Rajesh Jain at the India Business Conference at Columbia University

~ ~ The Low Library, Columbia University
My colleague Rajesh Jain was a speaker at the the Eight Annual India Business Conference 2012 at Columbia University on 14th April in New York City. It was held at the Low Library, a US national historic landmark building (picture on the right.) I was at the conference and had the opportunity to meet Prof Jagadish Bhagwati and Prof Arvind Panagariya. I am pleased to say that Rajesh’s talk was very well-received. Here’s what he said.
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Happy Bengali New Year

Shubho Nobo Borsho. This Bengali new year I am spending in New York City. There’s a conference at the Columbia Business School tomorrow (Saturday 14th April). Rajesh is making a presentation there on “Transforming India.” We will also meet Prof Jagadish Bhagwati and Prof Panagariya.
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“Religion is not for the weak” – Swami Vivekananda

An article on Swami Vivekananda in the Wall Street Journal of 30th March titled, “What Did J.D. Salinger, Leo Tolstoy, and Sarah Bernhardt Have in Common?” makes for delightful reading. What they had in common was their devotion to Swami Vivekananda, the man who introduced Vedanta and yoga to America. I did not know that. But anyway, it’s the sort of positive article about a Hindu monk that would give conniptions to the leftist “secular intellectuals” in India. But the Wall Street Journal does not suffer from the knee-jerk negative reflex of the main stream English language media in India; the latter would recoil with horror at the mere thought of publishing a laudatory piece about a proud Hindu. Wouldn’t that be tantamount to endorsing — horror of horrors — Hindutva?
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Specialization – Part 2

Andrew Carnegie wrote his own epitaph which read, “Here Lies a Man Who Knew How to Enlist in His Service Better Men Than Himself.” He was a captain of American industry and his wealth is “estimated at anywhere from US$75 billion to US$297.8 billion adjusted for the late 2000s.” [Reference.] Clearly the man was no slouch when it came to creating wealth and his epitaph reveals an essential truth about the world — that specialization matters.
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Specialization

A world-class sumo wrestler cannot possibly be even an average runner, leave alone being a world-class sprinter. The general principle is that there are endeavors where excelling in one necessarily makes it impossible to excel in others. You can be a successful politician in India, or you can be a visionary. But in India, you cannot expect a visionary to be a successful politician any more than you would expect a sumo wrestler to be a sprinter.
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