Friday, 7 February 2014

Steps to making meetings work

MeetingsLots of meetings are conducted by each organization every week. Often the participants are senior/middle level executives. The cost of the time spent by the participants is very high. Besides, if a meeting is a not successful in achieving the objectives, the frustration and interpersonal conflict add to the cost.
However, if meetings can be held effectively, these are invaluable techniques of taking strong decisions after thorough discussion. It’s necessary to understand for the coordinators and even the CEO’s to have adequate knowledge of how to make meetings effective and productive. The chairman of the meeting plays a very important role for the efficacy of the meeting. Besides, meetings must give a satisfaction of openly discussing the ideas which you may have but you may not find an opportunity to express. Thus while on the one side we find that the poor meetings can be waste of expensive time of the executives, on the other these can be very helpful. If the meetings are organized effectively, they can be tools for resolving many managerial issues. These can thus be very helpful for the Management. The first important question, therefore, is the real need for the meeting. The coordinator has to clearly workout the objectives of the meeting. He or she has also to clarify how best the objectives can be achieved.
In order that we make the meetings productive and helpful we should attend to the following points which are often ignored:
1)      Planning and preparation: we should define the objectives of the meeting.
2)      We should select the participants and prepare a list of the proposed attendees. We may also invite their suggestions on the proposed agenda.
3)      The organizer needs to set the ground rules off the meetings in consultation with the chairman. In his brief introduction before the meetings starts the chairman can explain these ground rules. These could be summarized as :–
a)      Participants should speak precisely and avoid verbosity.
b)      Only one person should speak at time.
c)      The point which is already made by one participant should not be repeated by the other and
d)      No one should take the discussion on a personal level.
4)      The organizer must contemplate on what could be the problems. Necessary steps to avoid these problems should be taken.
5)      Getting results and action: minutes of the meeting should be written sooner than later, these should be circulated among the participants with or without a note by the chairman.
6)      There should be follow up action plan and the action need to be monitored.
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Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Lets remember Lala Lajpat Rai - The Lion of Punjab

lala lajpat rai

Lala Lajpat Rai About this sound pronunciation (help·info), (28 January 1865 – 17 November 1928) was an Indian author and politician who is chiefly remembered as a leader in the Indian fight for independence from the British Raj. He was popularly known as Punjab Kesari meaning The Lion of Punjab also known as "Sher-E- Punjab" in Hindi. He was part of the Lal Bal Pal trio.[1] His other close associates were Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak from Maharashtra, and Bipin Chandra Pal from Bengal. He was also associated with activities of Punjab National Bank and Lakshmi Insurance Company in their early stages.

He sustained serious injuries by the police when leading a non-violent protest against the Simon Commission and died less than three weeks later. His death anniversary (November 17) is one of several days celebrated as Martyrs' Day in India.

Lets us remember one of India's greatest sons on his birthday!

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Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Remembering Netaji Subas Chandra Bose on his birthday!

January 23 is an important Day for our Country. One of the greatest leaders of India was born on this day in the year 1897. Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose had devoted his life to only one cause and that was Freedom at all costs!

Netaji was an embodiment of courage and an ardent motivator. One man could create a great army which may not have been very large in number but was an army that had a very strong indomitable will. Each of his solider was a symbol of courage. That was the power of his motivation. 

He was a great leader with a strong conviction. He was President of the Indian National Congress for two consecutive years. He was liked by a great many leaders. However, he did not hesitate to relinquish his post of President on a matter of principle. The strength of his conviction did not allow him to compromise his firm beliefs. When Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the Nation was practicing and propagating non-violence, Netaji strongly believed that for total freedom of the country, a non-violent struggle was not enough. Many believe that the events that followed the Royal Indian Naval Mutiny of 1946 led to the British leaving the country and that Netaji's contribution for the cause of freedom has been seriously undermined. Please visit:

Netaji was a great negotiator and had the unique capability of influencing the mighty and the powerful. He even garnered support from Hitler, as well as from the Emperor of Japan at a time when these two leaders were most powerful and fighting the rest of the world. 

On his birthday, we must pay our gratitude to one of India's most patriotic (but sadly forgotten) sons.  

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Saturday, 11 January 2014

Lal Bahadur Shastri – India’s Proud Son and a paragon of honesty, simplicity and patriotism

Lal Bahadur Shastri

Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan – these words immediately conjure the name of Lal Bahadur Shastri – one of India’s greatest leaders and a noble soul who inspired the entire nation by this imaginative, bold and patriotic slogan.  Pandit Nehru had passed away in May, 1964. There was one question on everyone’s lips – After Nehru who?

The country’s reins passed into the hands of this diminutive- little figure. Shastriji was short in height but really tall in stature. That was a time when the country was low in spirits and nursing the wounds of the demoralizing defeat at the hands of the Chinese. It was a time when the nation was suffering cruel food shortages. The situation was so bad the nation was dependent upon food aid – sub-standard wheat shipments were sent by the US with many strings attached.

Shastri’s initiatives later on spurred the Green Revolution in India. In fact he is the leader who said to have motivated Hindi film industry’s famous actor Manoj Kumar to produce the patriotic film “Upkar”. It is a film which motivates people of this land to be prepared to sacrifice anything for the love of our motherland.

Lal Bahadur Shastri

Again it was Shastri who visited Anand in 1965 and announced the formation of the National Dairy Development Board. It happened to be the first national agricultural body set up and headquartered outside New Delhi.

In 1965 Pakistan thought of taking advantage of India’s military weakness and launched an invasion on the Western Sector. They probably could not visualize the inherent strength of this great simple looking leader. He gave them an iron fist. With full freedom given by Shastri, the Indian Armed Services pulverized the enemy and pushed to very gates of Lahore!

It was only extreme pressure applied by US and allies that forced Shastriji to enter into a ceasefire agreement in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Shastriji’s untimely demise shocked the entire nation and deprived this country of a leader who would transformed the entire country, if he would have got just five years to lead our nation.

Lal Bahadur Shastri

Let us all pay homage to the great soul.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Royal Rajasthan - a visit of a lifetime!

The very mention of Rajasthan immediate conjures thoughts of a royal land replete with Forts and Palaces. I have always wanted to visit Rajasthan. Accompanied by my wife and son, I finally visited this dream destination last week. A crisp tour itinerary enabled us to visit – Jaipur, Pushkar, Bikaner, Jaisalmer and Jodhpur. All this in seven eventful days! This blog is dedicated to the memorable week we spent in a colourful and vibrant state in the company of some really hospitable people.

Amer Fort Jaipur DSC03574

Our first stop was the State Capital - Jaipur. Since this has much to offer we spent two full days exploring it. On the first day we visited the show piece – Amer Fort (which has been the sight of many film shootings). The sheer size and grandeur of the fort left us spell-bound. On our return we also saw the Jal Mahal – an old palace in the middle of a lake that was in use till recently. Our first day ended in style with a visit to The Albert hall – a palatial mansion which houses the Jaipur State Museum. Artefacts of a by-gone era gave us a insight of the life and times of the royals of those times.

The second day began with a visit to the City Palace – the royal family of Jaipur to this day occupies a part of it. The show piece was a “Buggy Khana” – a garage of more than a dozen royal chariots of all sizes and colors – there was a “Buggy” for every occasion.
City Palace Jaipur DSC03660

We also saw two huge silver urns known as Gangajalis each weighing more than 345 Kgs – the largest silverware ever built. These were created for carrying Gangajal for the Maharaja bath during his visit to England in 1902! On this day, we also visited the famous Jantar Mantar - an astrological observatory and saw the Hawa Mahal - from where ladies used to watch ceremonial processions in the days gone by.

DSC03811 Bramha Temple, Pushkar

On the third morning we set off early on our Journey to Bikaner. En route we visited the Holy Temple town of Pushkar. This place boast of an incredible number of 1000 temples and is frequented by people from India and abroad. What makes it unique is that Pushkar has the world’s only temple dedicated to Lord Bramha (who is believed to be the creator of the world). We also visited the Meerabai Temple and Memorial (in the town of Merta) and paid our respects to the world famous Devi Karni Mata Temple in Deshnok (on the outskirts of Bikaner. Our driver brought us into Bikaner late in the evening; we had a sumptuous dinner and earned some much needed rest after an eventful day.

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The following day was devoted to sight-seeing in Bikaner. The highlight most definitely was the Junagarh Fort – the royal family residence until 1903. Junagarh is arguably the best maintained Fort in Rajasthan. Among its many showpieces – we found a full size World War I era de-Havilland aircraft housed right in the main durbar hall. It was a gift by the British to Maharaja of Bikaner HH Ganga Singhji. While in Bikaner, we also visited the Lalgarh Palace – the present residence of the Royal Family (a large part of it is now a luxury hotel). Our journey to Jaisalmer began after a sumptuous Lunch at “Lalji” – a famous Bikaner eatery.

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The fifth day - a Saturday; was spent in Jaisalmer, known to many as a living Museum. The star attraction of this town is the old “Sonar Quila” – an old fort built out of yellow sandstone which gives it a distinctly golden look (hence the name). Inside the Fort, there were many magnificent places to see include the Ganesh and Jain Temples. We also visited the famous “Havelis” (palatial mansions) outside the Fort. These used to be residences of rich merchants. A visit to Jaisalmer is incomplete without visiting the Sand Dunes. Seeing the setting sun on a camel quite an experience. We were kept company by a couple of folk artists who rendered delightful Rajasthani Folk Songs.

Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur DSC04571

Our final destination – was Jodhpur - the capital city of the erstwhile princely state of Marwar. We arrived in the afternoon on Day Six and straight away visited the magnificent and awesome Mehrangarh Fort. The guide told us that this was the only fort in Rajasthan that was never captured by force – quite simply it was too difficult for anyone to conquer. We spent the evening shopping in the bustling bazaars of Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower)

Umedh Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur Jaswant Thada, Jodhpur

Next morning we visited the Umed Bhawan Palace – (the royal family’s present residence). Our trip concluded with a visit to the Jaswant Thada – a memorial dedicated to Maharaja Jaswant Singh of Jodhpur. This trip has left with many pleasant memories which we shall cherish for a life time.

Visit Rajasthan

I sign off this blog with a wish that you too get an opportunity to visit this wonderful land. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Sant Gadge Baba ‘Swachata Abhiyan’

Sant Gadge Maharaj

Gadge maharaj or gadge baba was a saintly social reformer. His vision for the villages continues to be a source of inspiration for many political parties. He was born on February 23, 1876.  Tomorrow i.e.
December 20th happens to be his ‘barsi’. He died on this day in 1956.
What was unique with this saintly reformer? He motivated people to stop animal sacrifice as a part of religious rituals. He campaigned against alcohol and drug abuse. However, the most important facet of his reforms was his ‘swachta abhiyan’. He would travel from village to village and encourage them to maintain cleanliness. His influential ways won him a large following.

What is more important is that he inspired villagers to follow “do it yourself mode”. In this, the villagers would not look for outside help- financial or otherwise. They would collect the resources and keep the village clean themselves.

The Government of India has announced National award for sanitation and water in his honour. The abhiyan or campaign does not offer any funds. However, it offers very attractive prizes to the villages who achieve first three ranks. Dressed in attire which invoked attention, Baba carried a broom in his hands. So did his followers. On arrival in any village, he would lead his followers to start cleaning the street briskly. The villagers would do the same enthusiastically. Famously, he would repeat the following words:
“Give food to the hungry, shelter to the needy, clothes to the naked, protection to animal and trees, aid for girls’ marriages. Further, he would say ‘live clean and simple, stop intoxicants and care for the environment’. With these simple words he was able to create large number of admirers. It is heartening to note that 33,000 out of the total of 42,000 villages in Maharashtra have stepped forward to participate in the Gadge Maharaj Swachta Abhiyan. There are good prizes to be won by the villages. Three cash prizes in each district – Rs.5 lakhs , Rs. 3 lakhs and Rs. 2 lakhs. Besides, the best village in the entire state gets a prize of Rs. 25 lakhs. The second gets Rs 15lakhs and the 3rd – Rs 10 lakhs from the chief minister on Maharashtra State on the 1st of May. The villagers can spend the prize money on a project of their choice which benefits the entire village.


The procedure for judging the villages is also very interesting. There are checks and balances in the selection and judging process. In fact, the Criteria for assessment of villages is so elaborate that the judges have to consider as many as 85 criteria.


In fact, it is a lesson for us in the metros and large cities. If residents of cities adopt same ‘do it yourself’ mode our cities would be far more clean.

Thank you for reading.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Duty First!

Bhagwad Gita

Chapter 3 of the Bhagwad Gita is about ‘Karamyoga.’

The Discourse deals with the importance of keeping oneself engaged in an activity related to one’s duty. If further explains that no one can ever remain idle. You may not engaged in physical activity, but you can never make your mind stand still. The mind will always be engaged in some kind of activity even when you are sleeping. You may not be aware of this. But the mind never sleeps. Through out this chapter, in fact throughout the great wisdom book, it is emphasized that everyone must keep on performing their duty.


The western thoughts lay a lot of stress in the process of visualization. Some people may call it dreaming in the day. The best selling book ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda Byrne particularly stresses that you can achieve anything in life, if you repeatedly visualize the achievement. There lies the rub. You may be confused what is better? Which school of thought is more suitable? In fact, when Rhonda or any other thinker talks about visualization, they are not recommending to enjoy the pleasures of achievement mentally. And that is what Bhagwad Gita prohibits human beings – not to enjoy achievements mentally. The emphasis is on work. Likewise, western thinkers also lay emphasis on work. The repeated visualization is suggested only to reinforce your determination. Once you are determined to succeed, there is no stopping. You may have problems on the way, but you are bound to reach your goals sooner or later.


Napoleon Hill, author of the famous book, ‘Think and Grow Rich’, says, “The human mind can believe, The human mind can achieve.” Further he asks, “what do we mean by belief? Wishing won’t making it so….” A wish is not a belief.

Another great achiever, Steeve Jobs has been laying emphasis on implementing the ideas. According to him, thinking out-of-the-box is necessary, but putting it into practice is extremely important. About him it was said “he works from the gut and intuitively”.

Steven Covey

More recently, Steven Covey, author of the famous book, “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, advises everyone to be proactive. According to him, being proactive is the first habit which anyone who wants to progress should inculcate. He starts his chapter in this context with a beautiful quotation from Henry David Thoreau which reads as,

“I know of know more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious Endeavour".

To me it appears that all these great achievers were inspired by the above referred chapter of the Bhagwad Gita. In this regard, I had also written a poem called duty first which I am repeating below:

Duty First:

Row the boat of ‘duty’
Sail safely across the sea.
Search through your mind
What your duty can be.

Never is there a situation
Nor any circumstance
That could ever affect your intention
Of duty; you want to perform.

Hindrances, hurdles even hurricane
May hurt or shake your resolve.
With devotion to your duty;
Greater courage will evolve.

Duty first, always in mind
Greater joy; you will never find.

Thanks for reading!