Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Rohith's death

Too much hatred is floating around in the aftermath of Rohit''s death.  Notwithstanding the two arguments concerning the role of caste in education - that it is a bane and that there is still repression, the two other important issues that needs to be addressed are freedom of expression and appropriateness of university policies.

Campuses are a place where ideas bloom and young people realize their true potential.  This can happen only when free thought and speech are encouraged and I have personally seen this in the transition I made from higher-ed institutions in India to those in the US.  In the US, you can take the two issues that I raised for granted.  In India, most institutions fail miserably in developing those systems.

Students who have unpopular opinions need to feel safe that they can express those publicly and not be ostracized for those opinions.  We know what happens to such individuals at universities in India - they are sanctioned, more so, when the opinions are against the majority (which usually governs the university).  If in case a student does hold such opinions, as long as they are not promoting violence on campus,  the administration needs to ensure that the environment is conducive for these opinions to be floated.  Further, if there is a conflict, a system that is transparent and agnostic to the political/communal leanings of the administration needs to be in place to ensure that the sanctions are justified. Instead, what we have is a hierarchical structure where too much power rests in the hands of career administrators who are beholden to the politicians with their own agendas.

A right cannot be fundamental, if it can be taken away.  We failed Rohith in ensuring that these two critical elements are in place.  An education structure that cannot ensure such freedoms is no education at all.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Why religion should not determine marriage

I am blogging after many years, and you have to put up with my prose!

As Ms. Davis defied the Supreme Court, she became a hero for so many on the right.  She stood-up
for what she believed, they said - her right to practice her religion.  Her decision to not to grant license has nothing to do with her being religious and everything with her being a law-abiding citizen.

She may have done well on the first, but she fared really badly on the second.  Laws exist so that we all can believe and live our lives for a common good, religion has something to do with it but it cannot be the source of such laws, no matter what the majority chooses to believe. For, religion is not an absolute, and so is not one group's god.

Having grown up in a conservative hindu family, I have heard of a million gods and am I to seriously believe that they are all godly and powerful? How are they inferior or superior to any of the other million gods that exist elsewhere in the imaginations of the billions who inhabit this planet? Not to mention the Hulapikiwiki god from Hawaii who promises to bring fish to the sea, and goats on the mountains if one's beard is not shaven.  See - a tribal god is as real as any other god.  They can only exist in the imagination of the collective.Neither can anyone claim that theirs is the supreme almighty nor can they deny the claims of others.  At best, it has to be peace.  My opinions not withstanding, for every person who believes in religion A, there are 3 who believe in others, so what does that tell us.  Pluralism, that's the word. So, please don't involve your religion to deny the rights of others.

If we buy this argument that god is absolute, then Ms. Davis should trust in that god and let the real world play out, knowing full well that she will let the true creator decide the fates of those who defy, assuming hers is the true god.  If god, in contrary, is not absolute, then she has no authority to claim that hers is the true belief for many religions elsewhere have nothing to say about marriage in general and who gets to marry -  ask the god Hulapikiwiki or the Spaghetti monster.

My point is simple, to each man his own. Of course, don't claim moral high ground because your belief is as good as someone else's and there are more on this planet who don't believe in things that you believe.  If you are in doubt travel the world. But, don't just sit in your boondocks of a county and think that you belong to the chosen few.

Friday, April 17, 2015

CNS - JB interview

JB Steenkamp on the Success of Marketing Scholarship in Netherlands

One of the initiatives at Customer Needs and Solutions (CNS) is to encourage the development of top marketing scholarship in emerging markets, especially in China and India. This will not only help develop the scholars there but also help highlight critical marketing problems unique to these markets and encourage research on understudied segments (see editorial: CNS as Venture Capitalist), which can also inform and enrich marketing theory and practice in general. To this end, CNS wants to document and share the lessons learned from the Netherlands, one of the most successful transformations of marketing scholarship at the country level. Rajdeep Grewal (Raj), one of CNS's senior editors, sat down with Jan-Benedict E.M. Steenkamp (JB) who has personified this remarkable transformation, to reflect on this journey and share his perspectives on related issues. 

Excerpts of this interview are printed 
​as a Perspective at CNS and can be downloaded here http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40547-015-0042-3.

The videotaped interview (cut into
​ ​
​) are on CNS's YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCvjYSlfjAHZeZAD8SagnlA), as well as YouKu (http://www.youku.com/playlist_show/id_23542065.html). YouKu is the Chinese video sharing site, for those of you who can not access YouTube.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Editorial Announcement | LinkedIn

Girish Mallapragada
3M Faculty Fellow
Assistant Professor of Marketing
Kelley School of Business
Indiana University

Editorial Announcement

3M Faculty Fellow and Assistant Professor of Marketing at Kelley School of Business, Indiana University

After a careful and broad consultation, Customer Needs and Solutions (CNS​, http://www.springer.com/journal/40547​​​) has identified eight topics ​for which it ​aspires to be THE destination of such work in the future, while continue to welcome any work related to customers (broadly defined) that has high upside. They are:
Consultants for customers
Understudied customer segments
Firms with social purposes
(City) Government to customers
Power of One (physician, politician, CEOs, famous personalities)
Middle range theorization
Computer science
Macro and future studies

Please refer to the CNS editorial for details: CNS as Venture Capitalist

As part of this initiative, we now solicit nomination (and self-nomination) for champions for each of these topics, who, if accepted, will serve as part of special editorial team responsible for that topic, and who will also be leading the effort to encourage scholarly work in that domain.

Please send the nomination (or self-nomination) to Min Ding at minding@psu.edu, before February 20, 2015, with a short statement (e.g., which topic you want to champion) and a link to your cv (or your personal faculty page).

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Of babas and gurujis

It Is inevitable that you know somebody that believes in a baba or a guruji if you are of Indian origin. The tradition of gurujis is many thousand years old and has a rich tradition in India. 

However, the gurujis you hear of in modem times peddle ancient Indian braathing and yoga techniques and make money while blabbering about the soul and other such stuff that they probably have no clue about. The funny thing is that not only do Indjans in the homeland buy such shit, but people from the western world seem to come in droves to meetings where such pot is doled out. It is hilarious to watch people sit and listen intently to babas and gurujis talk about spirituality, god and self-actualization. Most, if not all, are two bit scamsters who have no clue about what they are talking about.

I cannot for the life of me figure out how one could accept another human being's advice in such things. In prefer Sartre. You live your one life, in a world that you can feel, touch and experience and it ends there. There is but one life, the one that you have and live for that. Trying to lead another person's life or leading a path that someone else illuminates is just plain dull, and banal. 

Conjuring up a divine god, hoping for enlightenment, dreaming about an after life should be considered moral evils because they make us less human and force us to act against our every nature - of belonging to a physical world that has no place for any such fantasy.