the fully loaded magazine
Outlook regularly brings out special issues on ‘best business schools’ and ‘best engineering/medical colleges’, now it has even come up with a special issue on the ‘50 greatest CEOs’ in India (50 Greatest CEOs Ever, April 03). I understand that such special editions are necessary for the financial health of the magazine, but in the week that you publish such editions, the entire journalistic value of the magazine is compromised and reading pleasure goes for a toss. The majority of readers are not interested in this type of laudatory journalism. You should rather keep the special issues as supplements so that the editorial quality and news content of the magazine are not compromised.
Rajiv Boolchand Jain, New Delhi
Your Comment, Our Great Captains, says that the jury didn’t want to rank the CEOs from one to 50. Instead, three categories were created—the ‘extraordinary’, the ‘brilliant’ and the ‘great’. The comment also clarifies that all that counted for listing these leaders was the transformational power of the individual’s effort in creating wealth for the shareholders, generating employment and impacting the society at large by making lives better. Keeping your criteria in mind, if I were to rank the truly extraordinary leaders from one to four, they would be—Dr Verghese Kurien of Amul, Brijmohan Lal Munjal (1923-2015) and Pawan Kant Munjal of the Hero Group, R.C. Bhargava of Maruti Suzuki and E. Sreedharan of Delhi Metro. Amul dairy products became ghar-ghar ki pasand, Hero Honda motorcycles became ghar-ghar ki sawari, Maruti 800 fulfilled the middle class dream of owning a car and the Delhi Metro made the lives of commuters of the capital city very easy and provided an ideal model for other metropolitan cities to emulate. All these entrepreneurs greatly impacted the society. They generated employment and created wealth for shareholders as well.
M.C. Joshi, Lucknow
I want to congratulate the Outlook team for this wonderful special issue. Choosing the 50 greatest Indian CEOs ever can get quite tricky, as most of them come with their own extraordinary stories. Although you described the process of selecting these CEOs and putting them in three categories of ‘extraordinary’, ‘brilliant’ and ‘great’, I still wonder as to how one would differentiate and put them under different categories. Although one thing is clear, each of them had their own bridges to cross and they made a paradigm shift from the old world to the new. To minds aspiring success, this issue will be quite inspiring.
V.N.K. Murti, Pattambi
On reading your special issue about India’s top business leaders, I felt like writing on what makes a great leader: A leader must be polite and warm, but must not be easily accessible to all. He should not be rude. Temper must be controlled in all situations. In an organisation, the leader should try to keep in touch with everyone in the staff and make them feel that it is their own organisation. For this, he must ensure that the employees grow with the organisation. If he/she is a believer, a leader should seek blessings from God from time to time. Most successful CEOs have these leadership qualities.
Mahesh Kapasi, On E-mail
This refers to your Comment about leadership in the field of business (Our Great Captains). Most essential requisites for successful captaincy in all walks of life are universal. A real leader must be confident, free, fearless, honest and trustworthy. He should be consistent and determined. Among the business stalwarts who made it to your list, Dhirubhai Ambani, going by his achievements, stands apart. His enterprise is not dynastic, he started from scratch. And besides his excellent visionary entrepreneurship traits, his distinctive achievement was building up a broad-base of shareholders for a strong and sustainable capital edifice. But he built his corporate empire by using, misusing and even abusing the culture of crony capitalism. It is now open history, with even a Bollywood biopic, Guru (2007), having depicted his tactics in some detail, which is testimony to the fact that in our society, the means are justified if they end in spectacular success.
M.N. Bhartiya, Goa
The panorama of profiles presented in your special issue will be inspiring for young entrepreneurs. Success is the consummation of a series of sincere and calculated efforts. A lot of people put in great effort into tasks all through their lives, but the key to success lies in being focused. When you have a single target in mind, you can channelise all your energies towards achieving it. When a thought or an idea stirs you, it is time to act. Most successful people have undergone this experience.
M.K. Somanatha Panicker, Cherthala, Alappuzha
The special issue gave the reader some good insights into the world of the leaders of new India. But I feel that one very important name was left out from the list, that of former President and brilliant scientist Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. May I know, what is the reason for the same?
Mridul Bhattarai, Guwahati
The special issue on CEOs is quite informative and is filled with inspiring examples for life. However, I still feel that the top executives of the Indian corporate world are yet to truly embrace the challenges of the new world. One reason that comes to my mind is that compared to global standards, the quality of our products and services still falls short. There is a reason why India is the outsourcing hub for the developed world. It is cheap labour, of course. The top CEOs of our country need to realise this and equip the workforce with adequate skills to hold their own in the global market. A lot of traditional perceptions about the Indian workforce have to change in order to make this possible.
Ramachandran Nair, Oman
Outlook did a good job by compiling the list of the top leaders of the country. The personalities for the issue were indeed thoughtfully selected. I would like to mention the contributions of one person in particular—Dr Verghese Kurien, who put milk within the reach of all and put the country on the international milk map. Though he was a mechanical engineer by training, he was a visionary and in short, the father of India’s milk cooperative movement. The Anand Milk Cooperative (Amul), stands as testimony to his vision. Today, taking inspiration from Kurien, the government has created the NDDB and Mother Dairy. Out of all his achievements, Kurien should be remembered for one in particular—for saving farmers from the clutches of an unscrupulous system.
Lt Col (retd) Ranjit Sinha, New Delhi
Not 50, there was just one greatest CEO in India ever whom the world knows as Mahatma.
Rakesh Agrawal, Dehradun
There is no need to fret over the choice of Yogi Adityanath as UP CM even though he has appeared in several videos making hate speeches and has been named as an accused in several FIRs related to communal violence (A Yogi For New India, April 3). It only shows that the Indian political scene is never dull. He has never been ashamed of breaking the law and now he has been made the law. By picking him over others, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has shown his unconventional wisdom once again. The BJP, after all, had brought the ‘D word’ to UP—it’s just that they have made it clear that the D stands for divisiveness and not development.
J.S. Acharya, Shell Cove (Australia)
This refers to A Yogi For New India (April 3), your story on the new UP chief minister. BJP’s landslide victory in the UP polls was followed by the bold move of appointing controversial Hindu priest and MP from Gorakhpur, Yogi Adityanath, as CM. Almost immediately, Yogi left all his rhetoric behind and, apparently, on the briefing PM Modi, harped on the BJP’s development agenda. Critics hint the RSS is behind the Yogi’s appointment and not Modi, but the fact remains that he will lead the state along with two deputy CMs.
Mahaveer Nerul, Mumbai
Despite his rabid Hindutva past, there’s nothing wrong in the BJP choosing Yogi Adityanath as the CM for UP. Since the party’s central leadership has appointed him, they will keep his moves under the scanner. Yogi is already exhibiting award winning credentials by acting like the PM during his early days in office in 2014—Adityanath cautioned bureaucrats to perform or perish and asked them to declare their movable and immovable assets. Hopefully, in his excitement to pass off as a development man, a burden hanging heavy on the rather foul mouthed orator (as his past speeches have shown), he will manage to keep fringe elements in UP at bay.
K.R. Srinivasan, Secunderabad
UP’s caste matrix has collapsed under the umbrella of Hindutva. I firmly believe Yogi will be working on the principles of equality and justice. None of the so-called secular parties have supported Muslim women on the abolition of triple talaq. And the BJP and Yogi will use this hypocrisy to their own benefit.
Rajiv Chopra, Jammu
I must confess I feel very positive with Yogi Adityanath becoming chief minister of UP. That’s because spirituality is incompatible with hate-mongering. And even though Yogi is said to have made hate speeches in the past threatning minorities with violence in the past, the Muslims of Gorakhpur have not complained of any harassment. And if they haven’t complained, who are we to judge the saffron-clad monk? Hinduism or any other religion can be propagated only through love and devotion. It will be enough if the Yogi follows the example of his predecessor mahants. Islam, too, is an expression of spirituality and many Islamic spiritual leaders have espoused the cause of goodwill and amity between Hindus and Muslims. Yogi will show Muslims due consideration and use the opportunity to show that Hinduism is a religion that believes in spreading goodwill to non-Hindu faiths as well.
Aditya Mookerjee, Belgaum
We have so many sadhus, babas and yogis preaching on how to make India better. Now one has been introduced into governance as well. It’s a religious development, indeed.
Sanjiv Gupta, Perth (Australia)
This refers to your story on the Congress (Masters of Losses, March 27). A leader needs to be down to earth, at least in the eyes of party workers. If he acts like an unapproachable boss, the people will get rid of him and the party, and look for someone who can be approached and trusted.
K.G. Raghunandan, Chandigarh
The BJP was able to defeat the SP and the BSP in Uttar Pradesh because of two factors—the Akhilesh-Mulayam tussle and because Mayawati is known not to have a clean administration record. As far as the Congress is concerned, it has miserably failed to evoke any faith in voters. Instead of attacking the BJP for its massive victory by alleging tampering of EVM machines, the Opposition leaders must do something about their own image. There seems to be no doubt left that PM Narendra Modi’s tall claims have mesmerised the majority of voters. He is now central to the BJP and in many ways, the party’s future depends on him. He has the ability to convince the masses about plans even when the statistics tell a different story.
M. Kumar, New Delhi
B.N. Roy (Letters, Apr 3) challenges a letter by P.K. Hanspaul (Letters, Mar 20) for the latter having said—in response to Outlook article Xi Stoops To Conquer, Feb 27—that China got a UN seat due to the benevolence of Jawaharlal Nehru. Roy is right when he says People’s Republic of China became a member of the world body in only 1972, while Nehru, India’s first PM had died in 1964. But, that country had joined the UN way back in 1945 as the Republic of China. This invalidates Roy’s contention.
P.S. Kaur, On E-Mail
Child trafficking and kidnapping young girls have increased in the country of late, but what is equally shocking is the role of netas in such ghastly crimes (House Of Flying Cots, Mar 20). Political clout has such a big role in the scheme of things that it even subverts the related judicial process. It’s high time the civil society and the media took the initiative to cleanse the system of such ills. News reports on such crimes should be followed up as much as they should be reported.
R.S., On E-mail
The various controversies of ill-feelings between captains and players of the recently-concluded Test series between the Indian and Australian cricket teams will resonate for some time (Of Mind Games And Brain Fade, Mar 20). A captain has to imbibe many qualities to become a great leader. He has to have the nerve of a gambler, the patience of a monk and a mind-reading ability of a psychiatrist. Indian skipper Virat Kohli lacked the basic character to lead a team with temperamental players like Ishant Sharma. Instead of pacifying them on the field of play, the captain himself appears agitated all the time. This sets a bad precedent. Despite being experienced, he behaved like a novice. Touring teams should be treated with a modicum of respect, but our skipper jumps up childishly at every opportunity in aggression. Sure, he’s proud of himself and his team at winning six series on the trot, but that shouldn’t be an excuse to act arrogantly on the pitch!
C.K. Subramaniam, Navi Mumbai
After a dominating show this domestic season, the Indian team is on top of the world with their emphatic series victory over the Australians. That they have negated the impact of consecutive loss in tosses, which can play a crucial role in how matches evolve, is also mentionworthy. In the Dharamshala Test Rahane had a measure of the Australian side and the toss didn’t matter much. He could defend a small total with his pace-cum-spin attack without Kohli’s overt aggression. In fact, he looked and felt a lot like former skipper Dhoni.
Krishnan Ramani, Calicut