhammad Shahab-Ud-Din Ghori after the First Battle of Tarain. That cost us most dear with that greedy fellow coming again with an army of 120000 men and smashing the then-in-feud Rajput forces. The culture of pardoning the loser, not attacking those leave the battle field, etc were not to be shown to such invaders who come to amass the wealth we had.

Our culture was spoiled by the aggressors. Our temples were ransacked and ruined, because we kept most of our valued wealth there. Right from the pre-Somnath days, history tells us, that the people had united to save their soil, but not the leaders. The massacre at Somnath by Mahmud of Ghazni, before he looted it speaks in volume about this. Take any aggression in history, the leaders, after an initial failure had given up. The spirit to fight to the end was lacking in our leaders, may be due to the sophistication they enjoyed in lifestyle.

The civilization was at it's peak, so it was obvious that a decline had to start per the law of life cycle. But, the spirit to save the people, the honor, and the culture was lacking. They had fought for their kingdoms and if lost they quit. None ever thought of a collective armed forces to face the enemy. But we had impeccable talents. The cavalry of Rajputs, the Navy of Cholas and the tactical genius of our Kings and their Generals, were wasted with infighting. The concept of a grand military force to fight any invasion was not even thought of. The powerful religious leaders, who enjoyed warm hospitality even with hostile kings, had not come up with this idea.

The British paid good money and attention to the Indians in the armed forces, because they needed people to fight for them in the world wars, since they had better been able to jaw jaw than war war due to their age. Even then, we were instructed to be subservient to the British officers. A Briton with a month's training would command an Indian veteran in the army. Such was their administration.

Even after independence in 1947, our peace loving leaders paid scant attention to the needs of the armed forces. We have a legend that the defense minister had refused to sanction money for proper dress materials to brave the icy climate of Siachen and had to be taken to Siachen to realize that such a cold climate needs something more than a sweater and shawl. The armed forces were looked upon with contempt as undemocratic, anti-socialistic, and war mongering elements. But the fact that most of the socialistic economies thrived on the power of armed forces and intelligence agencies, were not realized by our peace loving and friendship mongering leaders.

We blundered by submitting the already won Kashmir to the UN arbitration in 1948. The soldiers who fought for us to push back the aggressors, were left to eat crows. When we were back stabbed in 1962 by China, our people realized that propagating peace with anyone and everyone would not be enough to live in peace. The lesson given to us by the Chinese aggression was to be strong enough to defend ourselves, before propagating global peace. But was that lesson learnt? NO is the answer.

During the 1965 war with Pakistan our forces captured land uptil Karachi, but we had settled for a status quo, in a deal brokered by an international terrorist, even though we had an option of settling the Kashmir issue favorably then. There are differences between intelligence version and the official story on the reason for the death of our then PM Lal Bahadur Shastri in Tashkent. We're peace lovers, so we did not even inquire into that.

We supported Mukti Bahini and liberated Bangladesh, but yet our forces suffer humiliating tortures from Bangla army and our leaders protest that in strongest possible words and go on with the routine life. Above all, our politicians play vote bank politics with the Bangla refugees, given fact that we fought a war to send them back to their piece of land.

After Kargil, we welcomed Pervez Musharraf as a state guest, but any other nation in the world would have tried him as a war criminal had he done the same to them. With all these wars fought and won, we still gave back all the captured territory (to be used as training ground for anti-India terrorists?) and speak about peace. This is the respect we show to the men who dared death in fighting for us, to set right the political mistakes we've committed. This tells in the dwindling number of our men out of college and school preferring a career with our armed forces.

As General Douglas MacArthur said, The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.” With politicians who care for a perfect photo shot while laying wreath on the corpse, we cannot expect respect for the corps. No one would choose to die for being disrespected, ridiculed and belittled. A politician commands more respect amongst the civil servants and Government officers than a soldier. The Honor, Duty and Country were given as motivating factors to military men, but when the honor is off, the duty to save the country would be a trouble to do. A nation which had dishonored the saviors had never lived with honor and in peace.

Why am I swearing and lamenting so much? Because again our politicians, with a history of sidelining armed forces for petty, short term and self centric benefits, have again played bloody politics with them. The Government has downgraded the military with the sixth pay commission and refused to correct it still. The bureaucrats who are famous for their sloth have been given an upper hand over the Army.

Till recently, for any meeting of national security importance, army/navy/air force officers would call the police and other civil administration officers in the concerned locality and address them. Now having the military downgraded, there would be a clash of ranks. The Civil service officers,
renowned for their indolence backed by the rule book, would procrastinate decision of national importance, citing their rank and the way they are addressed by the military.

The pay and pension for the armed forces are also compromised, with the denial of One Rank One Pension, a longtime demand of the armed forces. The OROP is an issue of emotional importance to them and we've initiated yet another round of insults to the armed forces with the denial of this. Our politicians have thought that the army could also be taken for a ride as they do with their vote bank, promise ever but fullfil never. If the armed forces lose their morale, hopefully they have not, we would be finished as a nation. That fateful moment is not far off, as gentlemen keep off the armed forces and officers keep on getting insults.

I have the audacity to say that "had my nation been ruled by a person, born and brought up in my nation, at least my brothers in the armed forces would not have suffered this insult". My rulers are obedient servants of their masters. Masters of my rulers are alien to my cultural ethos. I pray to God that He initiate a change in the mindsets of my people to save my nation.