It’s not often that you have an ex-President of India teaching you some fundamentals of management, but one thing is true for sure- if you do get such an opportunity, you dare not let it go by! This is exactly the sentiment echoed by the 94-odd students from IIMA did who attended the Globalising Resurgent India through Innovative Transformation (GRIIT) course taken by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam and Prof. Anil Gupta.
I was one of the few lucky PGP-1s to be selected to attend this course and I grabbed the opportunity with both hands. I managed to wake myself up on a lazy Wednesday afternoon and rushed to class 15 minutes early in anticipation and excitement. And when Prof Anil Gupta walked in with Dr.Kalam, the energy levels in the class were palpable. The students got an opportunity to present their ideas about transforming India to the ex-Prez himself. He welcomed all the participants and invited the groups to present their ideas about transforming India. The first presentation was about ideas on how street food can be made safer considering that 40% of the food we outside consists of street food. And if you thought that Dr. Kalam would just passively listen to the presentations, then you were completely wrong ! Not only did he actively discuss and comment on the ideas being presented, he also shared his experiences and ideas about how the project can be practically implemented.
Time just flowed through the 90 minute lecture. As the groups went ahead with their presentations, I realised how the ideas put forth by these budding managers can indeed result in a resurgent India, thoughts which seem to be echoed by Dr.Kalam himself. Dr. Kalam also advised the students to look into rural initiatives, something which he deeply believed in. One of the presentations towards the end focussed on the education system and the need to provide education to all. Dr.Kalam expressed his concerns about the high drop-out ratio in schools and sought out ideas to improve the same. He felt there was a crying need for ‘mobile schools’ especially in tribal areas.
As the lecture came to an end, Dr. Kalam showered praises on the groups which presented and said he would be happy to see those ideas implemented. As he left for the day, I did manage to seek an autograph and a photo, something which I shall always treasure.
Looking forward for some more lectures by Kalam Sir !
Glen aka MaLi
Media Cell, IIMA