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Refer to The Mints Have To Press Afresh. It’s been a decade since the MBA frenzy took over the middle class mindset in India. This resulted in a rapid mushrooming of B-schools of all kinds—good, bad and ugly, across the country. It’s quite shocking to know that the number of B-schools in India stands at 5,500. It’s time that all stakeholders of the management education field, be it students, faculty, policy makers, ranking agencies, accrediting bodies, woke up and realised that this oversaturation is not going to help anyone. Studies on employability have been warning that the products of the majority of B-Schools do not get a job commensurate with their qualification. B-schools have popped up like shops across the landscape, their only motive being profit making by capitalising on the MBA fad that is far from over.
Chowdari Prasad, On E-Mail
Perhaps from a business perspective, Outlook does well to bring out its special issues on best business schools, best engineering colleges, best medical colleges, best people and so on. I agree that such editions are necessary for the financial health of the magazine. Continue with them by all means, but kindly consider making them supplements to the news magazine, which is the main attraction for us readers. In the week that you publish these special editions, the entire journalistic value of the magazine goes for a toss.
Rajiv Boolchand Jain, New Delhi
Your B-school ranking serves as a publicity pamphlet for those interested in granting degrees to those aspiring to acquire certificates of theoretical expertise in entrepreneurial skills for taking calculated career risks and getting employment. No schools inculcate and hone capabilities to raise resources of land and capital, the prerequisites for any business. RBI’s former governor Raghuram Rajan’s drive in the near past to clean the balance sheets of public sector banks exposed huge bad debts and NPAs—the real stories of successful entrepreneurs, who with their effective networking, siphoned off public funds from the bank coffers on the basis of inflated or imaginary project reports and made them untraceable. Any land is available, almost free, with the courtesy of the government, thanks to the all-powerful Land Acquisition Act. Enforcement Directorate’s seizures of laundered black money are a narrative of loot by business tycoons. Micro analysis of any big enterprise may reveal that entrepreneurial skills function with the philosophy of ‘beg, borrow and steal’.
M. N. Bhartiya, Goa
It’s heart breaking that none of India’s top ranking business or management schools could find a pride of place in the global top 10 or even top 25 rankings. While Spain, a poor nation in Europe, boasts of some top business schools, India, an emerging economic power, lags far behind in the rankings. With proposals to teach Puranas and mythologies in engineering colleges (which may be introduced later on in business schools as well), India’s rankings, I am afraid, will further go down. Business schools in the United States and UK continue to hold maximum space in the top 10 rankings, and it’s not for nothing our bright students continue migrating to these schools. It’s only when we improve the standards in our B-schools and engineering colleges that we can check the brain drain we are so troubled by.
K.P. Rajan, Mumbai
There is something seriously wrong in your rankings of the best B schools in this issue. The prestigious IIM Bangalore does not feature anywhere, which simply does not make sense.
Ramana Rajgopaul, On E-Mail
That 95 per cent of B-school graduates are unemployable shows the abysmal quality of management studies in India. This goes to show that we are deluding ourselves with phrases like ‘demographic dividend’, ‘entrepreneurship’ and ‘innovation’, while continuing to pay scant attention to imparting basics and practical skills demanded by employers. Alternatives to conventional methods of management based on socio-ecological principles may be the need of the hour. These lines from Kris McDivitt (the former CEO of sustainable outdoor clothing company Patagonia Inc.), from an article, throw an interesting perspective on the B-school mentality: “They do not teach you anything on real life situations....about business in the context of its profound effects on society...They do not discuss with you your unsustainable habits, which no number of technological breakthroughs can change...”
C.V. Krishna Manoj, Hyderabad
I don’t know about Mars or Venus, but women come from all walks of life on earth (Women are from Mars, Oct 2 ) . Like the stories of businesswomen battling and winning against the odds in your article, they are innumerable stories of the grit and determination of women from rural India. It would be great to hear some of those stories as well sometime in the future.
Examples of successful women are inspiring for readers. Our public space has seen a lot of debate and discussion around women issues in recent years with topics ranging from women’s safety, gender violence in the family and sexism in offices. There has also been a rise in the reporting of cases of atrocities against women. While all these are steps in the right direction, the discussions have been largely restricted to newsrooms and edit columns. In reality, many of these problems are far from reaching a solution. Unfortunately, majority of men still treat women’s issues of utmost importance with either indifference or condescending sympathy. Men don’t lose the chance to proudly announce their superior role to ‘save’ women from a situation, just like in our movies, but exploitation of women goes on unhindered.
M.K. Somanatha Panicker, Cherthala, Kerala
The stories of these women are truly inspiring. They refused to surrender to odd circumstances, stood firm, chose their fields and became achievers in their own right. They have established that positive thinking, vision, commitment, and hard work are essential for entrepreneurship. These women are better entrepreneurs than those who come armed with MBAs from big institutes and/or inherited wealth.
M.C. Joshi, Lucknow
Going by the numbers, opening a B-school looks like the best business around.
Anil S., On E-Mail
Outlook’s article on Aung San Suu Kyi and the Rohingya crisis (The Lady Doth Not Protest, Oct 2) omits a few points. Burma’s founder, Aung San, unlike Netaji, turned coat and began supporting the British as soon as it became obvious that the Japanese were going to lose the war. The Rohingyas have been systematically discriminated against since 1962, when the Ne Win regime confined them to Rakhine, declared them ineligible for citizenship and barred them from government employment in a nation with little or no private enterprise. In 1982, the explicitly racist ‘National Races’ policy excluded the Rohingyas. Even the name ‘Rohingya’ was banned—like zionists who refused to believe Palestinians even existed in their promised land. Systematic ethnic cleansing began from the late ’80s. As for the ‘terrorists’ from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, their men assaulted army position with iron rods and machetes to get the few weapons for their ‘uprising’. This fact itself is proof of the ARSA’s state of ‘lethality’. But they will not remain unarmed for long—the state violence against Rohingyas will certainly give rise to radicalism and, inevitably, jehadis will move in with their ideology.
Of course, the West’s great indignation has its roots in Suu Kyi’s major sin—to get ideas above her station. She refused to stay in her designated role of western puppet and moved towards improving ties with China. If Suu Kyi falls back in line, they will cease to notice the Rohingyas. Remember, the snarling western nations have not reimposed a single one of the sanctions on Myanmar that Obama lifted. Lastly, it’s not just the Rohingyas. Hindu and Christian minorities, as well as tribal minorities lik the Shan, Kachin and Karen are all keenly aware of the actual nature of the Buddhist regime.
Bill Purkayastha, On E-Mail
It is difficult to support the vehemence of the western media in pillorying Aung San Suu Kyi for not being loud enough in condemning the ethnic violence against Rohingyas in Rakhine. Recent history is replete with instances where the US as well as its press has been supporting dictatorships across the world where the regime is friendly. Yet Suu Kyi’s hands are tied—clause after clause of Myanmar’s new constitution is framed in a way that any independent action by her would enable the generals to get rid of her. We must at least appreciate her plan to welcome back Rohingyas from camps from Bangladesh after proper verification.
Mohan Singh, Amritsar
This is apropos Outlook’s story on India’s legal stand on terming the Rohingyas a ‘security threat’ (Law As Last Refuge, Oct 2). One of course couldn’t help noticing Modi’s meekness, while on his state visit to Myanmar, in paying lip service to Aung San Suu Kyi’s decrying ‘terrorist violence’, while keeping silent about the Rohingyas’ forced exodus. PM Modi, instead of giving precedence to geo-politics, ought to have spoken out for the persecuted community. Suu Kyi must stand up and be worthy of her Nobel Peace Prize.
P.S. Kaur, On E-Mail
This refers to your editorial Comment Envy and Greed (Oct 2). Journalists too are part of this dog-eat-dog world. Most have their own biases and prejudices. Since you have mentioned the 2002 Gujarat riots, I have to point out that in the coverage that followed the incidents, many top journalists interviewed only victims from one community and gave less attention to the stories of the ‘other’ victims from a different community. Like our society, it seems that journalism too is communally colour coded. Also, some so-called champions of freedom of expression deny the same freedom to their readers by doing away with ‘Letters to the Editor’. Thankfully, Outlook hasn’t done that yet at least.
Hemnath D. Pai, Bangalore
This is with reference to Salve Search for Wounds by Naseer Ganai (Oct 2). It is obvious that the previous Congress governments messed it up in J&K. Kashmiris have felt that the central government complicated things in J&K when the then prime minister Sheikh Abdullah was imprisoned in 1953. The state began losing its special status since the early 1960s, when the PM and Sadar-i-Riyasat posts were re-designated as CM and governor respectively. All that left Article 370 in a toothless and truncated form. The outbreak of insurgency in the 1990s was perhaps due to skewed policies of the Centre and its neglect of Kashmiri aspirations. For several years, the BJP had been challenging Article 370 granting special status to J&K and demanding its revocation. Now it has raked up the matter of rescinding Article 35A. This is like adding fuel to fire. The cat is out of the bag. The Congress, now out of power, has no big role to play. It’s for the BJP government to solve the Kashmir problem as soon as possible.
M.Y. Shariff, Chennai
This refers to your cover story on Pakistan’s doublespeak (General Peacenik?, Sept 25). The Pakistan army draws sustenance from raking up the Kashmir issue and portraying India as a threat. The anti-India stance makes the army relevant in Pakistan’s political landscape. It would be foolish to take their army chief’s words on face value. Present circumstances demand that such sensible, idealistic and politically correct statements emanate from across the border. Pakistan cannot let go of terror as an integral part of its foreign policy, especially when it comes to neighbours like India and Afghanistan. The Americans have not only called the bluff so far as Pakistan’s fight against terrorism is concerned, but also seem more than eager to change the narrative in war-torn Afghanistan, giving India a bigger role.
A permanent solution to the Kashmir problem would mean the Pakistan army relinquishing its iron grip in the country’s affairs and playing second fiddle to the political class. One wonders if the Pakistan army will ever risk it?
Vijai Pant, Hempur (Uttarakhand)
Apropos Quest for Kshatriyahood (Sept 18), it seems that the saying “the pen is mightier than the sword” has been proved true by the article, with the manner in which the reporter framed what was in fact a very positive initiative by the Jat khaps. Whatever may be its underlying motive for deciding to intermarry with ‘close castes’, it is a far-sighted move by an otherwise orthodox caste. But instead of lauding this, the author has chosen to cast suspicion on it by saying that the Jats are doing it with an eye on Kshatriyahood. May I know how far those classifications of society are relevant today, when the President of India himself comes from a Dalit community? If I remember correctly, Choudhary Charan Singh advocated inter-caste marriage around 40 years ago, and he hailed from this very region where the Jat khaps have now come together to decide on this new initiative. The author is indeed correct when she notes that the move will require the consent of the other castes in question, but at least the Jats have opened one barrier on their side.
Shish Ram Shivrayan, On E-Mail
You were telling only a half-truth when you included Ananda Marg in the list of India’s dubious godmen or cult organisations (A Scary Sort of Bliss, Sep 11). Ananda Marg did meet with some degeneration under a corrupt political system, but now there exists no controversy around it. So, why create one? You have highlighted the imprisonment of Anand Marg founder Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar in the 1970s, but then Patna High Court later acquitted him of the false charges imposed by the CBI. Your report also reminds me of the infamous Purulia Arms Drops case, which too had sought to link it to the Ananda Margis. Already the Indian media is plagued with prejudiced writing. One wouldn’t want Outlook to join that league as well.
Animeshananda Avadhuta, On E-Mail
It is clear you have not made a proper study about Ananda Marg and its socio-spiritual activities. To defame an organisation for charges later disproved should not be the idea of journalism.
Bhupendra Kumar, Balasore
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