Sunday, December 30, 2007

Innovation, can I too innovate ??

Innovation : what is it ??

This has been a question haunting me for years. Is innovation only for the clear and sharp minded ? What is the problem if I continue doing the usual monotonous things ? How will innovation benefit me, in my work, at my workplace ? Can it make me a better individual ? Does it help to motivate others to work better and smarter ?

I came across this simple definition to Innovation from www.johnstark,com - Innovation has occured when any aspect of a product, process or service provides an improved solution to a need. If the clerk in the bank where I go fir banking come up with forms which have been partially filled with dates for customers, I would say she has innovated. Incremental innovation is different from radical innovation. If one keeps a positive mind to innovate continuously, he/she can think of incremental innovation in he product or process or service he/she is carrying out.

We always have some need or the other, need for a product, a process to manufacture a product or carry out a task or service. We satisfy this need by some means by offering some solution. If we succeed in giving an improved solution to this need, then we are innovating.

Why do we innovate ?

The need for innovation is felt when we are under pressure to improve the output, reduce the costs, penetrate the market by offering a better product to the customer in terms of quality, reliability and maintainability, increased demand and less production capacity ( more items needed from a limited production capacity) , increased demand for a particular service ( more customers coming to a bank for withdrawing cash) and so on. Unless there is pressure we would not worry about innovation. Constant innovation by implementing new and updated technologies is another way by which companies are able to raise their output or productivity or reduce inputs. 

Can Innovation be a way of life ?

Yes, very much. If we understand what are the steps involved in innovating, we can carefully follow those steps and begin our very first steps in innovation.

Different stages of Innovation
Need to innovate : In our daily life we come across many situations where we have felt the need to do things and have products performing better. This is the basic urge which is the moving force behind any process of innovation.

Idea creation - come up with a idea on how to improve the product or process or service from the existing method. Unless one is open to listening to other people, watching others perform, being appreciative of others, we cannot really get any good idea of innovation.Having good empathy of the customer need in a product, process or service will help one to be very effective in generating new ideas.

Development  The next step involves transforming the idea into a practical proposition. This may involve thinking over and over again, regarding the inputs which go into it, the outputs, possible opposition, possible hurdles in implementation, top management support, public acceptance and so on. The idea will undergo major changes at this stages of iteration.

Commercialization  Once the idea has been developed into a pratical idea, seeing through its implementation and potential benefits is very important. Because ideas can remain brilliant and still remain on drawing boards unless they are put into action. This is a very critical area.


George Easaw PhD

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Obituary on Benazir Bhutto from BBC ..

Obituary: Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto
Ms Bhutto had a volatile political career

Benazir Bhutto followed her father into politics, and both of them died because of it - he was executed in 1979, she fell victim to an apparent suicide bomb attack.

Her two brothers also suffered violent deaths.

Like the Nehru-Gandhi family in India, the Bhuttos of Pakistan are one of the world's most famous political dynasties. Benazir's father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was prime minister of Pakistan in the early 1970s.

His government was one of the few in the 30 years following independence that was not run by the army.

Born in 1953 in the province of Sindh and educated at Harvard and Oxford, Ms Bhutto gained credibility from her father's high profile, even though she was a reluctant convert to politics.

She was twice prime minister of Pakistan, from 1988 to 1990, and from 1993 to 1996.

Stubbornness

On both occasions she was dismissed from office by the president for alleged corruption.

The dismissals typified her volatile political career, which was characterised by numerous peaks and troughs. At the height of her popularity - shortly after her first election - she was one of the most high-profile women leaders in the world.

Young and glamorous, she successfully portrayed herself as a refreshing contrast to the overwhelmingly male-dominated political establishment.

But after her second fall from power, her name came to be seen by some as synonymous with corruption and bad governance.

Asif Zardari going to court
Asif Zardari has faced numerous corruption charges

The determination and stubbornness for which Ms Bhutto was renowned was first seen after her father was imprisoned by Gen Zia ul-Haq in 1977, following a military coup. Two years later he was executed after a much criticised trial on charges of conspiring to murder a political opponent.

Ms Bhutto was imprisoned just before her father's death and spent most of her five-year jail term in solitary confinement. She described the conditions as extremely hard.

During stints out of prison for medical treatment, Ms Bhutto set up a Pakistan People's Party office in London, and began a campaign against General Zia.

She returned to Pakistan in 1986, attracting huge crowds to political rallies.

After Gen Zia died in an explosion on board his aircraft in 1988, she became one of the first democratically elected female prime ministers in an Islamic country.

Corruption charges

During both her stints in power, the role of Ms Bhutto's husband, Asif Zardari, proved highly controversial.

He played a prominent role in both her administrations, and has been accused by various Pakistani governments of stealing millions of dollars from state coffers - charges he denies, as did Ms Bhutto herself.

Many commentators argued that the downfall of Ms Bhutto's government was accelerated by the alleged greed of her husband.

None of about 18 corruption and criminal cases against Mr Zardari has been proved in court after 10 years. But he served at least eight years in jail.

He was freed on bail in 2004, amid accusations that the charges against him were weak and going nowhere.

Ms Bhutto also steadfastly denied all the corruption charges against her, which she said were politically motivated.

She faced corruption charges in at least five cases, all without a conviction, until amnestied in October 2007.

General Musharraf
President Pervez Musharraf granted Ms Bhutto and others an amnesty

She was convicted in 1999 for failing to appear in court, but the Supreme Court later overturned that judgement.

Soon after the conviction, audiotapes of conversations between the judge and some top aides of then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif were discovered that showed that the judge had been under pressure to convict.

Ms Bhutto left Pakistan in 1999 to live abroad, but questions about her and her husband's wealth continued to dog her.

She appealed against a conviction in the Swiss courts for money-laundering.

During her years outside Pakistan, Ms Bhutto lived with her three children in Dubai, where she was joined by her husband after he was freed in 2004.

She was a regular visitor to Western capitals, delivering lectures at universities and think-tanks and meeting government officials.

Army mistrust

Ms Bhutto returned to Pakistan on 18 October 2007 after President Musharraf signed into law an ordinance granting her and others an amnesty from corruption charges.

Observers said the military regime saw her as a natural ally in its efforts to isolate religious forces and their surrogate militants.

She declined a government offer to let her party head the national government after the 2002 elections, in which the party received the largest number of votes.

In the months before her death, she had emerged again as a strong contender for power.

Some in Pakistan believe her secret talks with the military regime amounted to betrayal of democratic forces as these talks shored up President Musharraf's grip on the country.

Others said such talks indicated that the military might at long last be getting over its decades-old mistrust of Ms Bhutto and her party, and interpreted it as a good omen for democracy.

Western powers saw in her a popular leader with liberal leanings who could bring much needed legitimacy to Mr Musharraf's role in the "war against terror".

Unhappy family

Benazir Bhutto was the last remaining bearer of her late father's political legacy.

Her brother, Murtaza - who was once expected to play the role of party leader - fled to the then-communist Afghanistan after his father's fall.

From there, and various Middle Eastern capitals, he mounted a campaign against Pakistan's military government with a militant group called al-Zulfikar.

He won elections from exile in 1993 and became a provincial legislator, returning home soon afterwards, only to be shot dead under mysterious circumstances in 1996.

Benazir's other brother, Shahnawaz - also politically active but in less violent ways than Murtaza - was found dead in his French Riviera apartment in 1985.


Friday, December 28, 2007

Pak Opposition Leader Benazir goes off ...



Quite sad and tragic. A burning torch of democracy is gone from us.

In about two weeks time there would have been a major change for democracy in Pakistan if Gen Musharraf had no plans to rig the elections in his favour. But fate had it another way.

She was brave and was the real promise for Pakistan to get back to democracy. Even though she and her husband were accused of bribery and corruption charges, she braved against all odds and returned to Pakistan. In the very firsy meeting itself in the first explosion about 140 people were killed.

She was not provided enough security, that is what we need to conclude. She did not die of bullet wounds but while ducking the bullets, the shock of the explosion was so much that her head banged against a lever of the window through which she made her appearance.

Sad for Pakistan and democracy ..



ge..



Thursday, December 27, 2007

St Pius X,कुत्तिकनाम,मरियन ऎंड MBC ..







Here are the snaps of St Pius X School, Kuttikanam, Marian College, Kuttikanam and Mar Baselios Xian College of Engg and Tech, Kuttikanam ( run by the Malankara Orthodox church), in that order..

ge..

Daughter and our dog , Silky ..






Here is the snap of our Labrador Retriever female dog, Silky , taken at Peermade, Kerala on 26 Dec 2007.

The second snap is of Susan, our daughter with Silky. Susan is in the third standard in St Pius, Kuttikanam, Peermade. Silky is Susan's pet and Susan loves Silky very much ..


Silky is a pure breed Labrador Retriever, one year old, desert cream colour purchased from a dog breeder in Calicut, Kerala.


ge..

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Trip to Mullaperiyar dam, Xmas day, 2007 and boating..

Deer grazing i
an eagle perched on an old tree branch..
A bison ..
It was exactly a year back during the Christmas of 2006 that we went to Thekkady in Kerala, across the river Periyar, with the hope of going for a boat ride.. But the tourist rush was very heavy and we had to return after just seeing the monkeys, horses and so on. My co-brother Biju, sunila and kids also were with us. All had to return disappointed.

But that was not how the Xmas of 2007 was going to be. Invited by our neighbour Adv Sabu Thomas, we went out to Thekkady and this is the catchment area of Mullaperiyar dam.

At 3.30 PM in the boat jetty at Thekkady we met our host Adv Sabu Thomas, whom we thought had missed on the way from Peermade to Thekkady in the afternoon of 25 Dec 2007. Sabu and wife Maya then herded all of us, his friends and relatives too, to the entrance of the jetty. Adv Sabu Thomas has been winning a lot of cases in Kerala for the Tamil Nadu govt and he is their silver eyed boy. He gets royal treatment in Periyar sanctuary - in the bargain we too

We got into the small boat, about 15 seater of the Tamil Nadu PWD dept and were off on our wild animal view trip royally. The driver of the boat Murali was eager to point us to the herds of deers, bisons, wild boars, tortoises, otters, the water birds and its nests with baby birds inside it. The stubs of trees which were submerged about 112 years back provided the stem for the birds to make these majestic nests in the midst of water. A royal trip of about 10 nautical miles right upto the Mullaperiyar dam. There were lot of things which I did not know of. It was very pleasant sitting next to the driver of the boat and asking him all sorts of doubts and questions, like a child asking it's parents. It was an inquisitive session getting to clear all doubts which would help me write this blog very accurately.

It was in 1884, Penny Cuic, an Irish gentleman, who was working with the British govt who first spotted the potential of the Periyar wildlife sanctuary and planned the project to dam the river ( even though the concept of using it for power generation came later). PennyCuic's intention was to dam the Periyar river and use it for irrigating the water scare parts of Tamil Nadu and protect the wild life around it for posterity. The project conceived in 1885 got over in 1895 costing about rupees forty three lacs of rupees ( about Rs 1000crores in present value).

Unlike the Iduki dam built by the Canadians, the Periyar dam, has the dam and the sluice gates for letting out the water separate. While going in the boat we could first sight the sluice gates, through which water is released to TamilNadu and then the dam which stores the water. The reservoir varies in it's depth from 30 feet at the boat landing to 130 feet near the dam. When we went the water was about 134 feet. At 138 ft the sluice gates are opened. Else this is great risk for the 112 year old dam built using limestone.

This is the main point of contention between the governments of TN and Kerala. Kerala wants to protect the wildlife sanctuary and the people living downstream while TN wants the dam to raise the water level and store more water to be used in the summer months to irrigate agricultural lands right upto Madurai. Even after many Supreme court cases, the issue has been left to Kerala and TN governments to decide among themselves by discussions. See the predicament of Tamil Nadu, it has to fight with Karnataka for water from Cauvery and with Kerala for water from the Periyar, what a sad state of affairs !! But compared to all other South Indian states Tamil Nadu is one of the most fast developing states. That speaks about the enterprise of the people there..

The water in the dam is spread over 10.21 sq miles while the forests are over 770 sq
miles. The catchment area of the dam is about 220 sq miles. Before being submerged, the Periyar area was dense forest. The tall trees which got submerged in the water even today stand up in the water, telling it's story of a hundred and twelve years under water plus it's another forty fifty years above water !! How many people and boats has it seen and how many rains and summer has it weathered?


ThePeriyar sanctuary is also an elephant preserve. Elephants come down from the forest to the&nbsp ; water side during summer months to drink water. We were unlucky in December, but our boat driver was telling us how just two days back he was fortunate enough to see eight elephants swimming across the reservoir, from one end to the other, right in front of the boat.

After an hour of boating, we werefortunate enough to go right upto the Mullaperiyar dam, usually visitors are not taken up to that point, we returned to our starting point. By 5.30  PM we were back in our car heading back for home. It was a memorable trip.

There are two places in Idukki district which I wanted to visit badly, Munnar and Mullapriyar. Mullaperiyar I have already done now, only Munnar is remaining. Having come to Idukki I would have felt real bad if I had not visited even one of these places.

The kids were eagerly looking for an outing during their Xmas holidays and Anila and I were so happy that we could take them for this unforgettable boating experience. Snaps and video clips will follow on this site as soon as I am able to download them from our canon digicam.

If you find the information given here was good enough to motivate you to plan the next holiday to Thekkady, do drop me a line to collect more details.

George..

Friday, December 21, 2007

Xmas celebrations at XIME.. 20 Dec 2007.









(The choir members - back row L to R, Neethu, Oliver, Vineeta, Shana and Priyanka, front row L to R, Preethi, Sukanya, Sue Ann, Shirisha, Miriam and Anju, the guitarist Anoop Samuel and me too..)

20 Dec 2007 was the day when Economics paper got over for the first year students at XIME. And it was the right day for them to celebrate Xmas with their friends and faculty.

The students were practicing the xmas carols for the past one week and were eagerly waiting for this day.

Finally at 4.30 PM , the President Prof Philip, Mrs Philip, Secretary Kuncheria and Mrs Kuncheria and Director Prof Panduranga Rao along with other faculty members and students got together in the auditorium.

The carol group started their songs.

All the usual numbers were there. After the cake cutting the carols continued. The favourite of the day was the masala dosa for the students. An automatic machine was brought from the city, which could make 6 dosas in 2 minutes.  Students had as much as three or four per student, no dinner please !!

It was a very enjoyable evening, with santa claus around, added to the cheer of the students.

The youngsters were very jolly and refreshed after the programme.



george..

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Common guidelines - SUPA at XIME ..



Socially Useful Productive Activities ( SUPA) at XIME is a valuable social training for the students. Among other things, the experience helps them to have a broad awareness of the effects of managerial decisions on the socially deprived communities. 

XIME is among the very few B-schools in the country to have such social work incorporated in the curriculum. This is because we believe that Managers have an obligation not just to the corporates but also to the society to which they belong. The training they get from the social organisations helps them to get a broad idea of the effects of their decisions on the socially deprived communities.  

The broad guidelines of what could be done during the three week period from Dec 30 to January 20 are set out below. 

1. Exploring potential for funding sources for the NGO or the Organisation concerned.

2. Meeting up with potential donors and explaining to them the benefits of donating.

3. Preparing documentation needed by the Income Tax department to consider exemption from IT of any donation made to the organisation.

4. Liasoning with government departments for relaxatation of any taxes/levies /duties levied on the organisation.

5. Improve public awarness by designing websites and registering e-mail ids, by training people to check their e-mails and reply to them, training people to update their organisation website and designing/DTP for pamphlets/handouts for the organisation.

6. Finding suitable job/productive work in surrounding areas which could generate revenue and promote a feeling of self respect for the inmates, given their physical and mental capabilities.

7.  Studying the organisation structure and recommending changes / revamp.

8. Try to redefine the objectives of the organisation and how much the present structure is able to achieve.

9. Finding out how much of each rupee is gainfully and wastefully spent - analysing overhead expenses and real benefits.

10. Scouting around for sources of lower interest rates for capital loans taken by the organisation.

11. Writing project proposal for funding critical activities by external funding organisations.

12. Write articles for publication in major magazines and newspaperes about the positive work being done by the organsation.

13. Organising recreational/cultural activities for the inmates of the organisation.

14. Procuring/training inmates to operate and maintain satellite TV/Computers/Internet etc.

15. Purchase/maintain indoor games for the physical well being of the inmates.

16. Streamlining / preparing documentation for adoption of children from the orphanages. 

The students are requested to take photographs of the organisation and it's activities and attach them to the writeups / reports which they are required to submit on their return to the Institute on January 21. Students are required to keep a daily diary of activities during the 3 weeks.  

A mid-term report (after one and a half weeks) of the work is also required to be submitted by the students to the e-mail id       deanxime@gmail.com.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Fighting to be called backward ..

' India must be the only country in the world where people fight to be called backward '

This was told by one of the top industrialists in the country, NRNM of Infy. Yes it is indeed a sad reflection of the state of our polity. The crave for government jobs which allow enough corruption and lethargy, ensuring security for a lifetime, is but a sad state of affairs.

There are very few forward castes in the country, all take pride in being called backward so that they can corner the benefits of reservation. They can ensure seats for their children in the best professional institutions in the country. Politicians also play the game targeting the voter base, getting the people continue or migrate to the lower strata.

The caste system is prevalent now but all castes are trying to go down instead of going up. They know that is where the dough is, not on top. Take pride in being a lower caste. How times have changed. Earlier only the scheduled and scheduled tribes formed backward castes, but now, even the more advanced castes in the states take pride in being called other backward castes (OBCs).


Finally we will have a system where almost the whole population would be backward, let us hope the nation still goes forward then..

ge..

Monday, December 17, 2007

A discussion with Prof Gopal Rao, XIME.

It was two weeks back, in early Dec 07, that I sat for a meeting with the French students Carol and Priyanka Shah from the Euromed Business School in Marseilles, France and Prof Gopal Rao. It was just a few weeks since Prof Gopal Rao had joined in the faculty of Finance at Xavier Institute of Management and En'ship , Bangalore.

Prof Gopal Rao is a PR of Singapore and a citizen of India. He graduated from IIM Bangalore in 1975-77 and has been working in different capacities in Singapore and US. His global reach is evident from the fact that he talks so flawlessly regarding international finance. His knowledge of the global financial system was simply marvelous. The way he talked of the US dollar and Euro significance, the financial system of the world which was going through one crisis to the next was interesting. How Japan made use of it's foreign exchange reserves to buy part of US and what China has started doing and what India should also be doing, was everything new to me. The discussion on the sub prime crisis in the US and it's impact of the housing system in US was very thought provoking. The comments on the French and European colonial mindset got me thinking read deep.

I enjoyed every minute of the talk and am thankful to Prof Rao for opening me to the exciting world of global finance, now that India has started playing an important role in the global economy.

ge..

Benefits of mild walking ..

There is no aerobic exercise like walking. Walking is beneficial to the human body.

Brisk walking is going to accelerate the blood flow and increase the heart beat and get the heart work better. Doctors say at least 30 minutes of increased heart beat lets the blood flow in the arteries with greater force, clearing up the arteries and in turn clearing the blood flow in the circulation system in the body.

Slow walking recommended for recovering patients and old people, besides keeping the blood flowing in the body, relaxes the muscles and ligaments at the joints helping in the responses of the body to improve. The flexibility also improves.

Ever since I started walking in the evenings or mornings, at least two to three kilometres at a stretch, I found that it gave me a terrific feel good feeling. Morning walks besides giving you that fresh feeling, also keeps one active throughout the whole day. It is like a hidden reserve of energy has been tapped and till the end of the day, we find the body is energetic and active. If the walking is in the evening, besides the feel good factor, it also gives a feeling of confidence in one self. I get time to go through the events of the day and introspect on them for the duration of the walk. It also acts as a big stress buster. The breath of fresh air and the breeze flowing over the body makes you feel relaxed and refreshed.

Always keep the pace of walking at the level you are comfortable. Do not strain oneself. It can be more damaging in the long run.

Enjoy the morning or evening walk. It can add years to your life and make life worth living. According to me it is not the pace at which you walk, it is the distance you walk which ensures you a healthy living and longevity of life.

If you haven't yet started enjoying this golden exercise, better late than never, start it straightaway.

ge..


An article from Times of India, 18 Dec 08.

Walking packs huge health punch..

NEW YORK: A brisk 30-minute walk 6 days a week is enough to trim waistlines and cut the risk of metabolic syndrome - an increasingly common condition that is linked to obesity and a sedentary lifestyle, a new study indicates.

"Our study shows that you'll benefit even if you don't make any dietary changes," study leader Johanna L Johnson, a clinical researcher at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, said in a statement.

It's estimated that about one quarter of all US adults have metabolic syndrome - a cluster of risk factors that raise the odds of developing heart disease, diabetes and stroke. To be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, a person must have at least three of these five risk factors - a large waistline, high blood pressure, high levels of harmful triglycerides, low levels of "good" HDL cholesterol, and high blood sugar - and according to many studies, a growing number of people have these problems.

The new findings stem from the STRRIDE study - an acronym for Studies of a Targeted Risk Reduction Intervention through Defined Exercise - in which investigators examined the effects of varying amounts and intensity of exercise on 171 middle-aged, overweight men and women.

Before exercising regularly, 41 per cent of the study subjects met the criteria for metabolic syndrome. At the end of the 8-month exercise programme, only 27 per cent did. "That's a significant decline in prevalence," said Johnson. "It's also encouraging news for sedentary, middle-aged adults who want to improve their health. It means they don't have to go out running four to five days a week; they can get significant health benefits by simply walking around the neighbourhood after dinner every night."

The results of the STRRIDE study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, appear in the American Journal of Cardiology this month. People in the study who exercised the least - walking 30 minutes, 6 days a week or the equivalent of about 11 miles per week - gained significant benefit, while those who exercised the most, jogging about 17 miles per week, gained slightly more benefit in terms of lowered metabolic syndrome scores. People who did a short period of very vigorous exercise didn't improve their metabolic syndrome scores as much as those who performed less intense exercise for a longer period, the researchers found.

This suggests, they say, that there's more value in doing moderate intensity exercise every day rather than more intense activity just a few days a week.

All of the exercisers lost inches around their waistline over the 8-month study period, whereas the inactive control group gained an average of about one pound and a half-inch around the waist. "That may not sound like much, but that's just 6 months. Over a decade, that's an additional 20 pounds and 10 inches at the belt line," noted Duke Cardiologist Dr. William E. Kraus, the study's principal investigator.

"The results of our study," he added, "underscore what we have known for a long time. Some exercise is better than none, more exercise is generally better than less, and no exercise can be disastrous."

Is India bad for Jaguar or Orient Express ??

Is India Bad for Jaguar? (from Time Magazine)
Friday, Dec. 14, 2007
 
India likes to trumpet its corporate successes, and this week the emerging global power had plenty to shout about with the appointment of Indian-born Vikram Pandit to head troubled financial giant Citigroup. But even as it celebrated, India Inc. was also up in arms over perceived slights to its ability to run two of the world's most prestigious brands.
 
First, a group of U.S. Jaguar dealers said they opposed the possibility that Ford, Jaguar's owner, might sell the British luxury car brand to an Indian firm. Two of the three firms that Ford has shortlisted as potential purchasers are Indian: Mahindra & Mahindra and Tata Motors. The dealers said that the sale to an Indian company would hurt Jaguar's image. "I don't believe the U.S. public is ready for ownership out of India of a luxury car make," Ken Gorin, chairman of the Jaguar Business Operations Council, told the Wall Street Journal. "And I believe it would severely throw a tremendous cast of doubt over the viability of the brand."
 
A few days later Indian Hotels, which owns the luxury Taj hotel chain and is itself a branch of the Tata empire, was told its overtures to New York Stock Exchange-listed luxury hotel and cruise firm Orient-Express were unwelcome and potentially damaging. Indian Hotels recently upped its stake in Orient-Express to 11.5%. But Orient-Express CEO Paul White, in a letter to Indian Hotels Vice-Chairman R. K. Krishna Kumar, wrote that "any association of our luxury brands and properties with your brands and properties would result in a reduction of our brands and of our business and would likely lead to erosion."
 
Indian Hotels' Kumar told TIME that his first reaction upon receiving the letter "was that Paul White could not possibly have drafted [it]... I came to the conclusion that the person who drafted this letter needs counseling." Indian Hotels, he said, had proposed a friendly partnership in which each company would take an equity stake in the other, share expertise but remain independent. "At no time did we moot the the idea of a merger," Kumar says. White's letter, he says, "will go down as one of the most uncivilized exchanges of views between two companies in the 21st century." Its sentiments, Kumar says, reflect "an era that is now prehistoric."
 
Many Indians shared Kumar's sense of outrage. Commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath warned that, "There cannot be any discrimination against outward investment from India." In an era of globalization, he said, "trade and investment [is] a two-way street." Industrialist Venugopal Dhoot, who heads the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, told the Press Trust of India that Orient-Express had shown "arrogance toward one of India's most respected business houses." The discriminatory tone of Orient-Express's letter was "close to racism, barely camouflaged in the language of branding," opined an angry editorial (entitled "Racism Can't Halt Indian Takeovers") in India's Economic Times. The days of "white supremacy are disappearing rapidly, and white brand value with it," the piece went on. "When Arab financiers are needed to rescue Citigroup, notions of white cachet seem ludicrous."
 
Both Orient-Express and Jaguar's Gorin emphasize that their judgments were based on business strategy alone. Gorin told the Wall Street Journal that his sentiments also applied to a Chinese company buying Jaguar and should not be read as a judgment on Mahindra or Tata's management abilities. "My concern is perception," he said. "And perception is reality." Pippa Isbell, an Orient-Express spokesperson, says that "our letter was purely based on business rationale." Orient-Express, she says, owns properties around the world, and the company's decision to decline a closer relationship with Indian Hotels "is not related to the fact that the company is Indian but is based entirely on the rationale that their dominant business in India is not a strategic fit with our business."
 
To be sure, the image of a luxury brand requires delicate and careful grooming. And while Tata and other Indian manufacturers could soon be world beaters in producing ultra cheap cars, their track record in running a luxury auto brand is untested. At the same time, however, America's Ford has not exactly made a great success of Jaguar over the past few years: that's one reason the company is selling it. And when it comes to hotels, the Taj chain owns, among its wide range of properties, some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. It is also expanding: in the past few years it has snapped up properties in Boston, Manhattan and San Francisco. "It would be very easy for us to make an open offer [for Orient-Express]," says Kumar. "Except for our own restraint."
 
Indeed, if history is any guide, Indian companies take rebuttal as a challenge. When British-based Indian-born businessman Lakshmi Mittal first bid for French steel maker Arcelor last year, the company's French CEO said he was horrified by the idea of an Indian taking over, likening Mittal Steel to eau de Cologne and Arcelor to perfume. Within months, Mittal had won out. A century earlier, when Tata founder Jamsetji Tata suggested making steel for the colonial railway system, a British administrator dismissed the idea with barely concealed contempt. Earlier this year, Tata paid almost $14 billion to buy Corus, British Steel's successor. The moral of that story is not lost on India's corporate captains. They say that Western companies had better get used to the idea of Indians taking over.
----------------------

Traditional colonial, racial discriminating mindsets getting exposed. Be it the British or the Americans, the fear of India and China overtaking them is very much staring at them in the eyes.

The letters by Orient Express and US Jaguar dealer's association is but a mere form of racial protest, but in vain. Why should a white man's company go onto coloured man's hands ?? BTW, Krishna Kumar, VP of India Hotels is a Malayali and the right hand man of Ratan Tata. I had the good opportunity to meet all of them in Mumbai. High calibre professionals, ethical to the core. That makes Tata brand valuable to the bankers of the world. No banker would hesitate to advance loans to Tata Sons, example of Corus steel. A David like Tata Steel, 5m T steel per year gobbled a Goliath, Corus Steel, 19m T steel a year, with help from International bankers. Even it be to purchase General Motors ..

The Chinese and Indian Juggernaut is already on the move and no force on earth can stop it.

The foray of Tata Sons to the outside world is indeed outstanding. Only Tata Sons is equipped to do that. Now it is Jaguar, then it is General Motors. Let Orient Express be not foolish to lock horns with India Hotels, lest they be eaten over, Paul White may lose his job even ..

Beware..

george..

Saturday, December 15, 2007

My first term of teaching at XIME gets over ...

It was pleasant. Could brush up on lot of basics regarding operations and operations management. The revenue management classes were very interesting. Very inquisitive and good students I did not have trouble in getting them to go for their group projects nor the final presentation of the reports ( eventhough the final presentation was a marathon session of two days of 4 - 5 hours each, a big learning experience for me too.)

Exams start on Monday 17 Dec and end on 21 dec Friday. On thursday evening we have the Xmas carols where the first year students are presenting the carols ( I also will be with them..) and cake cutting by Mrs Philip at 4.30 PM.

Leaving for home on 23 rd along with Prof George Kuryan and returning on 28 morning.

Till then, ciao,

George..

Friday, December 07, 2007

Who will lead the Indian Industrial Renaissance ?


The Tatas, Birlas or the Ambanis ??

After reading a lot about Indian Industrail renaissance this question has always been at the back of my mind for many months. Who will lead India into it's twenty first century revival as a major industrial and economic superpower ?

Japan's competitive edge has been blunted in the past couple of years. Ever after coming up with Sony's walkman in 1979, which virtually shook the world of personal music listening and miniaturisation, Japan has not come up with anything worth the salt in three decades. While Apple has gone ahead with it's innovative ipod, itunes and more recently as four months back, the iphone, Japan is losing out in the race to establish technological superiority in the world.

This goes to demonstrate to the world that the slow Asian renaissance is shifting from Japan to the other Asian powers of China and India. In the 80s the Asian Tigers of Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea indeed did create a flutter, which was unfortunately shortlived, giving an impression of paper tigers fluttering around. But it did sensitise the world on what the Asians were really capable of. We have also been hearing of the BRIC - countries, Brazil and Russia included, who are also doing their part of the work  to build a better world.

It is in this context that we need to analyse the Industrial renaissance that is happening from this part of the world. We have the above three major Industrial houses, (family owned) besides the other professionally managed ones like Larsen & Toubro, Infosys and so on who are leading the charge from front..

( to be continued..)

Sub Prime crisis and opportunities in US..

The sub prime crisis in US is unfolding terrific opportunities for Indians to invest and buy property in US.

In a years time we can see lots of people defaulting in repaying the loans they have taken for buying property and this will result in lot of distress sales of housing property in US. Property will be available at dirt cheap rates.

Yesterday's declaration of a ban on mortgages ( and not allowing Banks to raise interest rates) for at least five years may easen out the Americans a bit, but Indians are just waiting for the right opportunity to buy into US.

Anybody with cash of about INR 40 lakhs ( US $100,000 / =) can be assured of double returns in five years flat.

Don't waste this opportunity if you are interested .. It will be a great opportunity for ordinary Indians to show their tenacity to the world ( and not only our great businesses !!)

george..

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Being away from home !!


When i was carrying research at IIT Bombay, for the first three years my family also stayed with me, from July 1998 till 2001 June. After the study leave period got over, I had to join back the College of Engineering Goa and used to make visits to IIT over long weekends or by taking leave for a week or availing vacation periods etc. But the period of stay was never more than two weeks at a stretch. Goa and Mumbai was well connected with the Jana Shatabdi running for 8 hrs the distance of almost 550 kms. Since the journey was comfortable I used to travel quite frequently.

After shifting to Bangalore, it is just two months now and I have been visiting family only once in a month. The pressures of work and the good academic atmosphere here keeps me off thoughts about going to Kerala frequently. Anyway I do keep contact on a daily basis with my wife over telephone, getting to know about the happenings there and the studies of the kids and so on.

With another four months more to go before my family joins me in Bangalore, I do not really know how I will be able to cope with it.

But I consider myself very lucky when there are employees in the Gulf who meet with their families only once in a year or two !!

So till April 08, it is pulling along !!

george..

Beer Distribution Game details


We have started playing the Beer Distribution game. It is interesting and students have already indicated that it is beneficial for them.

Here is the brief about the game.

The Beer Distribution game is a management simulation game played for the participants to get a grasp of supply chain distribution side dynamics of a make-to-stock beer distillery supply chain. The game which originated in MIT in the 60s is very popular and can be suited to be played for any manufactured item which is a make to stock.

The game is played like this.

The distribution side of the supply chain has retailers, wholesalers , distributors and the manufacturer. For example a distribution chain may have two retailers who are being supplied by two wholesalers who in turn are being supplied by a distributor and in turn by the manufacturer. All the players in the chain have their own stock of initial inventory and respective costs of holding and shortage for the inventory.

The moment a downstream entity, for example a retailer places an order on the wholesaler for stock, when he has already run out of stock or will soon in the near future, the wholesaler does not immediately replenish the retailer. Instead, depending on the lead time of replenishment for the wholesaler, the wholesaler replenishes the stock after those fixed time periods. During this time period the retailer has to wait and continue incurring the shortage costs. If the wholesaler does not have enough stocks to replenish the retailer with, he places order on this upstream entity, ie distributor and waits for the lead time period of the distributor to get stocks for him. From this stock he tries to replenish the retailer.

ALL UNMET ORDERS ARE BACKORDERED, ie. met in the subsequent periods when there are enough stocks with the upstream entity.. The customers who are in direct contact with the retailers place orders with them and are immediately satisfied or replenished. The presence of leadtime for replenishment of stock and backordering, adds complexity to the game. The presence of holding costs for excess stocks and shortage costs for short stocks, leads to the entity incurring costs during each cycle of the game.

The game is played for a fixed number of cycles, approximately ten to fifteen, for different customer demand patterns and the total costs incurred by each of the entities is added to get the total supply chain costs. There will be three teams playing the game on a day and the team which scores the minimum total costs are the winner for the day. During the entire duration of the game, the entities do not share their ordering or demand pattern with entities upstream or downstream.

A tabulation is made of the costs incurred and the variance of the orders placed by each of the entity on the entity upstream, is found out. Calculate the mean of the orders and the summation of the square of the deviations of each of the order placed with the mean order size, divided by (n-1) where n is the number of times orders are placed or cycles played..The last half an hour of the game is for discussion of the findings and the variance related discussions, which will help throw lot of light into the distribution side dynamics.

Have an enjoyable time playing the game.

george..

Blogging via email..

Today I have found a way to blog via email. Go to settings and under email you add the email id.

Great experience.

--
Sincerely

George Easaw 

सत फ्रांसिस क्साविएर डे अत क्सिमे, बंगलोर ..


The Xavier Inst of Management and E'ship Bangalore celebrated th St Francis Xavier Day 2007 on 3 rd December 2007 in the Institute Auditorium at 8 AM.

The mass was conducted by Rev Fr. from the nearby Catholic Church.

The choir did a good job and accompanied the mass celebration well. The President, Secretary, Director, senior Profs and Deans attended the mass along with the students and other staff from the institute. The three french students from Euromed, Marseilles - Carol, Hector and Priyanka also attended the mass along with the students.

The breakfast which was served to the students after the mass was a treat with kerala style appam and vegetable stew.

Friday, November 23, 2007

थे वर्ल्ड'एस बेस्ट इनवेस्टमेंट ..

The world's best investment - ( got this from a friend..)

Many people don't think of it consciously, but much of our lives are spent deciding how to invest our resources. Families decide whether to move into a bigger house, or save their money and stay in the current one. Young women decide which man they should bet their reproductive potential on. Workers ponder what they should do with their holidays. And so on.

Of course there's also the more obvious fields of investment. Where should you put your retirement funds? Should you put a windfall into shares or property?

And there's the biggest investment question of all - What should I spend the limited days of my life doing?

Some investments are good, some bad.

Time invested in exercise is great for your health. But spend a month not exercising, and you'll be back to square one. Many purchases have a similar problem. We all know a new car loses value the minute you drive it off the block.

But there's one investment that stays with you almost your entire life. Every minute put into it improves your well-being, and will continue to pay back years later.

That investment is education. Once it's in your head, it's there forever. Sure it may fade a little, but it usually doesn't take much work to bring it back.

It's usually reasonably priced in time and money. And it's fun. The more of it you invest in - the bigger the returns you get from it.

There are very few educational undertakings that aren't worthwhile. You should spend your life improving your own education and understanding of the world. Leverage off the learnings of others, and fill your head with interesting stuff.

Education is the world's best investment. Put some of your own resources into it.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

नों चोम्स्की ऎंड नंदीग्राम ..

A statement has come out from Noam Chomsky and other intellectuals expressing their solidarity with the people of West Bengal and the government there.

Chomsky and other intellectuals have committed a critical and basic mistake in their judgement of what exactly is happening in West Bengal, whether it is a fight by the dispossessed people for their rights ( which have got a political hue with time) or a tactic for survival of the political establishment there. The statements had very glaring disparities ( whatever their leanings be..). Citing the excuse of being far away from the place of happening, they have conveniently preferred to close their eyes to trying to understand the ground reality of the dispossession of agricultural land of the poor farmer that has taken place at Nandigram and have supported the ruling elite ( though not directly, but the words say it all..)

They have expressed limited, conditional solidarity (for name sake) with the dispossesed peasants but have come out strongly with the ruling establishment by way of expressing total support for their land reforms and local self government policy. And in the name of continuing these never ending above two policies, the intellectuals seem to conveniently forget the games these politicians play to clamour and stick to power, at whatever costs.

Kolkata is burning and the ruling party is going all out to forcibly quell the democratic expression of dissidence and unrest, earlier with the help of their unruly cadres and thugs( who brought more of disrepute than anything else) and now with the Police and army.

Democratic expression of dissidence which was (forcibly and organisedly) suppressed in West Bengal for more than three decades is now surfacing openly in the WB society and this will be an interesting social and political experiment to watch out for India and the rest of the Communist / Marxist followers the world over in the coming days. The push and pull this will have on the Indian electoral scene is also going to be interesting to watch.

It is very sad that the so called intellectuals ( with clear and pronounced leanings) have fallen in the trap laid by the politicians of West Bengal.

George Easaw

----------------------

To Our Friends in Bengal.

News travels to us that events in West Bengal have overtaken the optimism that some of us have experienced during trips to the state. We are concerned about the rancour that has divided the public space, created what appear to be unbridgeable gaps between people who share similar values. It is this that distresses us. We hear from people on both sides of this chasm, and we are trying to make some sense of the events and the dynamics. Obviously, our distance prevents us from saying anything definitive.

We continue to trust that the people of Bengal will not allow their differences on some issues to tear apart the important experiments undertaken in the State (land reforms, local self-government).

We send our fullest solidarity to the peasants who have been forcibly dispossessed. We understand that the government has promised not to build a chemical hub in the area around Nandigram. We understand that those who had been dispossessed by the violence are now being allowed back to their homes, without recrimination. We understand that there is now talk of reconciliation. This is what we favour.

The balance of forces in the world is such that it would be impetuous to split the Left. We are faced with a world power that has demolished one state (Iraq) and is now threatening another (Iran). This is not the time for division when the basis of division no longer appears to exist.

Noam Chomsky, author, Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy; Tariq Ali, author, Pirates of the Caribbean: Axis of Hope and editor, New Left Review; Howard Zinn, author, A Power Governments Cannot Suppress; Susan George, author, Another World is Possible if, and Fellow, Transnational Institute; Victoria Brittain, co-author, EnemyCombatant: A British Muslim’s Journey to Guantanamo and Back, former editor, Guardian; Walden Bello, author, Dilemmas of Domination: The Unmaking of the American Empire, and Chair, Akbayan, the fastest growing party in the Philippines; Mahmood Mamdani, author, Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, The Cold War and the Roots of Terror; Akeel Bilgrami, author, Politics and the Moral Psychology of Identity; Richard Falk, author, The Costs of War: International Law, the UN and World Order After Iraq; Jean Bricmont, author, Humanitarian Imperialism: Using Human Rights to Sell War; Michael Albert, author, Parecon: Life After Capitalism, and editor, ZNET; Stephen Shalom, author, Imperial Alibis: Rationalizing US Intervention After the Cold War; Charles Derber, author, People Before Profit: The New Globalization in an Age of Terror, Big Money and Economic Crisis; Vijay Prashad, author, The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World.

-------------

Monday, November 19, 2007

Trek report, Mekedatu, 18 Nov 2007.

One of the most loveliest treks I have ever gone for.

With about 100 participants and only three staff members to help, we were afraid in the beginning to go for this one, but the enthusiasm of the students overcame all our fears and we set out for the trek on 18 Nov, 2007, Sunday morning at 8 AM. The organising enthusiasm and sincerity of Amal and his team was very encouraging for us. We also wanted this first trek from XIME to be really successful, we felt that it should never be a mediocre one.

Even though the private bus (which was to take us the distance of 100 kms one way, 3 hrs travel time) was to come at 6 AM, though all students were ready, it was a bit late and that gave us enough time to mingle and get to know each other better. Prof George Kuriyan and RoseMary were ably taking care of all of us !! The new video camera with Prof George Kuriyan could be seen everywhere..

We reached Sangama at 11 AM and immediately after making some enquiries with the locals ( we should admit that our reconnaissance mission was not planned properly) we went out to cross the confluence point of the Cauvery and Arkavathy, come what may. To our surprise we found that it was not deep at all, about waist deep. The first taste of cold water on the body. We got drenched and after some splashing and playing in water, we gathered together and started our 4 km trek to Mekedatu.

Some people fell ill, some had sprains , not anything major, but we kept moving, The distance initially seemed never to end, but we kept moving. Finally at 1.30 pm , we reached the point, Mekedatu. We descended the steps to the gorges and adding to our fears, the force of the gushing waters of the Cauvery and the deafening noise, got us really afraid. I could not afford to look at the river direct down, it was terrifying and frightening !!

The sharp crevices and gorges cut by the river in the mountains over millions of years, was a trip back in history over a million years. The river must have been running very heavy and violent then, else how could it cut those sharp corners about twenty to thirty feet high on the side rocks ? How many goats must have committed harakiri trying to jump across the Cauvery from the top crevice to the bottom point, about fifteen feet away ? Even before homo sapiens set foot on this earth, the river Cauvery must have been gushing, of course under a different name then..

After 2 hrs at the point, we decided to return. The trail of the trekkers were long enough running for a km or more. There were many water holes and some terrific photography points on the way, besides Cauvery. In one of these water holes we decided to get ourselves immersed and there we really get ourselves totally immersed and drenched to the bones.

It was an exciting and refreshing two hours in the water of the Cauvery, pure and clean. No wonder Karnataka does not want to spare any water to Tamil Nadu and TN wants every drop of it. After getting ourselves dried and some rounds of Frisbee, we started on our journey back to the Sangama. Spotting elephant dung, not fresh, on the way, reminded us that elephants do frequent this place often during the summer months to drink water. I got to pair up with many students on the trek and talk to them regarding lot of issues of mutual interest. We reached Sangama at 5 45 PM.

There were initial reports that the power plant upstream the river would release water by evening time, causing the water level to rise to ten feet, making manual crossing difficult. All those fears were unfounded as we reached the Sangama and found people playing in the middle of the confluence in the water.

Some of us decided to cross the Sangama on the coracle, the round saucer shaped boat, which could overturn any moment and get everybody sunk !!. To add to the thrill, I could see the boatman forcibly turning the coracle around as if it has got caught in a swirl or whirl pool in the Cauvery.. The coracle trip was possible only after paying a princely Rs ten. Others preferred to wade through, me included. Water is fun any time and anywhere, as long it is up to your waist. .. It was a terrific trek that was coming to an end.

At about 6.30 PM we got into the buses ( SMS Travels) which were waiting for us at the Sangama from morning and we were off to Bangalore, Except for some minor hitches with loss of about 2 hrs, with some three members not being able to catch the bus ( they came by the KSRTC bus behind and joined the group) and for one person, Anshu, losing his mobile phone ( which was later discovered at his seat itself) we were comfortably getting back to our institute for dinner and a good sleep. All were dead tired after an exhilarating day in the water !! It would not be an exaggeration if we mentioned that about fifty percent of the time we were in the water.

At about 10 30 PM we reached XIME and after dinner of chicken biriyani, we went back to our rooms, too tired to discuss the day's happenings with anybody. The next day, at 9 AM we had classes and so could not miss any sleep before getting to the class.

Overall, it was an exciting trek, the first one in XIME. Prof George Kuriyan and Rose Mary and myself made the total 95, and very soon we shall put up some of the snaps here on this site.

Thanks everybody for your help and co-operation, a special mention to Amal and his team for organising things well and for making it memorable and SAFE !!

Hoping to have many more such exciting treks in future !!!

george..

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Information to students reg Mekedatu trek, 18 Nov 2007.


http://chitra-vihaar.blogspot.com/2006/01/mekedatu.html

http://alok.smugmug.com/gallery/2439988#127959869, terrific photos Alok Anand..

The active enthusiastic students of Xavier Institute of Management and En'ship (XIME), Bangalore is planning to go on a trek this Sunday to this place called Mekedatu, about 100 kms south of Bangalore as part of the nature club activities of XIME.

From kanakpura, we go on the main road southwards to reach a place called Sangama, the confluence of Arkavathy river and Cauvery river. After alighting from the bus, we cross the two rivers. Trek for 4 kms (one way) along the Cauvery river to a point where it gorges itself through rocks at the place called Mekedatu. In Kannada, Mekedatu means goat's leap, ie, goats could leap across the gorge and cross the mighty Cauvery at this point .. Some goats must have died in the process. The legend is very interesting. I do not know whether any humans have attempted and succeeded.

The return trip also has the same 4 km trek and the two river crossings. During summer, the water level does not go beyond 3 to 4 ft, but being just after rains, it is feared the water level may be about 10 ft or so. We require the help of expert swimmers from the group to take all of us across the riners. We are carrying enough ropes to take us across the Cauvery and Arkavathy. On the return route we will also be visiting the Chun-chi waterfalls on the Cauvery which is about 25 kms from the main road.

It is recommended that students come in their trekking gear, with good shoes, canvas preferred, water bottle, cap, some chocolates, dried fruits and a set of clothes to change, in case you would like to return in a fresh set of dry clothes than the stinking, sticky ones after the long trek. The organising team of Amal, Anoop etc will also see that there are enough frisbees and other things to play around in Mekedatu.

The students are informed hereby that the bus leaves the campus at 6 AM and so collect your breakfast (bread, omlette, butter and jam) and lunch ( veg pulao with raita) packs from the mess hall before boarding the bus. Tea will be served in the mess hall at 6 am for the trekkers. we hope to return by 8.30 PM and have dinner in the mess hall itself.

we hope to have some wonderful, quality time with almost 100+ students ( boys and girls) and five faculty in 2 buses. Unforgettable times of your life !! With fond memories to cherish your whole life time !!

Amal and Anoop have also made a movie on the trek, a good one, quite enticing !!

Hope we have more such treks in future and develop a strong bonding with mother nature ..

george..

PS : pl do not litter the place and so carry plastic bags with you to bring the waste back to XIME.....

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Information Overload ..??

I remember a time when I was doing my graduation, almost twenty three years back, 1983, British Council Library at Trivandrum, Kerala used to be my favourite haunt in the evenings. It had very valid reasons too. The British Council Library had lot of quality reading material, magazines and books, both reference and stack room ones, to refer and read.

For the first time in my life I was introduced to the Economist magazine in this Library. Earlier at home we were getting the Life, Time, Newsweek etc, besides the National Geographic and other Indian Magazines and journals which my brother used to get from family friends. We all uused to enjoy reading those magazines at home. After leaving Trivandrum in 1986 after the engineering, it was very difficult to get hold of the Economist to read as the next twenty I spent in Goa and Bombay. Goa was a bit far from civilization. IIT Bombay had all these magazines, but very less time to read them, so it was as good as not having them at all.

At Peermade I made some futile efforts to get the college authorities to subscribe to some of these good magazines, but had to give up finally, it was very difficult to get them to differentiate the good from the bad, the need to stimulate the minds and imagination of students thru such good high quality reading. A sad state !!

Now that I am in XIME, Bangalore, I was taken aback when the first day I joined, on my table was a copy of the latest Economist mag, besides the daily newspapers and Indian business magazines. To this add the Newsweek and Outlook magazines which I have subscribed myself lately. It is an Information Overload phenomenon being experienced, as by the middle of the week, the next batch of magazines keep coming. It is a race to catch up with reading and being up-to-date with the developments. Most of the days I stay back to catch up on some of the pending reading and of course some blogging too..

Time is not a problem here as I stay in the hostel and have all the time in the world. With the willingness too, it is really a paradise for reading and keeping oneself up-to-date. This is besides the information available over the Internet !!

george..

Using cellphone data and GPS to reduce Bangalore's traffic woes !!

The 19 th Nov issue of Newsweek, talks of how cellphone user data and GPS (Geographical Positioning Systems) is helping the city of Atlanta in the state of Georgia, US to reduce the traffic delays and congestion on it's roads

An average car which gets stuck for almost six hours in traffic a week spends an amount of almost 4 - 5 litres of petrol extra idling and moving in the snail speed traffic. Besides being a drain on the car owner's wallet and precious foreign exchange for the country, this causes release of excess carbon dioxide, contributing to green house gas emissions and resultant global warming phenomenon. It is of paramount importance that we reduce these emissions and drain of foreign exchange. The loss of man hours of the intellectual capital can only be imagined. Easing out traffic congestion thus attains great importance because of the above reasons.

How does the technology of cell phone and GPS, work ?

Almost all the people moving in their cars on the roads have cell phones which are in direct contact with the mobile towers of the respective companies. So the cell phone companies are in full knowledge of where each of their customer is at any point of time during the day. If this data can be collected and shared between the cell phone companies and the provider of GPS service in Bangalore, ( recently I saw an ad advertising this service in Bangalore, and the first city in India..), the GPS company can prepare the data of congestion points in the city through real time data acquisition systems ( the cell phone user data superimposed on the geographical data of the city) to be used by the travelling public.

Some revenue can be shared by the GPS company to the cell phone companies which will motivate them to share the cell phone user data with the GPS co.. All issues of privacy can be sorted out by the parties together with assurances that the data will not be used for any purpose other than real time data acquisition systems for traffic control in the city.

This can be a cost effective method to tackle the growing traffic congestion problems in the city of Bangalore.

george..

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

West Bengal likened to Gujarat..??

http://www.rediff.com/news/2007/nov/14look2.htm


Both places there is intolerance and violence. CPM does it under the garb of a civilised society..

A big blow to the Marxists..!!

george..

Trek to Mekadatu, 18 nov 2007.


http://chitra-vihaar.blogspot.com/2006/01/mekedatu.html

http://alok.smugmug.com/gallery/2439988#127959869, terrific photos Alok Anand..

The active enthusiastic students of Xavier Institute of Management and En'ship (XIME), Bangalore is planning to go on a trek this Sunday to this place called Mekedatu, about 100 kms south of Bangalore as part of the nature club activities of XIME.

From kanakpura, we go on the main road southwards to reach a place called Sangama, the confluence of Arkavathy river and Cauvery river. After alighting from the bus, we cross the two rivers. Trek for 4 kms (one way) along the Cauvery river to a point where it gorges itself through rocks at the place called Mekedatu. In Kannada, Mekedatu means goat's leap, ie, goats could leap across the gorge and cross the mighty Cauvery at this point .. Some goats must have died in the process. The legend is very interesting. I do not know whether any humans have attempted and succeeded.

The return trip also has the same 4 km trek and the two river crossings. During summer, the water level does not go beyond 3 to 4 ft, but being just after rains, it is feared the water level may be about 10 ft or so. We require the help of expert swimmers from the group to take all of us across the riners. We are carrying enough ropes to take us across the Cauvery and Arkavathy. On the return route we will also be visiting the Chun-chi waterfalls on the Cauvery which is about 25 kms from the main road.

It is recommended that students come in their trekking gear, with good shoes, canvas preferred, water bottle, cap, some chocolates, dried fruits and a set of clothes to change, in case you would like to return in a fresh set of dry clothes than the stinking, sticky ones after the long trek. The organising team of Amal, Anoop etc will also see that there are enough frisbees and other things to play around in Mekedatu.

The students are informed hereby that the bus leaves the campus at 6 AM and so collect your breakfast (bread, omlette, butter and jam) and lunch ( veg pulao with raita) packs from the mess hall before boarding the bus. Tea will be served in the mess hall at 6 am for the trekkers. we hope to return by 8.30 PM and have dinner in the mess hall itself.

we hope to have some wonderful, quality time with almost 100+ students ( boys and girls) and five faculty in 2 buses. Unforgettable times of your life !! With fond memories to cherish your whole life time !!

Amal and Anoop have also made a movie on the trek, a good one, quite enticing !!

Hope we have more such treks in future and develop a strong bonding with mother nature ..

george..

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Is the Left in West Bengal getting back in equal measure ??

Is the Left front in West Bengal paying back heavily for the folly, dadagiri and oneupmanship it has been carrying out all the while in WB over the past 30 years ??

One is given to understand that it is learning a bitter lesson this time from it's bete noir in WB, Ms Mamata Banerjee of Trinamool Congress. With the social activist Ms Medha Patkar also having joined sides with the displaced people of Nandigram, it is all the more good news for Mamata as she the agitation she has been spearheading gets world wide attention and publicity. Recently some other prominent personalities from WB society have also expressed their solidarity with the oppressed people of Nandigram.

The CPM as a party has never cared for inner party democracy and if it comes to goondaism and dadagiri to get the approval for it's authoritarian ways it is there in the forefront to just carry that out. Exactly that has been happening in Nandigram. The press and media have been denied access to the areas of Nandigram where people have been forcibly made to return to their homes which have been deserted following clashes between the pro and anti evacuation volunteers, thanks to the collaborating state police force. Now the CRPF has reached there and will give a helping hand to the state government to restore a semblance of normalcy and peace in that area.

The Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi speaking against the high handed tactics of the government in Nandigram and the subsequent verbal attack by the state CPM Secreatry Biman Bose on the constitutional authority of the state was totally uncalled for. It has only degenerated the image of CPM among the civilized people of the country.

The coming days will of course expose the excesses of the CPM cadre in the far flung villages of Nandigram, adding to the woes of CPM and it's leader Budhadeb Bhattacharya.

george..

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Why a trek for management students at XIME ?

Management students at Xavier Inst of Management and En'ship, Bangalore are planning to go for a trek with staff members on 18 November 2007.

What are the objectives of this trek ?

Management learning cannot be complete with just learning theory from books , interacting with learned academicians, interacting with professionals from Industry or visiting industries to do your project work. It is also about developing the right attitudes to life, learning to work as a team, taking leadership roles when the situation demands, organising activities for the group at short notice and learning how to get people understand your thinking and getting them to your side.

Trekking is a group activity where you get to know your team members very well by being with them doing a physical activity like walking through the forest or climbing mountains or some other similar things. For about 8 - 12 hours, sharing the difficulties, the joy and fun of companionship, one develops a good bondage between the team members. The physical activity seems less tiresome when you see your friends also doing the same thing. It is minute and surmountable. ie. big problems get smaller and smaller. They don't actually get smaller but your attitude to the problem makes it appear smaller.

Likewise in life too, we come across numerous problems. It is the attitude to life which helps us to face the problems and solve them. In our careers the many problems we face can be made enjoyable with activities like this which will help to develop the right attitudes to life.

Care for the environment :

Environment is a great concern these days. The modern mantra is to condition our life, activities, thoughts and actions so as not to disturb our relationship with the environment. If it were not for the environment we would not even be on this world now. Understanding this prime responsibility of mankind to care for the environment is the other major objective of the trek.

By being with nature for a long period, we get to appreciate her well, her varied hues, colours, emotions and expressions, how they are revealed to us. The colours surrounding us, the wonder at how the creator has created them for us to appreciate and live with, the mysteries and colours of the blooming flowers, the colours of the birds and fruits around us. This trek is an opportunity to take some time off from our busy schedule and appreciate nature and it's gifts for mankind. We need to keep this thought very much in our minds, " We have not inherited the Earth from our forefathers but have borrowed it from our children". Our children too have a right to enjoy it as much we and let us be kind enough to give them that privilege.

The trek will make us environmentally conscious citizens. Whatever decisions we take in our future careers, in whatever organisations we work and in whatever new ideas we incubate, the impact on the environment needs to be well studied and understood. We get to respect mother nature and be thankful to her for her bountiful gifts she keeps showering on us and fellow beings every day of our life.

In short this trek will help us be socially responsible citizens of the country or as we were just mentioning , green managers !! Always a step ahead of the competition..

george..

Friday, November 09, 2007

Piggybacking and leapfrogging - new growth mantras for India and China?

The upcoming issue of the Economist magazine, Nov 2 nd week 2007, will be featuring this topic in greater detail. Piggybacking , Leapfrogging or both, which is sustainable in the long run ?

Consider the following situations. A new telephone user in India buys a mobile and wireless connection. He does not know what is a land line and wired connection. A new buyer of camera, gets the new digital camera and has not seen a film roll nor does know what is film developing.. This is jumping across different stages of the development process or product life cycle cycle and straightaway reaching the forefront.

China's Chang'e I satellite has begun circumventing the moon with the intention of studying lunar environment and possibly make a landing on it very soon. India's ambitious Chandrayaan programme is planning to land on moon by 2010 AD. We have neither spent fortunes researching the space nor the machines which will take us there. Yet, we look forward to land there by passing lot of intermediate stages.

The above two cases are examples of piggybacking and leapfrogging respectvely.

Piggybacking is sitting on the shoulders of the developed countries for some time and when the time is ripe, leapfrogging to take us as afar ahead as possible has been going on for some time now. We have not yet done the leapfrogging act, other than when China and India stunned the world by exploding their atomic bombs in the 60s and 70 s respectively. Is there an apartheid in the modern world which prevents the developing world from trying out innovative things or technology for that matter even imitation or adaptation ?

This is the same strategy which India and China are presently employing in their race to development over the next fifty years. Like it or not, this is pragmatism at it's peak !!

Bypassing the Nolan stages theory or the life cycle development theory ? The fast growing countries of India and China are showing the world that if one needs to catch up with the rest of the developed world, don't try reinventing the wheel again, instead focus on where the others have reached, try to get there and then compete with them. In short, vault over the intermediate stages of development and catapult yourself to the forefront. Naturally, a very realistic approach. This leapfrogging is more ambitious than piggy backing as the leap frogging exercise can take you farther ahead than your competitors in technology and development.

Are there any shortcomings with this process ?

Piggybacking and leapfrogging is not without it's drawbacks too. Going the whole way piggybacking is not recommended as the growth will be slow and dependent on others. The hurdles which come in between can hinder one's growth. Trying to leapfrog the whole distance is also not recommended as every time you leapfrog you land on your rump and picking up from there can be tedious and painstaking.

One of the greatest shortcomings as has been seen by the author is the unevenly distributed development happening in both these countries. Only some regions or states have embraced these technologies whole heartedly or have experienced the need to change, while the rest of the country still are years back in development. This lop sided development cannot lead the country as a whole to development. It becomes a case of pulling everybody else, compared to pushing from behind. As a group we cover more distance if pushed from behind than being being pulled from front.

This uneven development has resulted in different parts of the country experiencing different rates of productivity and productivity improvement from the tools already in the market.

The second problem is that there is no firm ground to assess your present state of development and then to look at the future, because everywhere and everything is in a constant state of flux. It can be dangerous in the long run as maturity in technology or products cannot be experienced because of this constant state of flux, adaptation and growth. Unless one gets time to consolidate on one's achievements at frequent intervals of time, the process forward can be really hazy and incoherent.

The third problem is that innovation gets stunted. Imitation and adaptation rules the day and is valued. Imitation and adaptation can take us to the front but cannot help us remain there for long. If we have to retain our position as the leader of the world, a firm and solid foundation should be laid to promote innovation and creativity. Promoting innovation and creativity should be a way of life.

Because our aim is not just to reach the forefront of nations, but to remain there and provide quality, effective intellectual and innovative leadership in manufacturing and service sectors to the world. And that requires a complete revamp of our attitude and leadership styles.

But till we reach there, of course it is piggybacking and leapfrogging !!

george..

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Dinner with Prof Gerald Groshek .., 7 Nov 07.

Our Prof from Uty of Redlands, Prof Gerald Groshek is leaving the XIME campus by the end of this week back to the US after completing six weeks with us. Tonight we had a pleasant farewell dinner with him, Director Prof Panduranga Rao, Dean Admin Prof George Kuryan and myself with Prof Gerald.

The venue was a natural resort cum club house on the outskirts and within walkable distance from the XIME. Country retreat.

After spending almost six weeks with us, this is the first time I got to know Prof Groshek well. Over drinks we exchanged lot of ideas, cultural aspects, politics, the American way of life, Presidential elections coming in Nov 2008, Godhra pogrom and what not. Very interesting .. We had lot of meaningful exchanges on Indian society, values, the royal family of Travancore in Kerala, the national pledge, the oath of allegiance in US etc..

The best thing he liked about India were the colours.., everywhere he could find colours , the dresses, the flowers and everything.. The people he found very friendly and mistaking him for a hollywood actor ( very handsome really..) and wanted to pose with him for photographs. The cordiality of the people, their friendly nature everything appealed to him much.

While in New Delhi, he also had the opportunity to visit the Taj Mahal. He went to Goa, Kerala etc..

We wish he keeps returning often to this Institute often and share his wide experiences from all over the world with the student and staff community.

George..

Who shot Gandhi ?

Someone under the pseudonym of Kochuthressiamma has written this very special article on the Gandhi Jayanthi day. A candid appraisal of the present day living, too good.

Talks of the many Indias.. Which is the India that is really growing ?? finally the statement that Gandhi is still being shot today sums up everything. We needed Gandhi only to bring us independence, not to follow his ideals and teachings.

-------------

WHO SHOT GANDHI?
Kochuthresiamma p .j

Gandhi Jayathi is almost on us . As usual, there will be appropriate
noises made by politicians, Congress party, media etc on the 2nd Oct.,
and then this great man will be shelved for another year. maybe this
year things may be a little different- thanks to Munnabhai!!!

Not surprising that the great man should be treated like a necessary
evil by the land which gave birth to him.

This cutting him down to size began before India became a free
country. With the Partition, the pluralism (genuine pluralism, he
believed, was native to India) which he tried to reinstate with his
spiritual weapon received a deathblow. Poor man, what he did not
realize was that he was incarnations ahead of those who fought with
him for India's freedom. Each of them had his agenda and the scramble
began once the British were out.

After Independence,Nehru took care of edging Gandhism out of the
political and economic arrangement for free India. Mesmerized by
modernity derived form the ideals of Enlightenment rationality (which
was already taking the world to the brink of disaster), Nehru, who
represented the sentiments of a nation rearing to go the western way,
found Gandhi an embarrassment. And Gandhi withdrew from public life.

Gandhi had realized that India had the advantage of choosing the mode
of development best suited for her. Time and again, throughout his
engagement with the destiny of India, he wrote, spoke, advised,
warned. He pleaded for grassroots movement, for organic village
communities and agriculture centered economy. he had nothing against
technology, but he knew that uncontrolled technology would lay waste
India's greatest asset - human resource. He warned against the horrors
of modern industrialization, commercialization; of the dangers of the
scientific outlook divorced from dharma. But no one paid heed to him.
So India missed that chance and put the wrong foot forward. Since the
die was cast, Gandhiji realized that India now can only learn the hard
way. He came to terms with the fact that the post independence
leadership had neither his hindsight nor foresight, that clarity of
vision to see that its choice of the political arrangement and the
economic policies will only serve the geopolitical and corporate
interests of the developed west. For, the Indian 'elite' leadership in
the period immediately following independence continued to be
colonized in their minds. India had been decolonized only politically.

India is surging ahead , we claim today. But all those farmers who
commit suicide - are they not India? All those small players in the
industry who have to wind up their businesses that sustained them -
are they not India? All those small time planters who had to sell out
and have their means of livelihood taken from them - are they not
India? All those tribals who are displaced by huge projects - are they
not India? All those ultras, Maoists and Naxalites - are they not
India? pray, which India is going to be the global leader? Does this
potential 'global leader' include the majority?

Dismal thoughts on the occasion of a Gandhi jayanthi.

I must share a strange and disturbing scene i witnessed a few years
back. I was at the Mani Bhavan ( where Gandhi stayed whenever he was
in Bombay – it is a very badly maintained Gandhi museum now – compare
it with the Indra Gandhi memorial , No. 1 Safdarjung Road - and we
come to understand what is wrong with India today). Sorry for the
digression. I continue -- - - It was in Mani Bhavan that I heard this
question "WHO SHOT GANDHI?"

I turned around to find an East European (i think) posing this query
to an Indian tourist. 'Godse", the latter replied. "Why did he shoot
him?". To my utter surprise, the man threw a furtive glance around and
made a hasty exit from the room which had miniatures of events from
Gandhi's life and last moments. I hung around hoping the European
visitor would put the question to me but he didn't. He must have
sensed something was wrong ( was something wrong? What was it?. I
couldn't figure it out) . He went around the room careful not to make
eye contact with anybody.

Who shot Gandhi? Godse, yes. But his shot was the kindest of them all.
The fusilade began long before Godse actually pulled the trigger. It
began towards the last lap of freedom struggle when it became pretty
clear that independence was only a matter of time. Gandhiji continued
to be shot when the country was partitioned, when his lofty concept of
India as a nation fell flat on its face with the communal riots. The
unkindest shot was the political and economic dispensation chosen by
the leadership of Independent India which totally ignored Gandhism. AS
early as 1906, Gandhi had, in his HINDSWARAJ warned against the
mistakes of the post industrial, post Enlightenment modernity of the
west (which ultimately would culminate in two World Wars and all its
horrors).: " we want English rule without the Englishman. You want the
tiger's nature, but not the tiger; that is to say, you would make
India English. And when it becomes English, it will be called not
Hindustan but Englistan. This is not the Swaraj that I want."

Gandhi continues to be shot today.

We live in times which fear to even give a name and face to the forces which destroyed the man who ranks among the greatest of creations.

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