Indianising Policy Studies
Organiser - Weekly   25-Nov-2013

$img_titleNation Policy Studies in the Light of Ekatma Manav Darshan,
Edited by Ravindra Mahajan; Published by Rashtriya Vichar Prasarak Mandal,  Pune; Distributor: Bharatiya Vichar Sadhana,Pune 1214, Sadashiv Peth, 411 030; Pp 450, Rs 500.00

Swadesh Singh

Policy Studies is a new emerging academic field in India which helps to understand the issues of governance and public policy planning. Ravindra Mahajan and his team have come up with a compilation of its own kind through this book on policy studies in the light of Integral Humanism (Ekatma Manav Darshan). This work is a result of gigantic academic exercise which  was taken up over a long period time where such policies that affect Indian state and its society were discussed.

Many organisations and individuals of Maharashtra have worked on this for long. The Editor clearly states that this is the first document on public policy and would be followed up with a deeper study on public policy planning of India in future.

The title of the book itself explains that the book aims to undertake an understanding of public policy studies in the light of Integral Humanism (Ekatma Manav Darshan). While there have been efforts in the past to understand politics in the light of Integral Humanism, yet no one has come out with such study on policy till date. 

Integral Humanism is an ideology propounded by a RSS Pracharak, great thinker and one of the founding members of Bharatiya Jan Sangh Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya, who had dwelt on the idea of Integral Humanism while giving his discourses in Mumbai. Integral Humanism was accepted as core idea by the BJS first and later by the BJP.

Integral Humanism tries to decipher different related issues with an Indo-centric approach. It is rooted in the concept that ideas for mind and values for soul are as much important as food for stomach. While the two dominating ideologies of the Western world in last 100 years —Capitalism and Communism— keep the individual and his material needs at the core of its thinking, Integral Humanism on the other hand makes welfare of every living being its core.           

Any thought process gets enriched only when it is propagated, discussed and expounded by intellectuals and academics in given space and time. Efforts to this effect have been put to prepare this document which has come out in the form of a book by Centre for Integral Studies and Research, Pune.

The Editor of the book has accepted that this is not a detailed policy document but only salient points and a comprehensive document is yet to come. However there is no doubt that this is a noble beginning. Inspite of this being a starting step, one can safely say that no documentation of such comprehensive nature has been done in the light of Deendayal Upadhyaya’s ideology in the academic field in last few years. Next step should be in the form of separate comprehensive volumes on each policy issue with proper proof reading, referencing and bibliography which would give the work more academic worth.

This book contains seventeen chapters discussing different policy issues. The Editor has tried to elaborate on two dominant ideologies—Communism and Capitalism—that influenced human race most in last 100 years and the idea of the State before going into the main part of the content. However, it is clear that the views of the writer and readers could differ on these two ideologies. In the later chapters policy issues like governance, education, economy, industry, service sector, science and technology, land acquisition, cooperatives, labour, security and foreign policy, etc are discussed in the light of Integral Humanism.

Two broad policy issues which did not find place in this document are issues of youth and social justice. Caste system and social justice discourse need to be seen as part of policy studies. It has been witnessed time and again that last man standing in the row belongs to the caste that falls lowest in the caste hierarchy i.e. Dalit. It has also been studied as a part of the public policy analysis that 70 per cent of the total population of the country is youth and can be used as a major resource. We could positively hope that these two issues would be discussed in the next detailed volumes.   

In our country, different policies were practiced and propounded by different rulers and thinkers. In this book many of those ideas have been given space and consideration viz. security policy of Shivaji Maharaj, Spying policy of Chanakya and different issues discussed in our shastras.    

This book is written with an emotional touch. It is also a matter of study that how much we should allow our emotions to guide us while working on a policy issue. However, we shall not forget that emotion is the also the best calculation.

This compilation edited by Ravindra Mahajan has been published in the light of this unique ideology. This book would not only be beneficial for academics but would also help activists engaged in the significant task of national reconstruction and people influencing policy making from outside and inside the government. This book will also help those groups and individuals which are associated with gigantic task of developing models of alternative development.  As it is said in this book that this is ‘beginning of the beginning’, we will see deeper study by the same academic group in near future till then this book is worth a read. 

(The reviewer teaches at a college affiliated to Delhi University)



A ‘True Guide’ for a company

The Elephant Catchers, Subroto Bagchi, Hachette,Pp 232, Rs 499.00

Manju Gupta

Written by co-founder of Mindtree Ltd., a company which got public listing in the stock exchange, where it achieved breakout success, and considered as writer of best business books, this book gives practical advice on real issues in enterprises, ranging from how to deal with consultants to the question of succession, words of caution on strategy traps and M&As, and insights into a whole range of growth-related issues.

Bagchi says that many organisations, despite making a brilliant start, falter in their attempt to achieve transformational growth in the later phases. He says that starting a company is easier than scaling it; that is why people and their enterprises hit the proverbial glass ceiling despite a successful start.

To make the book easy to read, Bagchi has divided the book into six parts, wherein Part I presents the need to build comfort with the idea of scale and the essentials that go with it.

Part II talks about getting large deals that will help scale your business and the kind of people you must employ to get them, about staying away from certain customer engagements and business models that would prevent growth, and about mergers and acquisitions (M&As) that invariably engage every organisation at some stage or the other. The author firmly believes that “unlike an operation to catch rabbits, trapping an elephant calls for expertise over enthusiasm. Those who hunt rabbits are rarely able to rope in elephants.”

Part III shifts the discussion to the idea that sustaining an enterprise is a game of intellect. The capacity to get to the next level often depends on a leader’s ability to augment organisational intellect by tapping into external expertise. The author cites certain pointers on how it can be done most effectively. He states that strategy will prove to the critical different between helping your organisation sprout and getting them to scale.

He says a strategy is not effective when presented as a simple idea that touches a chord and then moves people to action. Here he cites the case of Unilever where Paul Polman in 2007, asked his people to double the turnover from 40 billion Euros to 80 billion Euros by 2020 and lower the carbon footprint to the levels at which they stood in 2010.

Part IV deals with the reputation of an organisation. Reputation is a form of capital and growing it right, beyond just good public relations, is something that organisations often tend to overlook.

In Part V, the focus is on the importance of scaling people at every level of the organisation. The modern enterprise is all about people, be it the management and leaders, or the employees. It addresses the need for intelligent recruitment; the traps that leaders fall into, causing the organisation to stall; and issues of succession and nurturing the next generation of leaders.

And findly Part VI talks about the final frontier, where the leader must scale his own ‘self’. We all know that behind every organisation, there is a leader who sets it on its path. A time comes when the leader himself is required to pass tests that come his way, in the form of certain rites of message and bolts from the blue. The response of the leader, sometimes deeply personal, defines the destiny of the organisation.  

(The reviewer is former editor of National Book Trust)          



Books Received

Aisle be Damned by Rishi PiparaiyaJaico Publishing House, Rs. 250, Pp 214,  A-2, Jash Chambers , 7-A, Sir Phirozshah Mehta Road, Fort, Mumbai: 400 001

Tribal Law and Justice by WG Archer, Isha Books,Rs 990, Pp 540,  Gyan Books Pvt. Ltd. 5 Ansari Road, Daryaganj New Delhi: 110 002

The Modern Ayurvedic Cookbook by Amrita Sondhi, Orient Publishing,Rs 295, Pp 222, 5A/8, Ansari Road, First Floor, Daryaganj, New Delhi: 110 002

Tourism and Public Relationsby Annamalai Murugan,Kalpaz, Gyan Books Pvt. Ltd. Rs1200,                Pp 400, 5 Ansari Road, Daryaganj,  New Delhi : 110 002

Medicinal Plants by Sunita Singh Subhalaxmi, Kalpaz, Rs 750, Pp-260, Gyan Books Pvt. Ltd. 5 Ansari Road, Daryaganj New Delhi:110 002