Archive for » April, 2011 «

Where have the house sparrows gone…?-PART-I

Where have the house sparrows gone…?-PART-I

When we lived in Bulsar (now Valsad) in Gujarat ( 1954-1971) there were hordes of house sparrows which kept on visiting our first small house ( Railway 725 B, Behind RPF, Bulsar) and in our next huge house ( T 286 A,Near Rly Signal Work Shop,West Rly Yard, Bulsar).They built nests in every conceivable nooks and corners.The early morning chirping of the young ones in the nests was a music to my ears.Male/ Female sparrows kept feeding their hungry mouths the whole day.When they grew up and learnt to fly, the young birds would zip from room to room.A few would die when they accidentally ran in to the moving ceiling fans. Whe  the  nests were empty,we threw them away but soon the sparrows would build new ones, tirelessly.

When we shifted to Baroda (now Vadodara) and lived in a medium, rented house ( 31 Kashi Vishwanath Society,Lal Baug Road,Baroda) during the period 1971 to 1985, the house sparrows were still in plenty. They were almost like permanent guests in our house then too.

When we shifted to Chandigarh (1986- 1993) and stayed in a Bank leased bunglow  ( 813, Sector  38 A ,Chandigarh) there was still a huge population of the house sparrows.We had a huge garden and a big open court yard in the rear and sparrows were now like our family members.We enjoyed their chirping,flitting,nest building etc.

We next moved to Ranchi ( 1993-1998) in Bihar.We first stayed in a Bank leased small house in North Office Para (S. Nath’s house) but later on, shifted to a better apartment (Saubhagya Apartments ,South Office Para) .Here too, the poulation of house sparrows was quite good.There were lichi trees,jack fruit trees and other trees in the surrounding areas near  our house and so besides house sparrows,we had the company of other birds like pigeons,parrots etc.

When we shifted to Lucknow (1998-2002) we stayed in a good locality in a bank’s leased house ( Mahanagar Extn) there. Plenty of greenery was there in the locality.The land lord’s house on the ground floor had a variety of flowering plants,fruit trees (pomegranate specially)  and various   other shrubs and bushes.Sparrows and pigeons were both in plenty then too.I enjoyed their company.

In 2002,we shifted to NOIDA (Flat no 305, Sandipani, Staff Training College Campus,Sector -62) after transfer from Lucknow ! It was then that I noticed that the population of sparrows was very sparse.NOIDA was and still is, a huge sprawling jungle of concrete.Yes,the pigeon population was in plenty.Sparrows were sadly missing.We wondered : Where have the house sparrows gone ?

Sometime in 2007,we shifted to our own house in New Delhi.From then onwards till date (2011) I have hardly seen any sparrows in or near our house ! This again set me wondering : Where have the sparrows gone ?

I will talk more on this subject in my next Part of this posting.Till then you too dear readers,keep wondering-Where have the house sparrows gone? Why have they vanished…?


Management Education In India

Management Education In India
I read the following article in Financial Express of 31st March 2011.
I liked it.In response,I had sent my comments to the Editor and my comments have  now been displayed on FE’s website just below the article.Those who would like to read it on line,may go to the following link:

Those who want to read it on this blog,go ahead.
Happy reading.Your valued comments are welcome. 


Wake up IIMA

Rahul Choudaha
Thursday, Mar 31, 2011 
Indian management education is in a state of crisis and the issues of quality have aggravated over time. There is an imminent need for a leader to inspire a collective consciousness of quality and reform among B-schools. This leadership vacuum is most suitably filled by the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA), which is the most respected brand-name in Indian management education.
IIMA is celebrating its 50th anniversary of excellence in 2011. It has achieved a global reputation and attracted the best talent. With a selectivity ratio of 1 seat for 680 applicants, IIMA is one of the most selective MBA programmes in the world. In the last 50 years, the IIMA brand has become strong enough to top the Indian School of Business in the FT Global MBA ranking, despite being a follower in the one-year MBA model, pioneered by ISB in India.  

But the last 50 years of IIMA have been inward-looking and limited to what is best for its students and faculty. Given the crisis and challenges faced by Indian B-schools, the next 50 years of IIMA should be outward looking and enabling excellence beyond one institution. I argue that IIMA has an important and critical responsibility in enabling excellence in quality-deprived Indian management education. Three primary strands where IIMA could take a leadership role in shaping the management education agenda are: influencing practices and policies, building collaborations, and encouraging interdisciplinarity.  

Beyond campus practices and policies: Indian higher education, in general, and management education, in particular, is facing several challenges including a shortage of faculty and funding at one level and ineffective regulation at another level. This is a classic optimisation challenge of managing resources in an efficient and effective manner. IIMA should engage with the larger discourse of shaping best practices and policies not just at the institutional level but also at the national level.  

Consider the case of the ‘salary war’ among B-schools, which has led to a situation of misrepresentation by many B-schools and unfair options for students. Overall, MBA education has been simplistically reduced to placement salaries.  

IIMA has recently released a discussion draft for setting placement reporting standards among Indian B-schools. This is precisely the kind of leadership expected from a B-school like IIMA—to engage in a discourse and help shape a better future for management education. It’s a good start. However, the faculty and leadership of IIMA is capable of bringing a transformational change at several other pressing issues in higher education.  

Beyond campus boundaries: IIMA is a global brand and it has to engage with the world beyond its campus boundaries. This means that the institution has to reach out and forge collaborations with institutions within India and abroad. Being protective and restrictive of the brand is a natural instinct. However, the need is to share the fruits of success with many other institutions that need assistance in improving the quality of education. 

The RJ Matthai Centre For Educational Innovation at IIMA had been focusing on innovative solutions to problems in education.  

The centre had offered executive development programmes for principal leadership and could very well extend the engagement to offer joint-programmes with other institutions, which need capability building and, in turn, develop talent in larger numbers. At another level, the institute has also expressed interest in starting a campus in Singapore or Dubai by 2013 and it will be an important milestone in the internationalisation of B-schools in India.  

Beyond disciplinary boundaries: The business and societal challenges are not necessarily solvable by one field of study or discipline. Indian B-schools have to broaden their own mindset by accepting that they are not in the business of offering MBA degrees. Instead they are in the business of developing talent, which innovates, improves and provides solutions to business and societal problems. Thus, one approach to make B-schools relevant is to consider some of the biggest challenges faced by the Indian society and collaborate to offer programmes that go beyond disciplinary boundaries.  

IIMA pioneered the management programme in agriculture in the 1970s and since then has contributed in developing managerial talent for the often neglected sector of the economy, which is desperately seeking efficiency. An MBA degree is perceived to be a path for high-flying jobs in consulting and banking. However, many other social sectors also need managerial talent. IIMA should take a proactive stance in inspiring students and faculty members to engage in multiple sectors in an interdisciplinary fashion.  

Indian management education is waiting for the leader and it is time for IIMA to wake up and transform the next 50 years of management education. The relevance, rigour and reach of the IIMA brand has all the potential to lead the discourse of creating high standards of quality and enabling excellence among Indian B-schools.  

The author is a New York-based higher education specialist and blogs on 

Here are my comments copy pasted from FE’s website : 

» Management Education In India
Posted by J S BROCA on 2011-04-02
The author,Rahul Choudaha,has very lucidly outlined the road map for IIMA’s future growth and has very pin-pointedly diagnosed the malaise affecting all B Schools in general and IIMA in particular. Yes,it is a real war out there.All B Schools regularly tom-tom their seasonal placements and the highest package their students have earned in the recruitment drives.The higher the number of Indian and Foreign recruiters turning up at the annual jambories in the campuses,the bigger are their ad spends in the media to attract more wannabes to their next session of the courses. Yes it seems the only ultimate aim of those who pass out from these exalted B Schools is to land a dream job with plush offices and mind boggling perks.To hell with nurturing innovations and thinking out-of-the-box to make an effort to pay back something to the society by solving some of the major problems affecting the country. One more sorry side of the picture is that the B School students these days,are merely concerned with “finishing the prescribed syllabus” and are just interested in transfer of notes from the faculty’s jottings to their long note books for cramming them to score in their final exams,with the one point goal being to earn the paper degree/diploma which is their passport to a cushy life.They neither have the time nor the inclination to focus their attention on trying to solve the real life problems afflicting the corporate world. Case Studies borrowed from foreign universities are used as one of the tools for study and the B Schools use them with slightly cosmetic changes like merely altering the names of the participants from their original names to Indian names with a scant regard whether the case reflects the real situation in our country or not.They need to be told that all the theory they are taught in the schools is not really valid in the real world outside their campuses and they will have to re-learn everything out there.But then who cares ? The B School courses curricula need a massive re-haul with the soul aim of making them more industry linked and problem focussed,so that those who pass out from these elite campuses are in close touch with the grass root issues faced by the country and can meaningfully contribute to solving them in a time bound schedule. “Poverty will be eliminated in next 20 years”,”Water and electricity will be available in all villages in 25 years” are all mere slogans befitting a place in the party manifestos of the politicians.Sloganeering needs to be replaced with action and delivering the goods to all those who have been denied the basic amenities for a decent living for over six decades now ! Who can be the torch bearers of this objective,if not the alumnus from these B Schools
Here is the response of the author to the above comments:
Dear Mr. Singh:

Thank you for your kind message. Appreciate your feedback and efforts in bringing a change in management education. You echo some very critical challenges faced by Indian society and rightly point out that we need to move beyond theory, salaries and slogans to action and engagement.

Best regards,


April Fools’ Day is celebrated all around the world on the April 1 of every year. Sometimes referred to as All Fools’ Day, April 1 is not a national holiday, but is widely recognized and celebrated as a day where everyone plays all kinds of jokes and foolishness.
The day is marked by the commission of good humoured or funny jokes, hoaxes, and other practical jokes of varying sophistication on friends, family members, teachers, neighbours, work associates, etc.

Traditionally, in some countries such as New Zealand, Ireland, the UK, Australia, and South Africa, the jokes only last until noon, and someone who plays a trick after noon is called an “April Fool”.
Elsewhere, such as in France, Italy, South Korea, Japan, Russia, The Netherlands, Germany, Brazil, Canada, and the U.S., the jokes last all day. The earliest recorded association between April 1 and foolishness can be found in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (1392).
Many writers suggest that the restoration of the January 1 as New Year’s Day in the 16th century was responsible for the creation of the holiday, but this theory does not explain earlier references.

I take this occasion to recall an old Hindi movie titled ‘April Fool’ (1964) Its brief story line was as under : 

Ashok comes from a wealthy family, which is run by his dad, and elder brother, Alok. Ashok himself is a slacker, and is only interested in slacking, and playing practical jokes, and no doubt his favorite day is fool’s day, April 1st, when he outdoes himself. His jokes befriend him with Madhu, and both fall in love. Then a practical joke hits the truth, and both Ashok and Madhu become targets of an international gang, and must run for their own safety, as well as for the safety of their respective families.  

The cast and other details of this fun movie were :

Director: Subodh Mukherji

Writers: Agha Jani Kashmiri (dialogue), Subodh Mukherji (screenplay) 

Stars: Saira Banu, Biswajeet and Jayant

Original Music by : Jaikishan Dayabhai Pankal (as Jaikishan) and by Shankar Singh Raghuwanshi (as Shankar)

I also recall some of the songs from this movie but the major attraction was the title songApril Fool Banaya,Tau Un Ko Gussa Aaya” ! 

Here is a YOUTUBE link to the song : 

(The video only shows Md Rafi’s picture) 

So here is the original link on the lead players: 

(This video has the English translation as well) 

(Another surprise-this song has some dialogues in the voice of Saira Banu herself in between the verses-a novelty in those times !)