Wednesday, January 29, 2014

TP murder case verdict and the Marxists of Kerala ..

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has once again demonstrated through the court verdict condemning 11 party cadres and officials to life imprisonment in the TP Chandrasekharan murder case in Kerala that they do not stand for a civilized society in Kerala, instead will finish off their political opponents one by one. What an immature thinking by a political party preaching very mature political ideology ?

My earlier post on this .. Another one highlighting the dilemma of Kerala CPIM ..

Hope Kerala does not see any more of such violent political murders. Has the Marxist party learnt the lessons by now ?

K K Rema, the wife of TP Chandrasekharan sitting on a fast unto death from Feb 2 asking for a CBI enquiry into the murder, as more than 20 prime convicts involved in the scheming had been left free by the state court for want of evidence. The problems for the Marxist party may just be beginning.
Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding :  Ralph Waldo Emerson.
The high and low level Marxist cadres of Kerala have been misled by their ineffective and insane leaders into believing that with violence they can have their say in Kerala .. Those days are over .. My cousins in Kerala are the real smart guys, for namesake and to seek benefits be a Marxist, when it comes to personal life, kick the people and leaders on their backs ..


India SC ruling denying gay rights ..

The Indian Supreme Court ruling on criminalising homosexual activity in the country has been warmly welcomed by sensible political parties and citizens groups of the country. It  is actually a victory of sense and simple intelligence over simple pleasure. In the name of enjoyment and nothing else, the gay community is trying hard to make homosexuality legal in the country.

Humans have been created in evolution (or by God) as man and woman. From our basic biological and sexual organs itself, it is clear that nature wanted man and woman to be together. Only a man and woman union can bring another progeny into planet earth. A union of man and man or woman and woman cannot bring progeny into this world. That basic union is by the very nature criminal and illegal.

Irrespective of some litterateurs and intelligensia gunning for its decriminalisation, the LGBT community is a gang of humans trying to legalise unnatural emotions and bringing selfish thoughts and actions into the mainstream. This has to be resisted by all sensible thinking persons in the country, Even if it means that a meagre 10% of society will not find sexual contentment, humanity as a whole cannot allow this 10% to contaminate the other 90% of peaceloving, natural law abiding citizens.

Gay parents cannot bring up straight children - this is the simplest and most plausible reason for not permitting homosexuality in society.

It is very much against nature, period.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Why people immigrate or futility of immigration ..

Why do people immigrate ? This thought has always been at the back of my head for a long time. Or for that matter, people with good educational qualifications, first try to migrate to a foreign country or try to get a job in an MNC first. Why does it happen so ? Is India such a hopeless country ? Or have the immigrants lost the balance in their head to ditch their own rich motherland ?

Is living in India so bad or is working with Indian corporates or organisation inferior to working with foreign MNCs ?

I am not saying that xenophilia is wrong nor is xenophobia justified .. coming from a very rich culture which had a profound impact on the world for time immemorial, except for the past three hundred years, it would sound strange to go to a foreign land in search of opportunities, opportunities of a good job otherwise denied in India due to high competition and high intellect ..

 People immigrate between countries for opportunities. For opportunities which are denied to them for being born to a particular set of parents, economic background  religious background and so on. Opportunities in a new land without prejudices he feels has been denied to him back home. It gives him/her chances to improve one's perceived sense of self worth and search for better standard of living, better paid jobs and a higher quality of life in terms of health and enjoyment.

When people migrate wanting to make a different impact on their lives, foregoing all that is their own in their own country, does it bode well for the individual, his future generations to leave his or her motherland and settle in another ?

India has been doing well throughout the whole of history. But we have not flaunted our well being, intellect or wealth for political purposes, to conquer, dominate or subjugate countries. Our political leaders have framed such a constitution for our country that we will never ever try to go aggressive , but only act to preserve our freedom.

In another twenty years, India will once again get to lead the world in all senses, unshackling itself from the bondages of poor development imposed on it by invading cultures. Following our principles of Sanatana Dharma, we will never ever want to rule other cultures, conquer countries, flaunt our wealth or denigrate other cultures, races, religions and civilizations.

India will keep up to the high standards of cultural, spiritual, intellectual excellence it has enjoyed over centuries, at the same time respecting the rights of other countries and civilizations to pursue theirs..

For a person in space or from a different planet, it does not matter whether we are whites or blacks, from India, China or US, tall or short etc.. We are humans.. Let us go beyond all such claustrophobic prejudices and work for a better world.


Friday, January 24, 2014

Reverse Innovation - Innovation from developing to the developed world ..

When I first took this topic for discussion in the class in Alliance university, Bangalore never did I think so many ideas would crop up from the students and I would learn so much.They say the Indian consumer is the most exacting customer in the world, if the operator does not cater to him, the Indian customer ignores him , as simple as that. That is why MNCs are rethinking their strategies to develop items for the developing countries and then move those ideas and products to the developed world.

I found this high value TED talk video on reverse or frugal innovation by Prof. Vijay Govindrajan of Tuck School of Business, NY interesting.. 

Tata Nano is a great example ..

India Knowledge at Wharton in interview mode with Prof Govindarajan

I have been engaging classes in lean Operations and the aspect of frugal innovation of reverse innovation is really great while discussing about Aravind Hospital, Madurai and Narayana Hospitals Bangalore in my Lean Operations classes ..

Prof Vijay's paper in HBR of Oct 2009 with Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE, " How GE is disrupting itself", talks of how GE has taken the lead in this Reverse Innovation by developing medical equipments like the "low cost and high value" desktop ECG for $15,000 and the ultrasound scanner for Chinese market, introducing the same products to western markets and finding novel uses for the same.

The "Reverse Innovation playbook" by Prof. Vijay highlighting the case (HBR April 2012) of Harman Automobile Infotainment division coming up with Saras, a reverse innovated product for the carmakers of the world makes good reading..Prof. Vijay's book title "Create far from home - win everywhere" is self explanatory ..

GE Triveni power turbines from 30 MW to 100 MW ..

Thank you Vijay for this. Even though this TED talk is for the US audience, it is very informative and will make people in the developing world think of innovation and how to take the frontiers of human endeavour and living forward.

An example of Tata Swach, the ultra low cost water purifier which does not need electricity , costs Rs 999 and is very portable.. ..

This is a list of great reverse innovation examples, mainly all of these are from India ..Maggi noodles from Nestle, Tacobell from KFC, Denizen jeans from Levi's, Renault Logan from Rebault and Mahindra, Etios/Liva from Toyota are all great examples .. When Tata docomo, the mobile phone operator came with the 1/2 paisa per second plan for mobile tariffs across the country, all other players followed suit and now the metric for mobile operators have moved from Average revenue per user to Gross / net profits / revenue. With a vast market of almos a billion users ( 3.5 times the US market and about 15 times the markets of Germany, UK, France etc..,)  the possibilities to innovate again and bring value to customers is huge ( at the same time giving fair profits to the operators).

This is Prof. Vijay's idea of a $300 house.. 75 million people in this world do not have a roof above their head when they go to sleep every night. Won't this be a great opportunity for countries to experiment with ?

Here is Prof. Govindarajan's blog on Reverse innovation


The great Indian democratic debate on AAP Minister Somnath Bharti ..

It is always great to see an over enthusiastic TV crew and an even more enthusiastic public come out in support and against AAP party on TV these days.  watch this video for a clear understanding ..

When the AAP minister, (IIT Delhi Post Grad) Somnath Bharti on the request of his constituency members from Malviya Nagar went to see for himself the activities of possible drug peddling and human sex trafficking taking place there, (which the police had always overlooked) and asked the police to raid the place, the police never acted. Nobody raises a hue and cry for this incident of refusal of the Police which is the main reason for this controversy and continues to be bane for the people of Malviya Nagar. It is a different thing that the incident has actually been a blessing for Indian democracy.

Why did the police officers not act on the request of the concerned MLA of the constitutency and Law Minister of Delhi is a question which we need to ask the police.? Had the police been a little more vigilant and heeded to the request of the people, would the needless post controversy have erupted ? Why are political parties making a hue and cry regarding the post crisis developments when timely action of the police at the right time would have brought it much applause ?

One thing we need to understand is that the Minister Somnath Bharti's outbursts or actions were not for his personal/selfish interests. It was for the people of his constituency.

The other good thing in the Indian democracy is that such deep dissection and analysis of pre and post incident developments will happen only in really "advanced mature and great democracies" like India. ( need not be materially advanced or democracies in crutches..) . The great learning from such incidents and discussions led by the media on TV and all discussion forums across the country of 1200 million in every nook and corner of the country is actually the strength of the democracy in India. I am doubtful whether other countries even after centuries will reach this matured state of political development.

Such advanced democratic exercises involving so many people rarely do happen in any other part of the world. And these discussions help to make the foundations of our democracy, strong, safe and sound.

My request to all political parties and media, Indian and foreign, making a hue and cry against Somnath is to request them to continue this noise for the sake of strengthening Indian democracy. AAP will definitely benefit from this initial ragging exercise by the senior political parties and make it more stronger. It will emerge more mature, responsible and careful in its future conduct.

The other offshoot of the the emergence of AAP, is that of 1) reducing the opulence and waste by ministers by way of unnecessary security and protection to add status (and not necessarily to cover the perceived security threat) and 2) reduction of power tariffs across the country by important states on fear of being caught red handed siding and scheming with the wrong-doers. These actions reaffirm that all is not lost yet . These actions will only make the Indian democracy stronger in the coming years.

This is also a lesson for the other democracies in crutches and self-proclaimed defenders of democracy of the world, to never be worried of initial hiccups and not take actions in haste. As long as the final objectives are pure and chaste, things have to automatically fall in place,. strengthening the hands of a strong democracy, upholding the values of honesty and sincerity, helping improve the transparency of the democratic process.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Unnecessary blowing up of case against Somnath Bharti, AAP Law Minister of Delhi..

What confuses me regarding the case against Bharti, an IIT Delhi Science graduate being hounded by vested interests for his patriotic remarks against some vested interests is whether these people who are raising the objections are raising any serious ones ?  I need to ask these interests, whether they stand for the unity and integrity of the country, whether they stand for the security of women folk in the country or for settling petty personal scores in politics and scoring some brownie points. watch this video.. Politicians of all political parties are missing the woods for the trees !! How sad ..

Here are a group of local dwellers and residents of the area after getting fed up with immoral activities happening with the blessings of some higher ups, try to raise their voice against immoral activities happening around Malaviya Nagar in New Delhi. They go and complain to their elected MLA, Mr Somnath Bharti who also is also the Law Minister. The Minister and the public together ask the Police to conduct a raid, which the police refuse.

Why blow up this case, missing the woods for the trees ? Why are politicians across affiliations not addressing the issue of drug and human trafficking and worried only about the case of over zealousness exhibited by their Minister to help them out ? The common man gets a strong feeling whether the police and the political leaders of the two mainstream parties are hand in glove with the immoral activities happening in the area.

Is controlling immoral activities happening unquestioned in a part of New Delhi or questioning a Minister for some enraged conversation he may have entered into pursuant to finding hints of immoral activity at the place, which is more important for the country ? We should understand that this issue was raised by the Delhi Law Minister not for his personal gain or selfish interests. It was on the request of the people in his constituency that the Minister went to see what is happening and took umbrage at the events.

In my opinion any right thinking individual, having any sort of patriotism for the country, irrespective of party affiliations, would firstly applaud the Minister for boldly taking up this action than gunning for his resignation and blood. The fact is that he is against the establishment with good intentions, to cleanse up the system and not work for its downfall. Working against the establishment is harming some of the vested interests who would love to maintain the status quo, continue with the confusion and troubled consciences and fish in muddied waters.

People who are raising voice against Somnath, should introspect and see whether any of Somnaths' actions were against the states interests of were in his selfish interests ? If so, only then should they shout against the Minister. Else they should let the incident take its normal course, allow Police to raid the site where immoral activities were for sure taking place and book the culprits.

That way the police can reclaim some of its lost respect and reputation among the people of New Delhi.


Monday, January 20, 2014

Playing the Beer Distribution Game ..

Prof. Siddharth Sengupta and myself played the Beer Distribution game in the class last week with students of the Operations stream in Alliance University. (click here for the shared doc)

There were three supply chains of 17 students each in the Operations stream of about 50 students.

Each supply chain had two retailers taking orders from the customers. The retailers were placing orders with a wholesaler, the single wholesaler was placing orders with the single Distributor and the Distributor was placing orders with the single manufacturer.

Supply Chain A

Supply Chain B

Supply Chain C

Total Cost
Total Cost
Total Cost

Retailer 1
Retailer 2



Analysing the results :

The Supply Chain C had the largest total cost, then supply chain B and least was for supply chain A.

In all the cases, we found that the Mean of the orders placed by the entities were higher for supply chain C than for the other supply chains.

Likewise the standard deviation of the orders placed by the supply chain C was higher than the other supply chains.

This was clear indication that the bullwhip effect, which is nothing but the amplification of the variance of orders placed by downstream entity on an upstream entity as we go upstream in the supply chain is very pronounced for all the three supply chains.

If we were comparing the relative values of the mean of the orders placed and the values of std dev. (variance) of the orders placed, we find for that these values are higher for supply chain C, than for supply chains B and A.

This also goes to prove that the higher the variability in the orders placed, higher are the costs.  This is because due to higher variance ( or SD) there are either higher numbers of items in stock, leading to high holding costs and to higher numbers of items short, leading to high shortage costs.

This goes to prove that Bullwhip Effect not only plays havoc with your inventory stock, it also increases your costs, affecting the bottomline of the organisation.

The reasons for these costs are as under ( Lee et al, '97)

1. Demand forecast updating : the rational thinking on the part of the players - thinking that the orders will either increase or decrease, the upstream entities either placed large numbers of items as orders or less numbers of items, forced them to place larger or lesser orders.

2. Rationing and shortage gaming : the single wholesaler was supplying to two retailers, naturally there was rationing and the retailers placed larger orders to avoid being shortsupplied.

3. Impact of leadtimes of replenishment : the replenishment happening after passage of a fixed period of time and the pipeline inventory thence was forgotten by the entities while placing orders, leading to higher inventory on order and delivery.

4. The negative impact felt by the backorders forced entities to order more than what was actually needed.

5. Order batching and price fluctuations did not happen in this instance and hence its effect on the bullwhip phenomenon has been ruled out.

Another cause which we wanted to highlight was the impact of leadtimes. It has been seen earlier while playing other versions of the game, higher leadtime of replenishment also results in higher costs of the supply chain.

The delay in getting the replenishment stocks due to high leadtimes, leads to panic among the ordering entities, who place larger orders , unmindful that stocks are in the pipeline. Finally when stocks arrive, there is a glut and this causes excess holding costs.

It was so good to see the Bullwhip Effect in action because of the rational thinking of the players of the game ( the students themselves). This is indeed great learning for the students..

You can read my writeup on the Beergame ..

Ref :
The bullwhip effect in supply chains- Hau L Lee; V Padmanabhan; Seungjin Whang, MIT Sloan Management Review; Spring 1997


Friday, January 17, 2014

Praise for the orderliness at sabarimala ..

My colleague and Professor in OLS, Prof Ramadoss, former CHRO in Titan Industries and Sr. VP in Tata Sons recently had been to Sabarimala for pilgrimage. He is a veteran Ayyappa devotee of forty years !! ( Sabarimala is one of the most famous pilgrim centres of Hindus from all around the world. Situated in the hills of Idukki dist in Kerala about 70 kms from Chengannur, by the banks of river Pampa, it is said to be the abode of Lord Ayyappa)

It was really great to hear from a thorough HR professional that Sabarimala is the most orderly and disciplined pilgrimage centre in the country. Prof Ramaoss has been visiting Sabarimala during the Makaravilakku time for the past 40 years.

Tirupati Balaji temple is where people can pay, black or white, and make their way to the Balaji. If there is a VIP visitor, depending on how much he can pay, he gets priority, top priority or emergency priority. Everything is measured on the weight of bank notes you carry with you. The devotees who otherwise take 4-5 hours for darshan or view of deity, if there is a VIP visitor, it may take upto 9-10 hours for the same. The Tirupati temple is not bothered about the hardship it causes to the devotees.

But this does not happen at Sabarimala. At Pamba, whether you are rich or poor, healthy , unhealthy, peon or officer, officer or Chairman, it makes no difference. You have to make your way silently and patiently through the queues to have a darshan or view of swami Ayyappa. Nop VIP culture at all.

Vavar palli ..
Prof Ramadoss says Balaji at Tirupati is the rich man's God, while Sabarimala Ayyappan is the poor man's God. You may be the President of the country or a roadside beggar visiting Sabarimala, once you are in the queue, it rarely matters who you are , All are same.

Even though every pilgrim may get just a second or two to see the deity Lord Ayyappan at the Sanniddhaanam, the trip is very rewarding. Encountering the harsh walking through the rough and muddle of the pampa roads on way to Sabarimala, the pilgrimage is one of bearing all hardships and difficulties in life.

A month prior to the pilgrimage all devotees planning to visit the shrine, are compulsorily on a vrath, or fast, not indulging in non-veg food or sexual desires. The pilgrims coming to the place in groups are led by a group leader. The unwritten rule of this group is that nobody coming for the pilgrimage should entertain any negative thinking in his / her mind (women above 50 years are permitted) nor complain of any difficulty or discomfort. Nobody is forcing them to come. So nobody is encouraged to complain about the hygiene, the traffic, food, water, cleanliness, rush, the discomfort, the millions of devotees and the resulting melee, whatever it be. This inculcates a habit of preparing oneself for any difficulties in life, and to weather all discomfort seeking divine help and presence.

It is the only religious place where you can clearly see communal harmony in action. While all across the country, religions are trying to communalise all actions, at Sabarimala, all pilgrims visiting the shrine of Lord Ayyappa also has to visit the Mosque of Vavar, who blesses the pilgrims a safe journey till the shrine. Prof Ramadoss also believes a christian church near the Vavar mosque would have made the concept of communal harmony very much complete.

Previously the river Pampa used to be contaminated by e-coli bacteria but these days police is taking great care to see that the pilgrims get enough place to refresh themselves. Online registering for time to visit the sanctum sanctorum of the temple through the Internet has been a great success. I was told that almost 70% of the people book their darshan time this way.

Were it not for the discipline, hard work and planning of the Kerala Police, this great pilgrimage to Sabarimala would never be such a great success over the years. These policemen may be from any religion, inside the temple premises they do not wear footwear and work wholeheartedly for the success of this annual pilgrimage.

(credit and thanks to the respective organisations for permission to use the pictures and to Prof Ramadoss for his valuable, secular inputs.)


Referencing - the Harvard system ..

While writing bibliographies for reports, dissertations etc, I found this link to be very useful for students in preparing a decent bibliography, citations etc.. This Harvard referencing style is used in different countries and reputed journals across the world. It was the same referencing I used at IIT Bombay for my thesis work.. The list is alphabetically sorted on the second name of the first author, name of publication etc.. ( eg. sorted on names C, J, T, U in the example )

sample syntax : first author surname, surname, second author full name, title of reference (journal article name, text book name ..), details of reference (journal name, publishers name, edition number, year of publishing ....

For example -

Carlson, A & Pope, BM 2009, ‘The “Big Deal”: A survey of how libraries are responding and what the alternatives are’, The Serials Librarian, vol. 57, no. 4, pp. 380-398. Available from: Taylor & Francis Online. [28 September 2015].

Johnson, P 2009, Fundamentals of collection development and management, 2nd edn, ALA Editions, Chicago.

Thompson, K, Wilder, R & Button, L 2000, ‘Impact of bundled databases on serials acquisitions in academic libraries’, The Serials Librarian, vol. 38, no. 3-4, pp. 213-218. Available from: Taylor & Francis Online. [28 September 2015].

University of Western Australia Library 2015, Collection management principles and policies. Available from:
 [14 October 2015].

Click here for the link ..

How should a good Ph.D. Thesis Supervisor be ..?

Over the years I have always wondered how a good PhD Thesis supervisor should be.

Should he be passionate, should he be knowledgeable, should  he display apathy with his students or should he be a tough task master to his students ?

I can across this response from a doctoral student from The Times Higher Education site.

Very reasonable and enlightening. Loved reading it and perfectly matches with a lot of supervisors I know.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Out of Eden walk - Paul Salopek, 7 years and 33,000 kms..

Salopek's 7 year journey route and its historical significance .. pic courtesy NG
Pulitzer prize winning journalist Paul Salopek is on a 7 year long walk covering 33,000 kms tracing the route taken by our ancestors 60,000 years back in spreading out throughout the world.

Starting from Ethiopia (Jan '13) thru mideast ('14), Dharamsala, India ('15), China ('16), taking a boat and crossing over to Alaska ('17), along western coast of north america ('18),thru west coast of S America ('19) till Cape Horn (Jan '20).

Compressing 60,000 years of human migratory endeavour into 7 years to learn the different evolutions of language, culture, religions, races, human traits and the like .. updates at this site..

Here is the video ..
A journey transcending all barriers of race, caste, region, religion, culture and even civilizations .. A jouney through time.

A journey that belongs to all of us .. Our forefathers did it at least 30- 40 thousand years back.  Because they did it neatly and safely, we are where we are on planet earth today. Their travels and travails across deserts, mountains, oceans, rivers, snow and streams have brought us to where we are today.

To better appreciate how our forefathers overcame all challenges of the untamed nature and the  unpredictable environment we should understand this path.

Paul Salopeck is doing this journey for each of us on planet earth, to better understand our lineage, our heritage and our great cultures, how they have evolved and transformed over the centuries, how we have become what we are today, trying to understand all human endeavours across dimensions of time and space. We get to know of some of the earliest civilizations and cultures, how our ancestors braved the seas and conquered the mountains.

Trying to put an end to the identity crisis we face today of cultures, colour of skin, of faith and religion and of our ancestry. This travel also explains man's constant endeavour to explore and conquer, to grow and develop, to live and let live, to die and be remembered, to leave legacies and footsteps on the sands of time.

With the knowledge, Paul is able to collect and collate in the course of these seven years of travel across the continents, we will be able to better appreciate that we all share common ancestors, be able to understand where and how our human traits of skin colour, hair texture, eyes etc changed to suit local climate and environments.

It has been the constant endeavour of National Geographic Society in Washinton to fund such expeditions to better understand human interactions with the environment and the earth around us, to better appreciate our common characteristics and our uniqueness as a group, as a culture and as a  race.

George.. (picture courtesy National Geographic Society)

Carbon footprint pic..

Interesting graphic. Should'nt US be ashamed of itself for promoting irresponsible development ? US average Carbon footprint...

My popular posts over the last month ..