13 January 2009

Our country understood as a firm by our Freedom Leaders

While reading a very good book named "Business of Freedom" (http://swastiks.blogspot.com) by Mr. Sandeep Singh, a noted author and management leader, I started understanding the depth of thinking of our past leaders. Before I delve into it, let me just point out what in my view takes to run a firm.


a)      A firm will exist for a particular objective called a vision. This is followed by a more specific mission that quantifies the goals.

b)      The firm exists in a particular context we call market and industry conditions and pose threats. The firm can use its bargaining power derived from core values to take care of these threats and also supply and demand conditions.

c)      Driven by demand and supply, the firm uses its strengths to create value utilizing the resources at its disposal.

d)      This work is done by the employees and managers of the firm in accordance with execution plans built within a strategic framework.

e)      The heart of the strategy is the firm's core competence that strings all actions and leads to the attainment of the final objective.


There are a few tacit facts that are essential to drive the successful functioning of a firm:

  1. Proper self assessment is taking place along with understanding of the environment
  2. The cumulative effect of the past is given significant importance in the analysis framework
  3. The decisions taken for the future are rational, free from bias and simple to implement
  4. The leadership of the firm is cognizant about the above factors


Now lets first see how our Freedom Leaders talked about the existence of the essential factors. I request you to understand the statements quoted more in spirit than by content. Matching numbering has been used to aid the reader in correlating points given above with the quotes below.


1. Chakravarti Rajagopalachari wrote in "Conditions of our struggle", "We have achieved great things through non-cooperation but we must now follow other plans in order to consolidate our achievements." It is critical to understand that the real skill lies less in knowing the strategy than in analysing the situation to which it actually applies.


2. Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi wrote in "Prataap weekly" in 1920, "O youth of the country, how many of you have taken a vow to study all the dimensions of religious, social and political issues of the country?... You have the responsibility of construction the Bharat nation... To become a true human being, you should make proper use of your education". He was asking us to create actionable knowledge through continuous feedback for driving our change management.


3. Vinayak Damodar Savarkar said in the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha held in 1937 that "To the Hindus independence of Hinduism can only be worth having if that ensures their Hindutva - their religious, racial and cultural identity". We need to realise that the battle is actually rooted in the mind. We have things to re-learn from followers of other religions.


Bhulabhai Desai said in a speech titled "Why is India what it is today?" in Nagpur University in 1934 that Indian Mind by its society, Indian spirit by its religion, People are the Strategy & structure, Visible Hand and Scale & Scope respectively to be utilised to break the shackles.


4. Manavendra Nath Roy (Lenin called him Indian Marx) said in Dehradun in 1940 that "Gandhiji has all along been the controller of the mass movement. He became the leader of the movement because he was the personification of the ignorance and prejudices of the masses." A lack of leader was also shown by Pandit Nehru in the 1962 china war.

Importance of a leader is aptly captured by the words of Sikh guru Shri Gobind Singh ji, "sava laakh sio ek ladaun" (my one man can fight 1.25 lakh of the enemies)


We can clearly see that our Bharat satisfies all the essential factors. So lets proceed and see how to our Freedom leaders guide us to take the country forward.


a) M.S. Gowalkar has written in his "Bunch of thoughts" about Core values and Purpose. Core values cannot be compromised for petty financial gains or short term expediency. The Permanent is national life. The Impermanent is the individual. The ideal management would be to transform the imparmanent individual into a means to attain the permanent social good.


b) Lala Lajpat Rai told in Mumbai on 20 feb 1920 that "We have been inferior in - capacity to unite, adopting to modern requirements, learning lesson of diplomacy, art of telling lies and art of violence". This is similar to what we have read in Michael Porter's Competitive Advantage of Nations about threat of new entrants, threat of a substitute, rivalry among existing competitors, bargaining power of buyers, bargaining power of suppliers


c) Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherji, Founder of Bharatiya Jan Sangh has told us that "Basic features of a Hindu or Hindustaani society are - Universal god of Satyam (truth), Shivam (bliss), Sundaram (beauty); philosophy of karma and rebirth; balance of rights of individual and society, equal rights and opportunities for all; live and let live; freedom of thought tolerance, respect for learned and elders". Like Japan or Germany, we can stick to our culture and bring paradigm changes in business and industry.


d) Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose said in a speech at the Industries Ministers Conference in 1938, "India is country with resources similar to those of USA... What is needed is their systematic and organized exploitation by us in the best interest of the nation" He was probably the first leader to articulate a policy of population control, provision of state credit for rural population and ambitious plan for industrial development.


Dr. Keshav Baliram Hegdewar, Founder of RSS has echoed his thoughts on the method of execution of such plans when he said "RSS will do nothing, the swayamsevak will do everything". We know that a manager is successful when he has made himself redundant.


e) is what is missing!!! A recall of our core competence is what we need.


We have India as the Fountainhead of knowledge. We need 3S of Strategy, Structure and Systems to work with 3P of Purpose, Process and People. We know our purpose is to earn the highest respect in the world community. What was lacking was about our core competence. The answer is obvious as is the method of finding it. Introspection tells us that we already have the strength of our religion and culture. A revisited version of them is the core competence we are looking for!


I take this opportunity to summarise by a quote.


Shri Aurobindo, "Bhawani Mandir - for the revolutionary preparation of the country", in 1905 said "We have all things else but we are empty of strength, void of energy. We have abandoned Shakti (name for Goddess Maa Durga, read our religion) and therefore abandoned by Shakti (read power and respect)... We need a nucleus of men in whom shakti is developed to its uttermost extent and overflows from their personality to fertilize the earth.” In 1948 he added, “We as a country should not forfeit Swadharma and loose our soul. It would be a tragic irony of fate if India were to throw away her spiritual heritage at the very moment when in the rest of the world there is more and more turning towards her for her spiritual help and saving light."


Jai Hind!

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