Friday, May 31, 2013

In spite of all hardships .. Jiji Thomson ..


This piece of writing is meant to introduce Shri. Jiji Thomson IAS, to the youngsters of the country.
Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion . Georg Hegel
Jiji Thomson is a name most of us back in Kerala recollect very fast, mostly for the right reasons. He has been a known figure in Kerala for a long time because he is in elite company, being from the Indian Administrative Services and known to be a proactive personality. After completing his MA (Economics) from Trivandrum, he joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1980 in the Kerala cadre.
Jiji Thomson - pic courtesy The Hindu
Usually civil servants are considered to be capable of doing great service for the society and the people. (we too can do it wherever we are in what small position it is..) At some point in life, due to preoccupations or some hiccups in their career, these top civil servants consider giving their best to society to be not in their personal interests and withdraw into a cocoon. But there are certainly exceptions to that !!
Here you are going to find a person totally different, always looking for opportunities to interact with people, passionate to take on challenges and responsibilities, wanting to do more and more good for the society and the people, with an abundant resource of untapped energy for the society. What an ideal "civil servant" should be ! True to the word, very humble and approachable too .. Every time you meet him he is energised and enthused as never before..
Right from his initial stints as sub-collector of Alleppey, Kerala, 1983, (I was doing Engineering at TVM and used to visit my parents at Alleppey, Kerala. Used to visit his office-cum-residence and be amazed and taken aback by the cheer, discipline and passion with which he works, interacting so effortlessly with people big and small, rich and poor, patiently listening to them, helping them dispose their files ), Shri. Jiji Thomson used to be a popular figure then.
Besides popularising the Nehru Trophy boat race at Alleppey, he was instrumental in conducting a "community marriage" for as much as 142 people (71 couples) in Alleppey in the early eighties ! From there it went on to the cultural, social scenes in Palghat as District Collector when he revived the Kalpathy Carnatic music festival and conducted many camps for the physically handicapped by implanting Jaipur foot. In Kerala, Jiji Thomson's contribution to the socio-cultural-literary scene has been very interesting, diverse, eye-catching, eventful, varied and colourful, spanning the entire socio-cultural-literary-economic-sports scene of contemporary Kerala.
Jiji Thomson was the Convener of the first National Games held in Kerala with corporate sponsorship in 1987. The events were for the first time held at different towns and cities in the state of Kerala, networked through technological innovations with the help of Keltron. (His discipline also saw him submitting the final audited accounts in exactly a months time after the games, generating an overall profit of about Rs. 65 lakhs, again a first of it's kind in the country). This caught the attention of the then PM, Rajiv Gandhi who invited him to take over as the DG of Sports Authority of India then, which Jiji politely refused. He had loads of work left to be done ..!
Throughout his life he has decorated various bureaucratic positions in energy, agriculture, tribal welfare, sports and youth affairs, transport etc., gained invaluable experience and is now an Additional Secretary to the Government of India, (just short of a full blown Secretary), presently posted in the Ministry of Youth Affairs, New Delhi. From March, 2013 he has taken over as the Director General of the Sports Authority of India (SAI), New Delhi. If God so desires, he is next in line to get the Chief Secretary posting in Kerala !!
One of his "noble and worthy" accomplishments which will be remembered by the country for all time, is the successful execution of the Common Wealth Games (CWG) in Delhi in 2010. When the original organising committee had bungled under the leadership of the now discredited Suresh Kalmadi, when there were just three months left for the games to start, the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Sports Minister asked Shri Jiji Thomson along with two other senior IAS officers to take over the running of the CWG from Kalmadi and team and successfully execute it.
Jiji Thomson who was in charge of Transportation, Catering and Media during CWG, did his tasks well and brought laurels to the country as did the entire team. People in Delhi still very fondly  remember the transport and smooth traffic arrangements in Delhi during the games and are full praise for that.
Out of initial inexperience, in the early 90s, he got dragged into a case while working as the MD of the Civil Supplies Corporation in Kerala. Though he has been exonerated by the court of any wrong doing, he continues to be a victim of petty politics in Kerala between the major political parties of the state. He understands that these are some of the pains, trials and tribulations of holding high office in our land. One just has to patiently and quietly sit through all these trials in life, without losing hope that good, noble intentions will never go unnoticed.
An eloquent, motivating and inspiring speaker, right from the the school and Balajana sakhyam (Malayala Manorama) days, Jiji Thomson is a very simple and sincere person, with a pleasing personality, known for sticking to time, performance and exacting work standards and ethics. A born orator, he has also been decorating many stages as spiritual speaker for the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church within the country and abroad and is one of its most celebrated ambassadors.
(Listen to his celebrated speech delivered at the 14 th Mar Osthathios Lecture on the occasion of 94 th birthday celebrations of Geevarghese Mar Osthathios Thirumeni at Bethany Aramana, Tiruvalla, Kerala on 13 Dec, 2011(from 44 th minute..) in Malayalam) ..
Shri. Jiji Thomson practices what he preaches to his level best in his daily life. That is indeed difficult .. The ease, confidence and humility with which he carries himself is something worth taking note of. His greatest quality I feel, is that he is a very patient listener and that is his success too.. 
Widely traveled around the world, well read and with higher educational qualifications from UK, he is a good role model for the youngsters of how sincerity to the task, truth, honesty and a deep spiritual life can take one to great heights, no matter whatever be the minor hurdles in life. 
Already having given lyrics to a Malayalam film, given lyrics and released an audio Gospel CD and two books getting ready to be released soon, he is a budding litterateur too, multi-faceted. Married to my cousin sister, he has two loving daughters. Both of them are married off quite comfortably. He is already a doting grandfather of three smart, lively grandchildren ..
Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us. - Wilma Rudolph
His life reminds us this strong conviction : each one of us has the potential to be great. Be humble, prayerful, modest and simple. Love your fellow beings, friends and the less fortunate in society, pray for them.

Wish him many more years of service to the nation. Let him work without fear or favour and help take our nation forward. Let our youngsters learn from the life of Jiji Thomson and decide what to achieve in life.

Snaps of the visit to St Gregorios Cathedral, Bangalore 2 June, 2013.

The report of the message to the MGOCSM and youth of Bangalore ..

A more recent Sportstar writeup ..

george easaw.. (photo courtesy The Hindu..)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Futility of IPL cricket ..


End of the dirty IPL and beginning of a fair and safe IPL ..


The day when IPL started, six yers ago, on purely commercial grounds, Indians were suspicious that this is an import from the West of a materialistic culture of gambling, betting, fixing, high money, women, huge stakes, terror and criminal conduct.

Except for terror, all other things have been corroborated by the events of recent weeks. The events point to IPL being associated with all sorts of bad things and vices. Our youngsters are slowly getting into betting culture on IPL matches. Do we need such a culture in our country ?

It is just a matter of days, before a terror link also surfaces which is pointed as the reason for Indian cricketers and their cronies being pressurised to indulge in betting and gambling.

Serious Indians who have been brought up watching the gentlemen's game for five days or even the one day edition and thoroughly enjoy it, find this game very menacing. The game has now been reduced to just how strong and fit one is and how far one can hit the ball and get as many runs in 20 overs. 

Either the Govt take over the functioning and see that the stakes are controlled or limited, with each player signing a declaration of non-corroboration in unfair means or ban the game from Indian soil for ever.

We already have enough social, economic and developmental problems in hand and this is the last thing any serious lover of the game would want to happen to cricket. Depending on how much eggs one has eaten that morning , the player comes to the ground and hits the ball blindly and wildly, without any skills, all across the ground - this is what we see. There is rarely any application of skills and intellect in this version of the game. It is intellectually demeaning to watch this version any more. Please do not challenge our intellect by making us watch it any more.

The big names of Indian cricket like Gavaskar, Srikanth, Vengsarkar, Ravi Shastri, Harsha Bhagle (commentator) etc are so quiet on this incident. They have been gagged from expressing their opinion. They are probably scared that if they talk, they may get dragged into the controversy. Big money is fast money, attractive at the same time, treacherous and vulnerable ..

Not a single big Indian or international cricketer has come in the open to support this betting game.. We need a new set of cricketer gentlemen at the helm of the game ..

IPL - not worth wasting our time ..

ge..

What a pic .. caption pl ..

Slip Slidin Away ..


My friend Ravin suggested, Slip slidin away !! quite apt .. 

The photographer has captured the naturality and innocence of the boys, who are enjoying, unmindful of the photographer, maybe a holiday or the summer vacation or a cool afternoon after school.

What a natural way to learn of heights, rough and smooth surfaces, angle of slide, grasp, grip, dives, weights, plan views, birds eye eview and all such concepts..

I would try to relive such an opportunity of my childhood if given a chance ..

ge..

Friday, May 17, 2013

Mr. Rainer, former CFO Unilever at Alliance Uty, Bangalore

Mr. Rainer Schultheis in Alliance University, Bangalore.

It was indeed a great privilege to hear Mr Rainer Schultheis, former CFO, Unilever and present MD Conference Board, (a non-profit organisation of Global CEOs) speak in Alliance University Bangalore on 17 May 2013. He was the special guest of Prof S. Ramadoss, Regional Director and Senior Fellow of Conference Board and faculty in OLS at Alliance University. (Prof S. Ramadoss was former Sr. VP and CHRO, Titan Industries of Tata Sons). Here in the snaps Mr Rainer is seen  interacting with students in Alliance Uty, Bangalore.

Prof Ramadoss, introducing Mr Rainer to the MBA Jan '13 class

Mr Rainer narrating and sharing his vast global experience to the students ..

Mr. Rainer fielding "interesting, inquisitive" questions from the students ..

Mr. Rainer originally hails from Germany, completed his schooling and education from Germany and was operating till recently from Brussels in Belgium, just a 45 minute flight from his country, before taking over as MD of Conference Board a consortium of Global CEOs, which works to influence the way the globe develops.

While talking in general regarding the massive challenges facing the country, Mr Rainer stressed on the agriculture sector in India. Improving productivity in the agriculture sector which employs almost 55% of our population, generating just 14 % of GDP is the most important and immediate action the policy makers in our country should be taking up on war footing. Cost cutting by effective assets utilization with great investments in imparting education and improving skills of the population will allow the GDP to grow at 10-11 %. If only the economy picks up at this rate, he feels India can lead the world yet again ..

He stressed on the need to improve our global competitiveness by innovating, helping reduce costs and supply talented, skilled human resources which will see India take the lead over China (China is seeing a shrinking workforce now). Mr Rainer also made a special mention about managing the risks in growth.

All these measures would "generate enough jobs" to propel the Indian economy. Here is a link to an earlier posting from the author of why China should be wary of India and not the other way round..

Mr. Rainer was particularly impressed by the meeting he had the previous evening with top CEOs from the city of Bangalore in a meeting presided over by the Chief Secretary of Karnataka Mr. S. V. Ranganathan.

He was upbeat about the intellectual prowess and complete grasp of the Indian economy and global matters by Mr Ranganath in his speech the previous day and the discussions which ensued after that. He was satisfied that Karnataka was in safe hands, indeed. He was happy that Karnataka was the only state in the country where agriculture grew by 6% consistently over the past five years.

Mr. Rainer did field interesting questions put by the students to him and was indeed impressed by the quality of the interaction. He felt improving agricultural practices would catapult India to the forefront of nations. Though he was of the view that productivity in IT and ITES in India was among the best in the world, in the area of agriculture and manufacture it had to improve a lot. India is one of the countries where agriculture is still practiced in medieval ways. By improving the productivity in the agriculture sector he opined the population would move to more productive agri-services related businesses, improving employment and spurring the growth in GDP.

The departing point he made was : make agriculture high tech and see the increase in productivity and the growth in GDP then !!

George Easaw

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Hachiko (1923-1935) funeral

Prayers and farewell ..

The much adorable dog in real life, Name : Hachiko, Breed : Akita Inu, (1923-1935), as a symbol of love and friendship to his master Professor Hidesaburo Ueno on which the film- " Hachiko, the dog story " is made. The story is real old, a 1934 real life story ..

Click on this link for the film, about 90 mins.. .. on youtube ..















Being remembered forever ..









Hachiko's statue at the Shibuya train station, Japan,



Hachiko waiting for his Prof Ueno ...

















Hachiko's tomb besides his masters ..

With his eternal master !!





Tearful farewell ..


Image courtesy www.hachikodog.com


India and China working together ....

India and China working together ...

India and China share borders and lot of features geographically, spiritually, scientifically and historically. Can they take the liberty of letting those relations turn sour ? My firm belief is that with some brilliant diplomatic moves, with a proper understanding of history over the past three millenia, we can dispel any distrust and fear of each other.

Looking back at history, in 1962, China went back on its promise on Panchsheel and attacked India and took possession of some Indian territory. This was a heartburn for India's first PM Pandit Nehru who died a very sad death, ashamed of the loss to China. The territory which is with China is barely hospitable and it will take many years before either country makes a foray into asking citizens to settle there. Since 1978 when China opened up its economy to the outside world and but  for brief pretensions and protestations of arrogance and intolerance, I think the best neighbour India can have is China without any doubt.

I happened to interact with some army officers over the past couple of weeks and the strong point I get from them is that they consider China to be greater threat than any other country to India. While it may be good in the short run to have a potent threat to our security, not to make our population complacent, in the long run it may not fetch much results. Let us consider some historical background to this.

In 1 AD, as per the graphic available and published by faculty from the University of Groningen, Netherlands,  global economy was dominated by just 2 powers, India and China. While India controlled 40% of global economy then, China controlled 30%, the rest were shared by the rest of the world., like for example the Greek empire, the Roman empire (approximately 7%) and so on. India was 6 times as rich as the Roman empire. Sadly we only have historical documents which support the greatness of the western empires, Rome and Greece while they were just one fourth or one eighth of the Indian or Chinese economies ..

Still those empires are called great because they were offensive empires which caused maximum damage to others, they attacked, pillaged, ransacked and conquered other neighbouring friendly countries / kingdoms for selfish interests and benefits. The western society was never educated or cultured to believe in the principles of peace, equality to achiever great knowledge. History that way has been unkind to India and China .. The Great Emperor Ashoka would have ruled over an empire ten times as rich as what Alexander could ever dream of. Hope historians understand some of these truths of history and stop glorifying the western civilizations, because truth can never be shut up !!


By 2008 from the same graphic, we find the list has changed dramatically, India the largest economy in 1 AD is just controlling 7 % of global economy now. A non-entity which came up as a colony of colonisers, settlers and immigrants around 1700 AD after much bickering and battles with the local indigenous people, dispossessed them of their land and asserted with the formation of a new colony, the United States of America. US now controls 21 % of the global GDP ( $ 15 trillion of $ 70 trillion global GDP), yet nowhere near to India's control of 40% at 1 AD.

As per a recent Citibank study of 2011 (1), it is said that by 2050 AD, the scenario would change a bit. India would be the richest country in the world with a GDP of about $86 trillion and China would be behind us with $ 80 trillion. Presently Indian GDP, on purchasing power parity is around $ 5 trillion and China's $9.3 trillion.

Why then should we worry about China now ?? Is it in China's interests to antagonise the giant India by its mischievous acts ? China even in its wildest dreams would never want to be left behind India. Any negative action can only damage its objective of global leadership.

This Chinese posturing with India is only for the digestion of other neighbouring countries, India should not get perturbed by these Chinese postures be it near Tibet or Arunachal Pradesh. We have the necessary military might combined with the nuclear capability and missiles to reach all parts of China. But it is just a deterrent, not for actual deployment on the field, since we have signed the 'No First Use; pact.

History has shown that the aggressor always has had to suffer while it is the aggrieved / attacked country that finally gets the upper hand. An example is Alexander the Great who went around the Eastern world conquering countries and finally died in his homeland after his army revolted against his evil expansionist designs. China knows this fact well and however hard it may try and however strict it may get in its dictatorial postures, it can never match up or catch up with a democratic India in the long run which respects tribals - the indigenous people of the land, the dispossessed, marginalised, poor and gives them opportunity, economic, political, educational and social, to rise up the economic ladder and prove themselves to the world.

As in 1 AD, so in 2050 AD..

Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai, because the stakes are too high for either side to squander now..

References :

1. https://www.privatebank.citibank.com/pdf/wealthReport2012_lowRes.pdf
2. http://www.businessinsider.com/fastest-growing-economies-2011-2?op=1
3. http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2011-11-12/news/30391268_1_largest-economy-demographic-dividend-indian-economy



Author : George Easaw, Bangalore, 2013.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

In fond memory of Charlie

Charlie was indeed a very quiet and reserved person. My acquaintance with him goes back to 1987 when I was in MRF Goa and Charlie and Deepa came there after quitting Charlie's job at Mavoor Gwalior Rayons in Calicut, Kerala.

Little did I know that God would take him from this world so quick at a ripe age of just 53 years.

Charlie's ancestral home at Chennithala, Mavelikara is just a km away from our ancestral place. 

May his soul rest in peace .. May God give Deepa, Karthik and Thilak courage and conviction to hold on to  the discipline and values Charlie held so close to his heart.  Let the boys tread on in the good path Charlie showed to them..
George and Anila ..

Some more aspects of BPR ..

These slides give some very vital aspects of BPR. It helps us to demystify the common misconceptions of BPR in the ...

My popular posts over the last month ..