Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Revival of Sanskritum

It's paradoxical, but not really, that even as the elites of the country focus on English as their only language of communication, in country that only about 7-8% can speak and read decent English, that Sanskrit as a language is being revived too. It's not really paradoxical because that's the end result of free and open economy - more and more people can afford and have time to pursue their interests whether it's arts, languages, or sports, along with entrepreneurial ventures and make a career out of their interest.

Pallavi Singh describes the revival of Sanskrit in Uttarakhand from two sources - Uttaranchal Sanskrit Academy and Uttaranchal Sanskrit University.

Since then, both institutions have consulted historians and linguists on the language to arrive at a vast compendium of subjects Sanskrit can address: botany in the Vrikshayurveda texts, Varahamihira’s Brihat Samhita for scientific theories on earthquakes and ecology and the calculation of planetary movements and preparing perfumes, Panini’s Ashtadhyayi for mathematics and Kautilya’s Arthshashtra for political and economic organization.

Then there are plays in the language by various local theatre groups. Sudha Rani Pandey, vice-chancellor of Uttaranchal Sanskrit University, argues that the cultural history of the language runs deep. “The 18th century play Sabha Bhushanam, and Navya Bharat Natakam, Naranarayanabhyudaya Natakam, Ajeya Bharatam developed in the 20th century speak well of the richness of Sanskrit,” she says.

But the task is slow and arduous.
With difficult grammar rules, verb and noun formations, and many more tenses in Sanskrit, the learning curve itself is pretty steep and intimidating for most. From 49,736 speakers in 1991, the number of speakers of Sanskrit dwindled to 14,135 in 2001.

"Good View of Torry Pines"

Stuart Hart who focuses on Sustainable Enterprises at Cornell University writes about his professional interaction with C.K. Prahalad.

CK remained true to his nature to the very end.  My colleague Ted London and I are working on a new book focused on the future of BoP business and CK was one of the key contributors to the effort.  Knowing that he was in a fragile state, we gently inquired as to the status of his chapter for the book.  One week prior to his passing he emailed: "You have probably given me up for dead. Yes, I was there... I am in ICU in Scripps for the last 16 days and I am now stable but not recovering fully yet...Good view of the Torrey Pines golf course and ocean from my room.  I do not know whether you still want my piece.  If you go forward without it, I will understand.  But if you change your mind, I need the help of a scribe.  Let me know.  Warm regards, CK."

Sunday, April 18, 2010

C. K. Prahalad, Dead At Age 68

C. K. Prahalad, a great management guru died at 68 in San Diego, US - too soon, I think.
Hailing from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, Prahalad did his graduation in Science from the Loyola College in Madras (now Chennai) and did his MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

After his doctorate from Harvard Business School, the well-known corporate thinker had been associated with the University of Michigan.

C. K. Prahalad coined the phrase "core competency", a standard in business operations around the globe now, which allowed lot of business revival in India (and in the west prior to that), when it opened up from its staleness of socialism and statism. In fact, one can trace the entire outsourcing based industry, IT and BPO, that India benefits from, from that management concept of focusing resources on core competency. Prahalad provided a management concept around that principle.

Prahalad also encouraged entrepreneurs to not just focus on the rich and raising middle class in poor countries, like India, but to build symbiotic businesses that provides goods and services "profitably" to the poor around the world, so that poor also have access to goods and services that they normally don't have.

The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Revised and Updated 5th Anniversary Edition: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits by C. K. Prahalad (Hardcover - Sept. 3, 2009)

This is, of course, different from the cacophony of self-serving NGOs, not all of them but many, the charity model, and only government can provide model that continues to be in vogue to help the poor live a decent life.

And he contributed plenty more to the study of management and he for good business management and governance.