Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Prof N S Ramaswamy and the ideals he held aloft ..

N.S. Ramaswamy
Capture the sincerity and child-like innocence
from his face !!
It was good listening to PadmaBhushan, National Professor of Management, Prof N S Ramaswami ( founder Director IIM Bangalore) on 28 June 2010 inaugurating the Faculty Development Programme. He spoke on how global cultures need to interact, the importance of learning management principles, with great stress on values. Modern day Professors tend to dismiss his theories, but they are very relevant and practical. He also stressed how important it was to see academics and Industry interact for the mutual benefit of both parties.

At 86 years prof Ramaswamy was at his intellectual and wit's best, mingling his meaningful speech with excellent humour with a purpose. Always going out of the way to prick people of his own state, Malayalis .. Since he is staying close to my house in Koramangala, Bangalore, I see him most of the evenings moving with a helper taking his evening walk .. He was demonstrating that a healthy mind in a healthy body is very much needed to be of use to the society and not be a burden.. !!

The Indian Heritage Academy (IHA), the Institute to promote Indian heritage which he runs in Koramangala in 6 th block on land given by the govt to him many years back, still reverberates with all dance classes, discussions and spiritual discourses on our ancient culture and heritage. it takes lot of courage and determination at this age to run such an Institute almost single handedly, with the physical and moral support of a lot of admirers !!

He even delivers lectures here at this ripe age to management faculty of colleges in Bangalore and outside, to spread the message of managing with values. The lack of it has led to the Enron issue and the great economic crisis in US and Europe of 2008. ( and we take excessive pride in pursuing this collapsed, hollow form of  western management) He even maintains a small thickly foliaged area of Koramangala, on land given by the govt., behind the petrol pump on the 80' road, which he once showed to me. This also demonstrates his passion for the cause and firm belief in what he does for the society.  He took great pride in this. His constant effort to motivate research to improve bullock cart design to make the life of animals simpler is very widely appreciated by the country. CARTMAN, Centre for Action, Research and Technology for Man, Animal and Nature, as the centre is called, is a great contribution to society.

He is also interested in seeing an understanding develop between cultures and peoples of the world. Once when I went to invite him for the Annual Rwanda genocide remembrance prayer held in Bangalore, he was thrilled to listen to the civil revolt in Rwanda between the Hutus and the Tutsis. I explained all the horrors of the genocide to him.. He was very much moved by the details. Though very much interested in promoting interaction between cultures, dues to his bad health and prior commitments he could not make it that day for the function.

His eagerness and deep desire to see Indian culture and traditions thrive, management principles survive the test of time and to propagate it with values, spreading awareness about its richness and simplicity  was quite amazing. Gauging the wide horizon of knowledge he possessed in different areas of management and the Indian economy was interesting as well as exciting. An unfailing memory to remember, faces, facts and figures !! At this age to reel out facts and figures with accuracy and precision, doggedly pursuing and working to fulfil his life's dreams was perplexing..

 A sad feeling which he shared was his alma mater, Maharajah's College Ernakulam, Kerala , mine too, not felicitated him on receiving the Padma Bhushan. That is one area where I have the prick of conscience of not being able to do something for him. He also took pride in the fact that he was the only National Professor of Management ever in the country .. A rare honour which has not been bestowed on anyone else in the country.

Another sad fact which he shared with me was that in spite of all his great and good work for society, he felt bad he could not convince his sons to stay back in their motherland of rich culture. They had their own agenda, and own vain goals to accomplish and wealth to acquire !

Whatever be it, the simple living he leads mingled with the high thinking with a great sense of spirituality and values, will be a role model for generations to come .. as long as IIM Bangalore exists. It was a pleasure talking to him and we can talk for hours on mutually interesting topics..

May he live for many more years to pursue with all sincerity of devotion and purpose to fulfil his life's dreams.. (photo courtesy The Hindu newspaper ..)

ge..  < geasaw@gmail.com >


  1. Prof N S Ramaswamy is no more. He died on 17 Sept 2012 in bangalore. May his soul rest in peace ..


  2. Nice to read about a great person so close to you sir!


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