Saturday, May 29, 2004

What I'm reading

I normally have multiple books going on in parallel - some are bathroom reading, some are dining room reading and others are dedicated reading.

Execution - by Ram Charan and Larry Cassidy
Reiterates what every executive needs to know - strategic planning needs to be follwed by execution of the plan and followup. Has some good examples and case studies.

Message in a Bottle - Nicholas Sparks
Strictly for reading for at those brain dead times when I need to read someting but don't want to concentrate too much. I find it hard to beleive that this is a NY Times best seller. The language is much too convoluted, the story does not flow freely and the characters speak as thoigh they were in a book or a movie.

History of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission - Swami Gambhirananda
Inspiring reading on Swami Vivekananda and his efforts in arousing a sleeping nation and the organizational efforts in creating the SRK Math and Mission and setting the path they have been following for over 100 years for now.
Some of Swamiji's utterances regarding organizations are valid even today.

Friday, May 28, 2004

On the Parliamentary elections in India
In May 2004 Sonia Gandhi, the leader of the Congress Legislature Party announced that she would not be accepting the post of the Prime Minister of India and that Manmohan Singh would be the PM. This was greeted by her admirers as a great renounciation on par with that of Gautama Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi and an expression of her "Indian" character.

Let's look at these aspects: can one renounce what was never one's to claim ? I might as well renounce the Presidency of the United States. The legal eligibility of Sonia Gandhi to assume the post of the PM was never clearly established and all that the Congress party has to claim for this position is the "people's mandate". The Congress Party never projected her as the PMerial candidate and while she certainly nursed ambitions of being the PM, the potential roadblocks on the way possibly dissuaded her.

On her character, the lesser said, the better. As Swami Vivekakanda said in his lecture on Karma Yoga, " If you really want to judge of the character of a man, look not at his great performances. Every fool may become a hero at one time or another. Watch a man do his most common actions; those are indeed the things which will tell you the real character of a great man. Great occasions rouse even the lowest of human beings to some kind of greatness, but he alone is the really great man whose character is great always, the same wherever he be."