Feet Matters – Ankle, Heel and Arch pain

Dear Readers, some of you have benefited from my previous posts about OA. During last 2 years, I have suffered from Foot pain in both legs. I am 76 years old now and able to walk without medication 3 mile morning walk every day. I am also overwieght by abour 10 Kg being 93 Kg at 5’10”. This post is about 3 forms of Foot Pain.

ANKLE PAIN: This affected me in the left ankle about 2 years ago. I went to an Orthopedist, who offered 2 options – take steroids or take rest or do both. See the drawing of ankle joint at following link:  https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/bf/Ankle_en.svg/2000px-Ankle_en.svg.png

The pain was in the protrusion of the Tibia, which you see on right side of the left ankle, (and on the left side of the right ankle) – ie the interior sides of both legs. There will be pain in the Tibia in general and in the protruded area, where the ligaments are joining. The area also may be swollen and tender to the touch. The simplest way of permanently removing this pain is to wash the joint in cold water every time you visit a Bathroom! The reason for the pain is simple. The Tibia transfers half your weight to the sole of the foot. Like any metal rod under stress, the Tibia gets literally ‘hot’ inside after walking around for any length of time. Normally with good blood circulation, this heat is removed by Venal blood. One of the problems of old age, specially with higher levels of Cholesterol is that, the flow of Venal blood is impaired and you see  swollen blood vessels in the calf region. When this blood circulation is slowed down, the heat removal is not efficient and inflammation and pain result.  When this is seen, you simply cool down the entire Calf and Ankle region by dousing with cold water! While washing your feet pay special attention to the ‘hot’ ankle by holding it under the tap for 3 to 5 minutes! This simple act will keep you free of Ankle Pain!

In all Indian households, specially in rural areas, it is common for any visitor to be offered a greeting and saying   “Please wash your feet” as a preliminary to having a meal with the family. In fact in many rural households, there is a place close to the main entrance where “Feet washing Water” is kept with a vessel and a mug always ready. While the ostensible reason is to wash off the road dust, the health reason is that you have walked to their home from the nearest Railway Station or the Bus Stand, and you need to cool your tired bones!

ARCH PAIN: This is also known as Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis (say “PLAN-ter fash-ee-EYE-tus”) is the most common cause of heel pain. The plantar fascia is the flat band of tissue (ligament) that connects your heel bone to your toes. It supports the arch of your foot. If you strain your plantar fascia, it gets weak, swollen, and irritated (inflamed). Then your heel or the bottom of your foot hurts when you stand or walk.

Plantar fasciitis is common in middle-aged people. It also occurs in younger people who are on their feet a lot, like athletes or soldiers. It can happen in one foot or both feet.

Plantar fasciitis is caused by straining the ligament that supports your arch. Repeated strain can cause tiny tears in the ligament. These can lead to pain and swelling. This is more likely to happen if:

  • Your feet roll inward too much when you walk
  • You have high arches or flat feet.
  • You walk, stand, or run for long periods of time, especially on hard surfaces.
  • and also felt in the Heel region due to Plantar Fasciitis, there is another cause for Heel Pain. Excessive consumption of Milk Products, or Calcium Tablets, specially by men, results in calcium deposits in the Heel Bone and growth of “Heel Spurs” – These are protrusions in the rear of heel bone on one or both legs. It is generally known that the ‘leaching’ of calcium from bones is more in women than in men. While your wife is recommended to increase Calcium intake after say 50 years of age, the same is not true for Men. When the Heel bone starts to grow outwards, the “Achilles”  tendon gets stretched like pulling a rubber band, and this additional stress causes pain which is felt at the source, ie where the tendon is attached to back of the heel.

The remedy for both types of pain is 2 simple actions!

  1. Wear High Heels! You can find many shoe or sandal styles with a minimum 1 inch heel. This type of footwear lifts the heel from your regular position and relieves the tension on the Tendon! This simple mechanical aid simply removes the Heel pain instantly! (You can get standard shoes with High Heels for men or just add a Heel only sole patch to the shoe from a local cobbler or shoe smith)
  2. Support the Arch of the sole, by wearing shaped inserts. These are made of silicone rubber and cost about rs 200 to 800 a pair. It is important to get the right size. If the instep support goes to the wrong place you get excruciating pain! You can also get special shoes with arch support.

I found a special shoe for Heel Pain made by Kuru (www.kurufootwear.com ) This comes with a special rubber insole which gets cured and set to the exact shape of your arch by pressure and heat of your feet after the shoe is used for about 2 or 3 hours of walking. The pain relief is amazing and your heel pain and arch pain due to Plantar Fasciitis is 100% gone! You will never wear another shoe again. Kuru ships to India and there is a 20% Customs duty payable. Cost is entirely Ok when compared to orthopaedic shoes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Alzheimers – What can one do postpone or prevent?

My reading, specially the book “Connectomics” by Dr Sebastian Seung of MIT, tells me that loss of memory is just not an erasure, but is the gradual loss of our brain’s ability to ‘associate’ and to ‘access’ old memory stores. This can happen due to several reasons, the most salient being a) Loss of charge to below a threshold level for the “Long term memory Neurons” and b) Chemical reasons reducing or weakening the ‘access channels’ to the brain areas associated with long term memory.

I think that, as age advances one should read and reread old classics, novels, poetry and text books, as this helps to reinfornce old memories. Similarly engage in regular review all photo albums of your near and dear, as well as work-related, both paper prints and in digital media.

Religiously solve all puzzles, Sudoku, Crosswords and Mensa Challenges that every Mid-day or Mirror, or Evening or Afternoon papers carry. When on travel, carry puzzle books, riddles, and Sudoku just to exercise your mind/brain.

Learn a new Art or Painting or start writing Fiction or Poetry – just try your hand at it! Or start a new Hobby – Stamp collecting or Gardening – All this starts to strengthen the ‘learning’ associated areas in the brain, and new learning also has to be stored in some fashion, the memory storage areas get refreshed.

Have your own Facebook, Twitter , Whatsapp Group, and other Social media ID and engage in regular social interaction to develop a set of people who will regularly interact with you. This helps to restore Auditory, Visual and experiential memory and most importantly postponse sonset of Senility if not Alzheimers itself!

Conquer Ageing!

Dr. P.V.Ramana

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Morning Nectar

I am putting up this post again as many have found good benefit from it both for Diabetes Control as well as Osteo Arthritis control.

Recipe:

1) Roast Flax seeds (alsi seeds) lightly on dry tawa without oil. Allow to cool. Make powder in a mixi, and keep in Fridge

2) Soak 2 tsp of Methi seeds in Curd overnight in a small cup or bowl. Use 2 Tsp of Curds and add some water

3) In the morning add 2 Tsp of Flax seed powder and 1 tsp of pure organic honey (Waitrose or other imported honey from Canada, UK, Australia ot Newzealand. Unfortunately every single brand of Honey sold in India, including Dabur,is adulterated minimum 50 to 70% with sugar syrup and color). Mix and consume.

4) the taste is wonderful. Flax seeds give 2 ingredients, one for enhancing GDL, the ‘Good’ cholestorol, and another oil which helps knee joint. Methi also has 2 components. One for reducing and stabilising blood sugar, and another component which enhances collagen production in the body.

5) You have to persist with this for 2 or 3 years before seeing the permanent beneift

6) Hobey improves immunity and reduces cell death, thus delaying effect of aging, specially in joints.

That is why I call this as Morning Nectar!

I am using it every day morning since about 10 years, and have effetcively defeated OA

in both my knees

Ramana

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Telangana

There is no quick fix for insensitive, and completely selfish political meddling just for a few imaginary electoral gains. There should be a referendum of all Telugu people – There is only one language – Telugu. Delhi does not know that Andhra is not a language? Andhra just means place where Telugu is spoken!

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More supplement information

Recently I have come across 2 new supplements. I am trying them now and they seem to have some effect

1. Collagen Advanced formula Tablets with Type 1,2 & 3 Collagen and with 18 amino acids added

Made by Nutrawise and available on http://www.youtheory.net

Claims to restore muscle and ligament tissue as well as improving bone health with Collagen.

2. Collagen Enhance – claims ‘all natural’ ingredients and the capsule is made from vegetable gelatin

Made by ResVitalle – see their site http://www.resvitale.com

I will get back with a review by trying for 3 months more. If any one has tried these products please post on this iste

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Morning Nector for Senior Citizens

Most people like me ( I am 73, and if you are 55+ you should read this!) have several problems:
– Diabetes
– Knee Pain
– High Cholesterol, specially low level of HDL, and high level LDL
There is a way to beat all 3, which I am using for last 10 years. My blood sugar level has remained constant at around 120 (PP), Knee pains are forgotten, and my HDL is improving steadily. Here is what I do – Take 1/4 cup of Morning Nectar first thing in the morning on empty stomach.

How to make this?

You need 4 ingredients, all available at home
1. Powdered Flax Seeds (Also known as Alsi in Mumbai area)
Buy 250 Gm at a time, roast lightly on dosa pan till they brown – DO NOT BURN
Make Powder in a Mixi, store in Fridge
2. Freshly Set Curd, every day item, or you could buy Nestle or Amul Dahi
3. Methi Seeds (Fenugreek)
4. Honey

Preparation
– Previous night, take 2 tea spoons of Methi Seeds, and soak overnight in 2 Table spoons of Curd (Yoghurt). You will need a small bowl or a cup for this.
– Next morning, add 2 tea spoons of powdered Flax seeds, and 2 tea spoons of Honey
– Mix well and eat slowly
I assure you this is very tasty and once you start this you will not leave it. That is why I call it Morning Nectar.

How the Ingredients work:
a. Dahi is for soaking the Methi seeds and retaining the active component. If you soak Methis in water, some of the good things Methi has, will wash out in the water
b. Methi supplies 2 good things:
– Methi reduces Blood Sugar levels
– The sticky proteins in Methi help regenerate the soft tissue in the Knee Joint
c. Flax Seed oil is just about the only regular food item which increases HDL levels, and reduces LDL and VLDL levels, specially for vegetarians
d. Honey is the Panacea for many respiratory tract problems, and supplies vital amino acids for cell regeneration. I have read some where that it helps slow down aging.

Only one precaution – Do not eat or drink anything for 30 minutes after you have enjoyed this scrumptious beginning to a new day!

Dr P V Ramana

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Origin of the Universe – from a 5th Grader

Varun Putcha (varun.putcha@gmail.com) sent the following paper

Universal Reionization: And the Case of the Missing Dwarf Galaxies

Why do so many dwarf galaxies near the, Milky Way not appear?

 3 extremely tiny *ghost* galaxies have been discovered by the Hubble Space telescope (HST). These dwarf galaxies all share the same birth date, 13 billion years ago (when they first started making stars). They also all abruptly stopped making stars, all in the first 1 billion years of the universe! To understand this we must first understand what a “galaxy” is.

Galaxies are massive clusters of stars. They may have up to trillions of stars.

There are 4 main types of galaxies, elliptical galaxies, spiral galaxies, starburst galaxies, and irregular galaxies. It is believed that most galaxies have a supermassive black hole in the center of them. Most galaxies are organized into groups and clusters. These in turn form Super clusters. There are over 170,000,000,000 (170 billion) galaxies in our observable universe, and possibly more in the theoretical wider universe.

            Then there is a whole other subcategory of galaxies called dwarf galaxies. It is believed that most galaxies are really dwarf galaxies. Dwarf galaxies do NOT have a black hole, and compared to larger galaxies, are very tiny. Many dwarf galaxies are absorbed and ripped apart into bigger galaxies. And almost all normal galaxies have hundreds of dwarf galaxies orbiting them. Imagine how many of them dwarf galaxies are! Now that you know what galaxies and dwarf galaxies are, let’s get back to the question, why do many extremely ancient, pristine “ghost” galaxies have so few stars?        

            2 main theories have emerged as the most likely explanation to this intriguing phenomenon. One suggests that it happened during the second age of reionization, while the other suggests some other causes, mainly a supernova. These ideas both intrigued me, and are very interesting.

            THEORY 1

“These galaxies are all ancient and they’re all the same age, so you know something came down like a guillotine and turned off the star formation at the same time in these galaxies,” said Tom Brown of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md., the study’s leader. “The most likely explanation is reionization.” 

            This all happened in the second stage of reionization. Reionization began in the first 1 billion years after the big bang. During this stage of the universe, radiation from the first stars knocked electron off primeval hydrogen atoms. This caused them to become transparent to UV radiation. Many big galaxies were massive enough to shield themselves from the deadly radiation, causing star production to continue. The same radiation that sparked reionization seems to have squelched the star making capabilities in numerous dwarf galaxies, including Leo IV, one of the 3 galaxies found by the HST. (Next Page A Leo IV comparison)

(See Leo IV Image as a separate post)

As you can see in the image, f you look at the section where Leo IV is, it barely has any stars once you remove the background galaxies!  (100- 1000) A typical dwarf galaxy would have300-1000x that amount! These are the effects of reionization.

            Dwarf galaxies like Leo IV did not have enough mass to stop the dreaded UV radiation. Their remaining gas was stripped away, and star making stopped. In this particular situation, the dark matter outnumbers the matter by a factor of 100! In normal dwarf galaxies, this ratio is 10 to 1. This all suggests that the dark matter was a byproduct of whatever happened.

            If this is all true than it must a have been a deadly time. Now onto theory 2!

 

THEORY 2

Some people believe that a massive internal supernova blew out any gas these dwarf galaxies once had. This theory is obviously supported by the fact that all the stars are ancient. Although this theory does not have backing from the HST like theory 1, it has some proof. Some stellar gas remains have been fund hovering around the location of the galaxies. Although most people believe these are recent, some believe they are ancient. If so, why did they not create stars? That is a flaw in the theory. Most astronomers support Theory 1 though.

 

Agreements between theories

Both theories agree though, that this may explain why we only see 12-20 dwarf galaxies around the Milky Way, even though computer simulations say there should be thousands. Reionization and supernovae are/were deadly forces that ripped through the universe; they didn’t have the mass to stop it. This was a dramatic era of our universe with many things happening, this may be some of the first casualties we may discover, and is probably not the only type too.

 

This is a key component of understanding the early universe, and astronomers are frantically looking for a reason that they didn’t survive. Maybe it is because they didn’t form black holes like other major galaxies, or maybe they were hit with a giant explosion… We may not know, until telescope many times stronger than the HST peer back into time and reveal the secrets of our past.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Origin of the Universe – from a 5th Grader

Varun Putcha (varun.putcha@gmail.com) sent the following paper

Universal Reionization: And the Case of the Missing Dwarf Galaxies

Why do so many dwarf galaxies near the, Milky Way not appear?

 3 extremely tiny *ghost* galaxies have been discovered by the Hubble Space telescope (HST). These dwarf galaxies all share the same birth date, 13 billion years ago (when they first started making stars). They also all abruptly stopped making stars, all in the first 1 billion years of the universe! To understand this we must first understand what a “galaxy” is.

Galaxies are massive clusters of stars. They may have up to trillions of stars.

There are 4 main types of galaxies, elliptical galaxies, spiral galaxies, starburst galaxies, and irregular galaxies. It is believed that most galaxies have a supermassive black hole in the center of them. Most galaxies are organized into groups and clusters. These in turn form Super clusters. There are over 170,000,000,000 (170 billion) galaxies in our observable universe, and possibly more in the theoretical wider universe.

            Then there is a whole other subcategory of galaxies called dwarf galaxies. It is believed that most galaxies are really dwarf galaxies. Dwarf galaxies do NOT have a black hole, and compared to larger galaxies, are very tiny. Many dwarf galaxies are absorbed and ripped apart into bigger galaxies. And almost all normal galaxies have hundreds of dwarf galaxies orbiting them. Imagine how many of them dwarf galaxies are! Now that you know what galaxies and dwarf galaxies are, let’s get back to the question, why do many extremely ancient, pristine “ghost” galaxies have so few stars?        

            2 main theories have emerged as the most likely explanation to this intriguing phenomenon. One suggests that it happened during the second age of reionization, while the other suggests some other causes, mainly a supernova. These ideas both intrigued me, and are very interesting.

            THEORY 1

“These galaxies are all ancient and they’re all the same age, so you know something came down like a guillotine and turned off the star formation at the same time in these galaxies,” said Tom Brown of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md., the study’s leader. “The most likely explanation is reionization.” 

            This all happened in the second stage of reionization. Reionization began in the first 1 billion years after the big bang. During this stage of the universe, radiation from the first stars knocked electron off primeval hydrogen atoms. This caused them to become transparent to UV radiation. Many big galaxies were massive enough to shield themselves from the deadly radiation, causing star production to continue. The same radiation that sparked reionization seems to have squelched the star making capabilities in numerous dwarf galaxies, including Leo IV, one of the 3 galaxies found by the HST. (Next Page A Leo IV comparison)

(See Leo IV Image as a separate post)

As you can see in the image, f you look at the section where Leo IV is, it barely has any stars once you remove the background galaxies!  (100- 1000) A typical dwarf galaxy would have300-1000x that amount! These are the effects of reionization.

            Dwarf galaxies like Leo IV did not have enough mass to stop the dreaded UV radiation. Their remaining gas was stripped away, and star making stopped. In this particular situation, the dark matter outnumbers the matter by a factor of 100! In normal dwarf galaxies, this ratio is 10 to 1. This all suggests that the dark matter was a byproduct of whatever happened.

            If this is all true than it must a have been a deadly time. Now onto theory 2!

 

THEORY 2

Some people believe that a massive internal supernova blew out any gas these dwarf galaxies once had. This theory is obviously supported by the fact that all the stars are ancient. Although this theory does not have backing from the HST like theory 1, it has some proof. Some stellar gas remains have been fund hovering around the location of the galaxies. Although most people believe these are recent, some believe they are ancient. If so, why did they not create stars? That is a flaw in the theory. Most astronomers support Theory 1 though.

 

Agreements between theories

Both theories agree though, that this may explain why we only see 12-20 dwarf galaxies around the Milky Way, even though computer simulations say there should be thousands. Reionization and supernovae are/were deadly forces that ripped through the universe; they didn’t have the mass to stop it. This was a dramatic era of our universe with many things happening, this may be some of the first casualties we may discover, and is probably not the only type too.

 

This is a key component of understanding the early universe, and astronomers are frantically looking for a reason that they didn’t survive. Maybe it is because they didn’t form black holes like other major galaxies, or maybe they were hit with a giant explosion… We may not know, until telescope many times stronger than the HST peer back into time and reveal the secrets of our past.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Radically Different i-Connect ITM PGDM

Project i-Connect and the new “Radically different ITM PGDM Program 2012-14

ITM Ver 2.0 – Reinventing ITM for the next decade!

THE NEED TO CHANGE:

ITM completed the first 20 years on Oct 8, 2011. Our history has been full of challenges and satisfactions. Looking back, ITM owes its success to several crucial policies adopted since Day 1:

–       Not to sell any seats ever

–       Design the hardest working PGDM of the times – 36 courses + Internship + Capstone Project, involving at least 50% more work load than any other University affiliated MBA or MMS Course

–       Maintain a culture of participation, transparency and equity

–       Merit oriented admissions

–       No hidden charges

When ITM started in 1991 there were hardly 30+ B-Schools in the country. Now the there are over 4000! The great majority adopting the 2-Year AICTE approved autonomous PGDM pioneered by ITM in 1991! It has taken some very hard work to retain a rank among the second tier ie Institutes ranked 20 to 50 in India.

Completion of a landmark like the 20th Foundation day, prompted the founders to think about the next 20 years, and we decided to change ITM completely from top to bottom. But at first, take a look at what we were in 2010:

–       Completing 20 years

–       Most leaders over 60 years of age, specially those who started with ITM in the 90’s

–       Well tested Flagship course, the PGDM accepted by Industry and getting 100% placement through the thick and thin years

–       A much larger organization having grown from 120 students in 1991 to over 6,000 in 2011-12

–       From a single location to over 23 locations

–       From a single discipline of Management to be a full provider with Management, Engineering, Hospitality, Health Sciences, Fashion, Culinary, Financial Markets, Executive Education, and Doctoral Programs

–       A corporate Matrix structure with Functional leaders controlling various programs spread across many locations

–       From being ‘Small and New’ we became ‘Big and Ranked’

–       A natural feeling of comfort had set in.

The situation required a complete change to re-tool ITM and develop future ITM Grads for the challenges of Emerging India and we undertook this task from mid-2010 with a sense of purpose and dedication. What follows is a description of what we did to change ourselves, and get back the ITM Advantage.

 

We decided to do everything required to renew ITM completely. Some things we did:

–       Redesign all Systems and Processes within ITM

–       Redesign our own Campus ERP to reflect the renovated systems

–       Reduce overall median age of Faculty and Leadership at all locations. This required the retirement of many old hands who built ITM from scratch and hiring many young leaders, who are better able to communicate with the youth of today.

–       Renovate and re-furnish some of our older campuses like Bangalore, Warangal etc

–       Improve service delivery at all locations (This has brought ITM Warangal into the Top 50 in India for the first time in 2011 – MBA Universe rankings)

These efforts consumed us from 2008 onwards and are getting completed by last quarter of 2011-12

Changing the Product

The big remaining task is to change the product offering. We divided our program offerings into 3 categories as below:

Program

Mature and needs change

Change pedagogy as affiliated course cannot be changed too much

Relatively new, industry accepted and does not need a change for next 5 years

AICTE approved PGDM

Recognized by Association of Indian Universities as equivalent to a MBA

Has remained static since 1991

N/A

N/A

AICTE approved Engineering

Yes, University syllabi need change

We can change old style lecturing to Project-based learning

N/A

Allied Health Courses

N/A

N/A

All allied Health programs of ITM are current and industry relevant

Hospitality

N/A

N/A

As above. ITM Hospitality programs are rated tops in India

Culinary

N/A

N/A

This is a brand new state of the art program

Executive Education

Needs change

N/A

N/A

Fashion Design & Technology

N/A

N/A

Started in 2010, this program is highly successful

 

With this scenario, ITM decided to completely re-write the AICTE approved 2-Year Full time PGDM, and embarked on the ITM i-Connect Program in June 2011.

The approach chosen was unique:

–       Start with a clean slate and re-design all courses from scratch, and

–       Adopt a new Curriculum from academic year 2012-13 at all ITM PGDM locations.

–       Meet 300+ Business Leaders and Corporate HR Managers of leading Indian Companies and ask them what they would like to see in a 2-Year PGDM course

This exercise was undertaken by me with my colleague Prof Jayanti Das, and is still on going. We have consulted the following groups by Dec 2011, and meetings are still being planned:

–       25+ Deans and Directors in the ITM Group

–       7,000+ alumni

–       400+ Visiting Faculty

–       250+ Business leaders (We will keep meeting these people till we cross 300 in this category)

Methodology:

  1. All responses have been typed up and analyzed
  2. Significant views were extracted and cut-paste into different ‘buckets’ such as:
    1. Admissions
    2. Entry level profile of a candidate
    3. What to look for when making a new admission
    4. Pedagogy
    5. Number of courses and how to structure them
    6. Role of Internship
    7. Soft Skills and personality Development
    8. Analytical skills
    9. Presentation skills
    10. Decision making under uncertainity
    11. Coping with Stress
    12. Meeting “Employability” criteria of major employers
    13. Theoretical basis for the re-design
    14. Career choices and aptitude testing
    15. Leadership profiling
    16. Relative weight of Test scores, academic CGPA, Workex GD/PI scores etc
    17. Student engagement from date of admission till date of arrival at the campus
    18. Forming teams, which last through the 2 years in the campus
    19. Role of CFT (Cross Functional Teams)
    20. Role of MFP (Monitored Field Projects)
    21. Intensive review sessions
    22. Etc – the list of themes which emerged during this exercise was quite large!

The resulting document called “MBA Buckets” was put on the web as Google Doc and shared by all stakeholders.

Our brand-new “Radically Different ITM i-Connect PGDM Program” which will be implemented across all our locations from AY 2012-13, is the result of thousands of man-hours contributed into this project, by various members.

Before we give you the details of the i-Connect PGDM, let us see what CEOs and Corporate HR Managers said about many of the critical issues. We are not giving names to preserve confidentiality.

PGDM Demand & Supply

–       When demand outstrips supply we forget to listen to our customers

–       Product quality among Premier Institutes has suffered due to unplanned expansion in Seats and Locations

–       I cannot think of a sweeter spot in the History of India. The opportunity is boundless and only limiting factor is your ambition

–       There is a squeeze at the middle, and B-Schools are forced to migrate either upwards by increasing quality and rigor, or, be a bottom end commodity player

–       In this scenario product differentiation is the key

PGDM Admissions

–       Psyche of the student is to be tested for Attitude at Entry level

–       Reduce weightage for CAT Score

–       CAT Score is a poor predictor of managerial performance

–       Maintain diversity of the incoming student group

–       Place high value on EQ, and SQ

–       Thoroughness, Awareness and Sharpness – we look for these

–       Social sensitivity and Business Knowledge are important

–       Highly focused courses need to base admissions on Psychometric Tests and Aptitude Tests

–       3 criteria – Leadership Potential, Domain Skills, Attitude/Culture

–       Wear multiple lenses to gauge the aptitude of candidates

–       Well groomed, mobile, has positive aptitude, and is curious

–       CAT Score is a Macro filter and is not important thereafter

–       Training of Evaluators for GD and PI is very important

–       GD Groups need to be 6 to 8 and not larger

–       PI is very important and needs objective interviewers, since it is often the last stage at which an admission offer is considered

Student attitudes

–       a lot of here and now in the mindset of young students

–       DNA of the MBA student has to change with right mindset

–       Arrogance and a sense of entitlement is the bane of the high scoring candidate

–       They are prone to ‘convenient’ integrity

–       Not able to connect with reality of business

–       Students from non-metro’s are hard working and intelligent, but need communication skills and a language

–       They rattle what they know due to 15 years of wrote learning.

–       Fixed in their minds about job roles

–       They enter a college with pre-fixed objectives. They need to be stripped of these objectives to make them into leaders

–       Today’s generation is Green, more intellectually honest and does not tolerate fakes

–       Lack of humility and ‘know-all’ attitude are the major drawbacks

–       Assertive, demanding, ambitious, peer-driven, and easily bored

–       Googlised and socially networked

–       Social networking increases Social skills and decreases personal skills

–       Candidates come with date of Mfg, and date of expiry

–       Attitude of PGDM Grads creates artificial barriers that can seriously hamper business

–       Street smart, and stylish, but shallow in knowledge

–       Restless and discontented with focus on a pay packet

–       High performers come with a chip on their shoulders

–       Aspiration and ambition marred some times by arrogance

–       Plagued by insecurity – high competition and narrow thresholds of entry

–       Need to be more grounded, and ego deflated

–       A good job is defined with a salary but not always with the Job profile growth opportunity etc

–       Freshers with MBA have attitudes that do not let them soil their hands on actual work

–       A level head and a pleasant disposition will get you further in your career than any book smarts

How PGDM is changing

–       We do not want to be an IIM, but we want to be different

–       We go to IIMs only due to internal peer pressure of IIM alumni already with us. Actually candidates from 2nd tier B-Schools perform better

–       Branded B-Schools do not always give good candidates

–       HR is becoming more operational

–       HR has to marry Business at the Apex level

–       B-Schools must improve the EQ and SQ of their students

–       Main focus should be to equip students with different skill sets, and develop a positive attitude

–       It is 2nd Tier B-School Candidates that become high-flyers

–       B-Schools spread knowledge too thin and produce all-in-ones

–       Increasing uniformity of Metro City skylines is also prompting many B-Schools to be look-alikes

–       B-Schools want to deliver context-free education in their class rooms and then send the students out to learn context

–       The MBA has become a commodity and MBA Schools are like placement agencies

–       Branded Colleges have an edge

–       An MBA is like a journey, milestones differ with time

–       Objective of a B-School should be to stay current through its collaborations and industry interventions

–       MBA is actually putting a structure to what we have inside

–       Require Specialization to be chosen on entry

–       Requires students to form Cross-functional Teams on entry

–       Often require faculty to work in teams

–       Big component is experiential learning

–       Industry does not understand what the curriculum does, nor does the Curriculum understand what the Industry does

Leadership

–       Leadership should be discovered at entry level

–       Build emotional resilience

–       Respect comes from knowledge, not theoretical, but problem solving on the job

–       Choosing the next generation of leaders is the top concern of CEO’s

–       First thing to look for in a young leader is the desire to succeed

–       ‘Undying ambition’ can kill a company

–       A pure generalist cannot be a leader in today’s world. Some expert level domain knowledge is assumed, with a good understanding of the drivers of the business

–       Ability to recover from a failure

–       Setbacks are common in every life, and the ability to learn from them is critical

–       When young leaders develop intellectual arrogance, they lose the capacity to lead

–       Humility is critical

–       A manager becomes a leader by developing his soft skills and the ability to form and lead teams

–       Leader is inclusive and focuses on all stake holders

–       Leaders keep a higher purpose in mind

–       Leaders see what is good, quickly grasp the essence, create context for learning, communicate effectively, exercise power to bring together people and encourage development

–       B-Schools must build leaders

Skill Sets

–       It is time to evolve right skills and competencies needed by Corporates

–       Social skills are important

–       Analytical skills are needed early

–       Making sense from data is more important than arranging and presenting data

–       MBA student cannot be pardoned fro lack of presentation skills

–       For promotion or a new job, interpersonal skills set you apart

–       In a volatile economy, Employers want people who takes decisions under stress

–       Good listening skills are an indicator of High EQ

–       Skills and competencies are essential for high performers. Self starters get more space for development

–       Thinking and reasoning skills are very important

–       ‘Knowing’ skills are to be supplemented with ‘Doing’ and ‘Being’ skills

–       Companies hire for skills and fire for behavior

–       B-Schools polish students, rather than create managers

–       Be practical

–       Feet on ground and head in the clouds

–       Ability to push back

–       Relocate and be mobile

–       The art of polite conversation is an important managerial tool

–       Time Management skills

–       Career Management skills need to be taught

–       Professional adaption comes through an intensive monitored field project – Action Learning

–       Critical thinking and hindsight to analyse failure is important

–       Ability to question, the problem, convention, habits, tradition etc

–       Institute gives knowledge, which requires skills to be deployed, and these skills can be learnt only during an internship, which has to be long enough for some learning to take place

–       An Exam is only a memory skill

–       Train for skills more than knowledge

–       Organisations look to how diligent you are rather than how intelligent you are

–       More tolerant of diversity and change

–       Build up your adversity quotient

–        

PGDM Curriculum

–       We speak only about PGDM curriculum, which can be changed, and not about MBA curriculum (University affiliated) which is not changed easily

–       Application of theory to business – through Case study and internship projects

–       How organizations work, and how Management takes decisions is missing in the MBA curricula

–       Curriculum should include public speaking and Business Etiquette

–       Critical analytical thinking, decision making under imperfect information, etc are important parts now missing

–       Text books get updated only once in 5 years, while curriculum needs upgrading every 2 years

–       Curriculum must create stakes in EQ, Man Management, and People relations

–       Team building and team work should an integral part of the curriculum design

–       Course on Systems Thinking is needed

–       Western style MBA is for the MNC, what India needs is a PGDM for the aggressive SME company

–       Applied learning is fundamental to Business, but the application goes out of the window and learning goes on

–       More learning happens outside the class room

–       Curriculum needs to be adapted to current needs of Employers

–       Systems thinking, problem solving, use of innovation, rural market dynamics, globalization – these are essential inputs

–       Learning happens when peers discuss issues backed with data

–       There is need for Emerging market B-Schools to teach globalization from their own perspective

–       Strong academic engagement with business practice

–       Global immersion, semester abroad etc are useful

–       B-School success is where learning ends and organization begins

–        Collaboration with Industry is the real success story

–       MBA is a degree that over-promises and under-delivers

–       MBA is seen as a high-speed elevator, not a step ladder

–       Develop Eastern Philosophy which is truly our competitive edge

–       MBA should be branded

–       Should include a course on culture

–       Number of courses to be reduced – teach them in depth

–       A course on Business History is needed

–       The core MBA curriculum is no longer suited to meet the needs of Employers

–       Recruiters are demanding MBAs who are Team Builders, Better Communicators and Creative Thinkers

–       2 Company projects needed beyond internships

–       Choose specialization on day 1, and take electives for your chosen career

–       Markets are crowded with output of a very typical syllabus

–       Impart all round understanding of different disciplines

–        The Core MBA curriculum, while still being valuable is no longer able to meet the needs of today’s employers

–       Eliminate cookie-cutter concentrations and enable students to take a repertoire of courses to match their career choices

–       Minimum 12 and maximum 24 courses in a 2-year period, supplemented with long internships and projects

–       Incorporate experiential learning

One liners

–       Be an all-round Manager

–       Be hands-on

–       Ready to work from Day 1

–       Practice self-reflection

–       Create your own project

–       Faculty needs to know more than the book

–       MBA is like an ATM?

–       B-Schools polish students

–       Value system, Behaviour and Attitude standout as long term career builders

–       Hire for skills and fire for behavior. Some times promote for behavior

–       Not building a career, but building a life

–       Develop EQ, Understanding and Sophistication

–       Know practical applications of theories learnt

–       Subscription comes from the Heart and Compliance from the Mind

–       People join Organisations and leave Bosses

–       Invest in proximity

–       Practice Evidence based management

–       The Value of a job is linked to the glamour quotient

–       Recruit to Select

–       Adopt, Mentor and Select

–       Enjoy your work

–       Long term focus is missing

–       Entire Business of Education is the Business of Branding

–       Branding is the key differentiator for visibility

–       Students have to be producers of knowledge as well

–       When employers seek caliber, they look for the capacity to grow continuously

–       Working shifts can never be understood unless tried

Internships

–       Have to be longer than 2 months

–       2-month Summer interns are a joke

–       Need at least 2 internships of 2 months each

–       Long Internship + 2 company projects

–       Field immersion is the key

–       Field projects need to be monitored

–       Faculty need internships as well

–       Reflective journal made during Field Project are very important

–       Field projects need to be monitored and assessed by both the company and faculty

–       Institutes should offer Cross Functional Teams to Companies

–       Do not seek internships, seek real projects that cross functional teams can execute over a longer time frame

–       Adaption, critical thinking and hindsight are needed during an internship

–       Previous work experience is of no great value – many CEOs say this

We have had hundreds more responses in our “MBA Buckets”, too many to reproduce here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Radically Different i-Connect ITM PGDM

Based on these responses and intensive discussions among the 3 vital groups, viz Admissions Team, Teaching Faculty and Placement Team, the ‘Radically Different ITM i-Connect” program evolved. We will touch upon the various elements of this program

Stage I – Admissions

  1. All applicants will take 2 on-line tests
    1. Leadership profiling
    2. Career aptitude
    3. The results of these test scores are integrated into the Applicants credentials
    4. CAT, GMAT, XAT, CMAT, MAT etc Test scores are normalized
    5. Test scores have very little weight in deciding Call Letters. ITM will view high scores in Psychometric test and Aptitude Test as a better filter than a high test score (So do not worry if you scored less in CAT)
    6. The actual break up of the different parameters that go into an overall score for each applicant is published on our website
    7. Purely subjective evaluation like a PI has reduced weightage
    8. Experience beyond 2 years does not get added weight
    9. Through a web based real time evaluation system, applicants called for GD/PI will get a decision same day
    10. The process should be over in most cases by mid-April, with EMD accepted and Admission letters issued for all seats.

Term Zero – Pre-joining engagement

Applicants who have received admission offers will also receive hard and soft copies of required reading, including on-line materials, such as introduction to  Management Courses. This period Mid-April to Mid-June is Term Zero. These materials are for the student to keep even he or she does not eventually join ITM

Term I

This is a 7-month term starting in June 2012 and ending in December 2012. This is a very intensive period, with just 1-day breaks for Ganesh, Dusserah, Diwali and Christmas, during which 8 courses will be covered. Students make choice of specializations on day 1 of this term, and form cross-functional teams that stay together for the duration of the program. Team Members are from different concentrations and will be working together for assignments, Case Studies, and Internship projects.

Term II

This is the 6-Month long internship term. Features:

–       January 2013 to June 2013

–       4 weeks in Company followed by 1 week in the college

–       6 periods like this complete 6 months

–       Intensive engagement

–       Fortnightly Faculty visits and feedback at the work-place

–       Minimum 2 real projects

–       Cross Functional Teams are given to Companies

–       The Internship oversight is shared by the work place supervisor and nominated Faculty twice in a month.

–       Joint feedback is a part of the student’s transcript

–       Both the student and the company get a chance to know each other well

–       Progressive companies may rotate the students with projects in different departments, and even attach different mentors at different times and get a 360-degree feedback on the internee.

–       This initiative is the critical element that connects the Institute to Industry – this is the i-Connect that drives ITM PGDM and your future!

Term III, and IV – 6 to 8 Specialization courses

These terms run from July to mid-August, and September to December 2013. Placement preparation, acquiring domain knowledge, mock interviews, personality development, etc are important activities during these terms.

Term V – Capstone Project

This term runs from January 2014 to April 2014. Students bring together their academics, Industry experience and their enterprise together to produce the Final Project. A good grade in this is essential for graduation.

The total number of courses works out as below:

Term Zero                              2  (4 Half-courses)

Term I                                                8  Courses

Term II                                   6 (Practicum is counted as 4 courses, and 5 sessions                                                      of 1 week each as 2 courses)

Term III                                  4 Courses

Term IV                                  4 Courses

Term V                                   2 (Capstone Project counts as 2 courses)

Total Courses                         26 Courses

 

 

 

 

 

How is i-Connect different from the earlier PGDM design?

                                                            Old PGDM                   New i-Connect PGDM

Terms                                                 6 Trimesters              5 different Terms

No of Courses                                                36                               26

No of contact hours                           1296                           1080

Internship                                          2 Months                    6 Months

Projects                                              1                                  3

Faculty supervision of Internship   Nil                               Continuous

Intensive Workshops                        Nil                               5

Capstone Project                               Yes                              Yes

Specialization                                     2nd Year                      From 1st Year first day

Teams                                                 From same batch      Cross-Functional team

                                                            Of specialization        across Mktg, Finance

                                                                                                and HR

 

Placement activity

This begins in September and gets usually completed by January. ITM is known for untiring efforts to place the students and has record of 100% placement during tough times as well. Every Location has dedicated Placement Officers, backed up by Corporate Placement Leaders in the Head Office coordinating all information and bringing companies to interview on campus

ITM is a multi-disciplinary Institution

ITM has grown into a large multi-disciplinary, medium size, high quality educational organization with many campuses.

Location

Business School

Hospitality

Culinary

Allied Health

Fashion

Engg College

Exec Ed

Kharghar

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Dombivali

Yes

Yes

Oshiwara

Yes

Yes

Yes

Bangalore

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Chennai

Yes

Yes

Warangal

Yes

Yes

Hyderabad

Yes

Yes

Vijag

Yes

Nagpur

Yes

Yes

Yes

Raipur from 2012

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

Capacity

ITM Offers a choice of Specializations and locations, perhaps 2nd only to IIMs across India. The following is listing of AICTE approved Capacity

Location

Estd in Year

PGDM General Marketing, Finance & HR

PGDM Interna-tional Business

PGDM HR

PGDM Retail & Marketing

PGDM

Finance

PGDM

SCM & Logistics

Kharghar

Navi Mumbai

1991

240

60

(Semester in Europe)

60

60

60

(120 more applied for)

 

Dombivali

Mumbai

2011

60

60

Bangalore

1992

120

Chennai

1993

120

60

(Semester in Singapore)

Warangal

1995

120

Hyderabad

2011

120

Nagpur (under process)

2012

120

 

2 more universities in the offing

ITM has received a LOI in Gujarat for the first Vocational University in India, and also has secured another LOI in Rajasthan for a University

Calendar

Detailed calendar of activities, Term start and end dates etc is available in the “Radically Different i-Connect ITM PGDM” brochure.

Come to ITM and build a Life!

If you have applied to ITM, you have the right qualifications and mindset. You will succeed regardless of where you do your PGDM! We wish that you do that with ITM and join the ranks of our star Alumni many of whom are CEOs.

God bless!

 

Dr. P.V.Ramana

Chairman, and Founder of the ITM Group

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

A Personal Philosophy for every one

I have started a rather long post about

– understanding philosphy

– how to develop a personal philosophy for yourself

I will be posting these in Sections spaced about a month apart. Here goes the first section. You will notice that the format is Q&A. The mor equestions YOU ask, the more I develop this concept of understanding philosophy as a set of expanding questions and answers.

The Judge and the Philosopher

(Family Conversations at the Dining Table)  An Introduction to Religion and Philosophy

Dr. P. V. Ramana Bungalow No.12, Gulab view, Chembur, Mumbai 400 074

Tel  + 91 22 25200363, Mobile + 91 9821065645, Email: pvramana@itm.edu

Why Philosophy?

Why do we have this urge to know or even understand our Scriptures, Epics, and Vedanta, and religion? I believe that this is primal need beginning with the urge to understand how the world around us functions and why people, other beings, and how the forces of nature operate.

In essence all the questions reduce to three basic questions:

–       Who am I?

–       What is this world around us?

–       Who or what is the great force which created me and this world?

Several thinkers from the oldest known written or transmitted records and oral traditions developed cogent and well ordered systems, which purport to give most of the answers. Some systems developed into Religion and Ritual, while some other systems remained as ‘Philosophies’.

Examples of Religion:

–       Egyptian practices revolving around the Sun God

–       Persian and Zorastrian systems built around the ‘Fire’ principle

–       Judaism

–       Christianity

–       Islam

–       Hinduism

–       Buddhism

–       Confucian Religion

–       Shinto in Japan

–       Druidic Gods and primitive religion in Old England

–       Norse Gods and the Valhalla system in the Nordic countries

–       Nature and ‘Spirit’ worship among American Indians

Examples of Phiosophy:

–       Bohemianism

–       Existentialism

–       Nihilism

–       Stoics of old Greece

–       Spartans of Old Greece

–       Theories of Socratis and his desciples

–       Mechanistic Theory of the Universe

–       Scientology

–       Rosicrucians

–       Etc

Cults:

These are one idea or one person centered social movements, usually, but not always, focused on doing good to the Society, by adopting a particular set of values, positive or negative, preached by that one individual. The idea remains after the person is gone. Examples:

–       Original Sai baba

–       Satya Sai Baba

–       Maharshi Mahesh Yogi and TM

–       Rajanish and ‘Free Love’

–       Ram Dev baba

–       Sadhu Vaswani

–       Ramakrishna Paramahansa

Some of our revered Saints in the Hindu Traditions touched core human emotions through their song and sacrifice,

Examples:

–       Kabir

–       Mira Bai

–       Tulasi das

–       Yogi Vemana

Some other could attract a great number of devotees who developed special belief structures around a principal God Vishnu, and these beliefs developed into sub-sects within the Hindu Tradition

–       Vallabhacharya

–       Madhvacharya

–       Ramanujacharya

The latest of such a system is the ISKCON movement, which has centred on the Love between Lord Krishna and his consort Radha Maayi

It is important to distinguish between Religion, Ritual, Doctrine, Tradition, Scripture, and Commentary, and Philosophy.

It is also important to distinguish between what is “written’ and what can be inferred by argument.

Why is it important to know about systems of religious beliefs and philosophies?

Personally I believe that every person should have a self-consistent set of ideas about how  he or she relates to the Society and the world around us, and that set of ideas should serve to give us a certain mental and emotional stability as we go through our particular but insignificant journey through life. I call this set of ideas and beliefs as a “Personal Philosophy”

Example of the elements of a Personal Philosophy:

–       I believe in God

–       I acknowledge that He is the true witness to what I do

–       I will not harm others by design

–       I will do only good to others within my limits

–       I do not wish to show any emotion publicly

–       When faced with any situation, I will think of what to do immediately and set about to do it, instead of apportioning or sharing blame

–       For me, to be seen as stable and equitable at all times is a virtue

–       It is my duty to share my knowledge with others

–       It is better to sacrifice what is mine than to grab what belongs to others

–       I will try to tell the truth at all times

Any one can add or delete to these set of ideas, for themselves as long as these ideas or consistent in themselves. One does not need a Religion to have a philosophy!

Questions:

This book is written as a set of questions, the main protagonists being a retired Judge and a Guru who visits the Judge frequently. I want all of you to send me more questions so I can introduce characters and ask questions and figure out the answers as well

Family Conversations : Section 1

Retired Judge Rao fidgeted and settled himself once again in the cane sofa in the outside verandah.  He was still irritated a bit, being ousted from the comfortable sofa-recliner in the living room, now occupied by a Priest and his Paraphernalia.  His wife Sakunthala is doing the “Satyanarayana vratam”.  It was way beyond his lunch time, and I guess retired persons like the dear Judge put more attention on a regular lunch and siesta than we do!  The making of a delicious lunch were wafting their flavors from the kitchen and inviting him in, while the drone of the “Mantra” chanting by the priest was keeping him out!  Sakunthala came out to appease him with a glass of Horlicks, and he barked out her “How many times in a month you are doing this puja ? There is a limit !”

Sakunthala gave him a look, which all but said –  “ You are incorrigible” and went back inside.  Judge Rao retired as a Supreme Court Justice nearly a year ago, and as a man wedded to principles of law, factual analysis and Justice, and due to the niceties of his position and profession, developed very few friendships.  Only now a days he is forced to engage in some conversations with the odd visitor.  Before retirement, to have a decent conversation with him was nearly impossible for his family and children.  The Hon. Judge is totally averse to ritual, Puja and celebration of religious days like “Ekadasi”  etc, which were so dear to his wife.  He argues – “Why even the Supreme God should be burdened with a body, wife, children , and problems in life ! “

This is all nonsense, he says. If the God cannot survive without offerings of food and clothes, what he can do for us? A God has to be different from ordinary humans.  That is why the scriptures say “Nirguna Brahma” – The one without name or shape is the true God.  The good judge has some ideas on this, but never had the time to do such reading.  He likes such ideas since they are logical perhaps.

He has never dealt deeply in philosophical ideas before. Only recently, after the casual friendship with Acharya has developed, he is tolerating and sometimes participating in philosophical talks. Today Acharya has been invited to dine with the family and take the “Prasad “offering of the Satyanarayana Puja.  Acharya has not arrived on time, adding to the irritation of Judge Rao.  His mind dwelt on the foolishness of old ladies who believe in Ritual and Puja, and squander money on gifts to Swamis, Babas and Puja fees to Brahmin Priests. ”Not only Ladies, even, some educated men also see God in photos, pieces of stone, and metal and ritual chants. Why they cannot spend their time during useful works for good of Society? This is nothing but a big fraud!“.  While musing so, the garden gate creaked, sounding the arrival of Acharya.

Sri Purushottama Acharya, a retired Professor of English Literature had recently settled in the same suburb. Casual meetings during Morning Walks led to a standing invitation to the Rao House.  Sakunthala likes his religious bent of mind and easy way of explaining complex ideas and thus he has become a regular visitor on Puja days in the Rao Household.

The judge almost got up from his sofa on seeing Acharya, but remembered his position (Supreme Court Justice!) and sat down abruptly again.  Acharya did not seem to notice this. Education and Culture do bring humility.  Listening to the sounds from living room he remarked  – “Sakunthala seems to be doing her “Satyanarayana Puja” today, What is the occasion ?”

“What is there? My wife believes that even if our dog has puppies, it is because of her God’s blessing !” replied the judge , showing a little resentment at the delayed lunch and disturbance to his set habits.

“Probably you do not believe that is the case“, Acharya said probing the Judge.  During this past year, he has learnt how to drive the judge into a conversation.

“You two are a piece from the same cloth” Rao retorted hotly expressing his irritation and anger in a few chosen words. Hearing the raised tone, Sakunthala peeped into the Verandah and welcomed Acharya “Acharyaji, since how long you are here? At least you could have told me he has arrived!“ this  last arrow at her husband. She hurried back inside, and brought him a glass of Buttermilk to drink. “It will take at least an hour more for the Puja to be completed. We can eat immediately afterwards”.

“One hour more! She is wasting her time.  Instead she could use the time to do some gardening, or grow vegetables which would be time well-spent and has a useful product “ Rao is grumbling while his stomach is growling!

Thus given an opening, Acharya started a conversation.

“Judge sir, I am watching your irritation all this time.  Do you really believe that the Prayer and ritual worship is a mere waste?”

“Yes! You tell to me what earthly use is there for self or society? This is all useless, utterly useless!”

“These prayers and Rituals for special days are in our culture and society since a very long time. Do you say that all our ancestors were engaged in a really stupid and useless ritual?”

“Yes, that is why our country is so backward! Look at Britain or America and see how fast they are progressing.”

“In your opinion, no one is wasting their time on prayer and worship in America or Britain?” Looking like a Defense lawyer, who has just caught the prosecutor in a major mis-statement, Acharya had a growing smile on his face.

“They have Churches and Prayers, no doubt” replied Rao, “But in India, it is the priests who are wasting everybody’s time.”

“I don’t see any difference in the work done by Pastors and Bishops and Imams in those countries and the work of our Brahmin Priests in India” replied Acharya.  Rao had to literally bite his tongue! “After all these years as a Judge, I am caught in the words of an ordinary English Professor!” – he thought. Trying to justify himself quite unsuccessfully he tried another trick “Yes, I agree they have also their beliefs and rituals, but not as much as we have.  We have to go really deep into this topic” – He tried his best to change the topic.

After ruminating for a minute, Acharya shot another  arrow at him. “What I want to know is this. Do you believe that in the Ritual prayers that your wife is so fond of, there is no God; or that this is not the way to worship God; or that God is not in this shape or form we worship; or even that God does not need any of this ?”

A logical and structured statement appeals to the legal mind of a Judge. Rao’s mood changed and he replied with a smile “Acharya, you should have been a member of the Bar! I want to ask you something. What is the use of a God?  Can we not lead our daily life without thinking about or worrying  about a God? Why do we need the concept of God at all? We can earn, eat, live and die absolutely without any God! Why all this? Cultivating a small coconut farm is enough for a peaceful life!”

“What do you get from a coconut farm?”

“Coconuts! Eat what you can, and sell the rest”

“What do you get from a Mango garden?”

The judge was a little offended that Acharya is asking him childish and elementary questions. But since he is quite accustomed to Defense lawyers leading a witness, he contained himself and replied.

“Mangoes! Eat what you can and sell the rest!”

“Coconuts, or Mangoes, or Apples, or this or that, are we satisfied with this?”

‘Satisfaction? Satisfaction?’ The judge questioned himself and spoke his mind – “Yes we can say we are satisfied for the sake of argument, but it is human nature that all of us will want to buy some more land, a little bigger house. This desire is basic”

“You can buy more land for a farm, plant more trees, produce more, and if then you still want more, you can buy more lands and lakes and estates. Will you be satisfied then?”

Judge Rao became curious now. Acharya is really leading up to something and deserves to be humored.  The leading questions continued.

“Suppose a man has got all possible fixed properties like lands and estates and farms and houses, will he be happy, contented and comfortable?” This has to be answered, thought Rao ‘No there is something lacking, what is it?’.

His grand daughter Vimi, an ebullient seven year old, came in with a flask of buttermilk and 2 glasses, kept them on the Tea table and ran back inside. That gave an idea to Judge Rao, pouring the buttermilk into the glasses, he said “only lands and houses are not enough, we need animals to give milk and food and labor.”

“Ok, suppose man acquires animals which give milk and food and labor also, will that lead him to happiness and contentment?” As Judge Rao lapsed into silence, thinking deeply about the issues raised by Acharya, a lull in the Puja chant allowed the cricket commentary from Vimi’s bedroom to seep into the verandah.  As Judge poured the buttermilk into the glasses, Acharya spoke again – “I will also add this, in addition all lands and all animals, man also acquires products of technology and manufacturing. Will he then be happy and content? Will his satisfaction be complete?”

The Judge looked at Acharya in askance at the last word “complete?”

“Happiness being complete means that man should be able to say for himself – I have no more wants, and the happiness, comfort and contentment which I have acquired along with possessions of lands, houses, animals, birds and artifacts of manufacture will always be there and will continue to grow”.

The judge smiled and said, “This is all right, but a man needs a wife and children!” Acharya did not smile back, but said a bit seriously “Is that enough? Or, man needs mothers, sisters, parents, and friends?”

This put the Judge into a studied silence again, as he kept thinking that man needs other men and women and children and so on to get ‘Happiness’. Acharya continued in a lighter vein “yes we also need Lawyers, and Litigants and Witnesses and Clerks and Judge and Jury too!” Judge Rao laughed at these words along with Acharya.

“What I mean is that Humans need all the needful things from the animate and inanimate world, also these categories are mutually dependent. Even the Animals and lands need men!”

“Yes indeed” said the Judge, all these categories depend on each other for continuance of existence and mutual benefit. “You are a Professor Acharyaji, why don’t you write a booklet on this subject?”

“This is not such a great thing. As a lawyer and promoted as a Judge at an early age, you have given your life to the study of law and justice. That is why you have not used your power of learning and analysis in this direction! Almost everyone with a smattering of philosophy knows about his”

“No, no, I do not like philosophy at all. Philosophers exhort you to leave the society and community and lead a life of detachment and celibacy. Whenever I used to get cases with Religious angles, I have tried to get them transferred to another judge or even another court! I never tried religious cases in my court!”

“I am surprised that a person of your stature is committing two ordinary mistakes in understanding what philosophy is. The first error is to think that philosophy teaches detachment etc. Philosophy is nothing but a search for truth. The second error is to confuse philosophy with Religion. Religion has to do mostly with a system of beliefs. The average man, who confuses these two is really mixed up!  Philosophy, and its study is quite distinct from Religion”

Judge Rao was not put off this curt observation. He never thought deeply about religion or philosophy. A life devoted to study of law and the constitution, he entered the judicial service very early in life. As a judge, he would not attend social or Religious functions or discourses as a rule, and would not even read the newspapers deeply lest they influence his judgment on the bench! Moreover he was never really interested in God or Religion or Philosophy and would be least bothered to read about the matter even if he had the time. But now after his retirement he is not unwilling to learn new things!

“Please explain to me a little more in detail about philosophy” asked the Judge bending a little forward to show his curiosity and attention.

When faced with any issue or topic, it is one of the first principles of Philosophy to ask the questions – why, how, when, who, what etc and obtain answers. For instance, we have just examined how the three great categories – the Humankind, the entire animate world and the inanimate world are mutually dependent! As we continue this inquiry along logical lines of thought, the set of answers will be the result of a “Philosophical” inquiry!”

The priest came in from the living room, and announced “The Puja is over, please come and get blessings and the offerings. His duffel bag was overflowing with fruits and sweets and the100 Rupee notes together with Betel leaves clutched in his hand showed that Sakunthala had already received her blessings!

“Oh God! At last the Puja is over, Acharyaji, I always thought Philosophy means the study of “Vedas” and “Vedanta”. Vedanta preaches that this world we know is not real; at least that is what I remember to have read about Sankaracharya and Ramanujacharya. Even Ramakrishna said the same thing!

” But your ideas are different ?”

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