Monday, 17 December 2012

Who's the donkey?

"MBA hi karna tha to engineering kyun ki?"
I call this question the Arindam Chaudhuri question, and the value I give to it is the same as what I give to Arindam Chaudhuri and his opinions- ZERO.

You will definitely be knowing Arindam Chaudhuri. He's the perennial 'Dare to think beyond the IITs/IIMs' guy. What really makes him think that his IIPM is beyond either of them is a point to ponder. Anyway, so he, as far as I know, threw this two pence worth question. It was then picked up by people from other fields and even the movie 3 Idiots. People doing an MBA after engineering have been called everything from idiots to gadhas (donkeys).

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Worse, even the IIMs seem to have bowed down to it. They have started lowering the requirements for people from commerce and arts. And people haven't responded to it publicly because, perhaps it can't be responded to in a punch line.

Firstly, many people claim that business has got nothing to do with engineering. And they ironically proclaim that on the internet! So many technology based companies got where they are with absolutely no knowledge of engineering?

Secondly, if this was indeed the case then business should be done only by people who have got a bachelor's degree in it, namely BBA. Why do I, then, never hear this question being asked about commerce or arts? If business isn't only about engineering, is it only about commerce? And arts?

The simple truth is that there are more tech-based companies out there. An MBA is about a degree of management, not about working in a bank. You can't expect an engineer to remain a technician for all his life. Now, I myself don't plan to do an MBA immediately, but I feel for my other engineer buddies at whom this question is thrown in ridicule. Frankly, it's just that people love to get back at engineers. We would do well to remember that. So the next time someone says that to you, dismiss it as you would dismiss a gadha's braying.

Monday, 3 December 2012

The Problem of the Gods' Successors

Too often, when something goes wrong, or when someone commits a heinous act, we are quick to blame the religion of that person for encouraging them or perhaps planting such thoughts in their minds in the first place. Most often this is seen happening with Islam, but in no small measure has been happening with other religions like Hinduism, Christianity and others. But look carefully at the true teachings of any religion and you will find that all of them are exceptionally good, kind and strive to maintain peace and order. And yet we find faults with their beliefs. What we don't realise is that, it was not the God who perpetuated irrationality. It was someone else.

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It is often said that there are many interpretations of the various holy books of every religion. And so there are sects in every religion who conform to a specific set of interpretations. And yet the creators of these religions believed in and preached a single philosophy. The problem was never with the God. It was with the so-called scholars of those religions upon whom fell the responsibility to carry forward those teachings after the God's time. They either failed to understand the teachings themselves, or could not do justice to them.

It is my belief that many of the age old customs that we are now brave enough to call 'draconian' originated with noble intentions. However they were conceptually so flawed that they were cosmetic attempts to find a solution without addressing the root cause. Take, for example, the now-thankfully-junked Hindu custom of shaving a wife's head when her husband passes away. In olden days men were seen as being protectors and I think the custom originated for protecting the widows from other men once their husband is no longer there, simply by making them unattractive. Again, this was a small bandage to a much deeper problem- mentality. Such things, of course, are not unique to Hinduism at all. You'll find them everywhere.

On a wider scale, this problem is not unique even to religions. The case of the Indian Constitution strikes me. When read in isolation, the Indian Constitution is extremely well written and stunningly detailed, taking into account a plethora of scenarios. But it needed to be changed with time. This responsibility was given to the Members of Parliament, the 'successors', with the hope that they will do justice to its spirit. What has happened to it today is hugely disappointing.

The question is the same everywhere. How do you ensure that after your time your words will be taken in spirit, and not be twisted to such an extent that people start cursing the original itself ? Can we find an answer to that when even the Gods had trouble doing it ?