Musings on Leadership & Mission Shakti
Abracadabra By K. B. Ganapathy, Columns

Musings on Leadership & Mission Shakti

March 29, 2019

PM Modi, Dronacharya for Arjunas of DRDO

Last Wednesday evening, I had a special request from industrialist and Wellness Guru Dr. B.R. Pai of Vijay Wires to attend a lecture and workshop titled “Leadership 4.0” by Prof. Debashis Chatterjee, Director of IIM, Kozhikode, Kerala. Having heard another Management Guru Gaur Gopal Das, only a few days ago at the KSOU Hall, I thought if I was going into a diminishing-return syndrome listening to another similar lecture or talk. I was not disappointed because the environment and the ambience here at the Radisson Blu Hotel was totally different from what it was at the massive KSOU Convocation Hall.

It was intended to help those who wish to become top class potential leaders of corporates, who could navigate through rough high seas of competition and create values for their products or companies in the changing world. After listening to this Management Guru, I realised he was trying to help the business leaders, who are engaged in ruthless competition among themselves to beat each other even when there is no competition among companies.

Wednesday was also the day when India accomplished what it called “Mission Shakti” by knocking off its own live satellite in orbit at a height of 300 kms. A successful test firing. We are proud. The pride comes from the fact that only three other nations — the US, Russia and China  — have this technology which will enable the country to protect its satellites and space in times of war.

Naturally, any Prime Minister of a country that has taken a quantum leap in Missile Technology of this kind would take pride in announcing it to the Nation himself. That is what our Prime Minister did when he announced it to the Nation through TV channels and All India Radio (AIR).

Not surprisingly, the “Pseudo-Secular and the Liberal” Opposition parties did not like Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself announcing this achievement apparently fearing that the BJP and Modi would get the credit in this election season. But, Modi was only acting as a messenger carrying the ‘glad tidings’ of an extraordinary achievement giving credit to the scientists and technicians of DRDO. In today’s India where Opposition’s jealousy (of Modi) wears the mask of righteousness, Prime Minister Modi needs to deal carefully with the mystery of human nature.

It is said in the Bible that “No prophet is honoured in his own country.” Therefore, I was not surprised. Prime Minister Modi, a reformer and a game-changer for the long-term, all-round development of the country, will be questioned of his intentions in bringing these changes. Which is why even his policies and decisions look like bitter medicine for the country’s nearly 60 years of neglect and malady.

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People like Rahul Gandhi and other Opposition leaders criticise Modi’s universally acknowledged achievements. For Wednesday’s satellite strike Rahul Gandhi gave a left-handed compliment. Look at the message Rahul Gandhi sent out after “Mission Shakti” was accomplished. His message to DRDO, responsible for the achievement, was so casual like a congratulatory message sent to a student who has passed SSLC.

It said: “Well done DRDO, extremely proud of your work.” And, of course, he did not forget the Prime Minister. He said: “I would also like to wish the Prime Minister a happy World Theatre Day.” Indeed by sheer coincidence, Wednesday the 27th March happened to be the World Theatre Day and Rahul Gandhi grabbed the opportunity. His message obviously suggested that Modi himself announcing the achievement was nothing but a drama, specially in this Parliamentary election season. Sarcasm?

According to DRDO Chief Dr. G. Satheesh Reddy, it was a “technologically complex mission” kept a tightly guarded secret known only to a small group up to the day of the launch.

In this kind of achievement in the field of Science and Technology, whether for the purpose of defence, industry or infrastructure, the bottom line is the leadership of which Prof. Debashis Chatterjee was speaking about.

Take for example, the case of the manufacturer of Medium and Heavy Commercial Vehicles and Buses in ‘volume terms’ of Ashok Leyland in Chennai. It seems there was a six-year-old poster in the Office of its MD stating the “company’s vision” to be in the global top ten in Medium and Heavy Commercial Vehicles and global top five in Buses. At the bottom of the poster was written by hand “Mission Accomplished,” signed by the MD Vinod K. Dasari, dated Jan. 10, 2019. It means under the leadership of Vinod Dasari, a difficult vision set out for the company was accomplished within a short period of six years. Probably, that was the kind of leadership Prof. Debashis Chatterjee was talking about.

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According to former DRDO Chief Dr. Avinash Chander, himself a missile man who gave India the Long Range Anti-Ballistic Missile Programme, the present “Satellite Killer Mission Shakti” project was initiated recently, apparently under Modi’s initiative, and was significantly different.

These achievements by our leaders in the field of Science and Technology clearly suggest that we have men and women who are capable of delivering the country’s requirements in the field of defence, industry and infrastructure that are world class. Sadly our rulers were not LEADERS. They had their own reason to ensure that PSUs like HAL and HMT did not deliver. Let it be. Today we have many brilliant Indians who have left this country under compulsion to work in Europe and America and are contributing for the development of those countries.

After 70 years of independence, it is a disgrace for our country, with such brilliant human resource, to remain backward compared to South-East Asian countries. A paradigm shift in policy and vision for the country’s future is an imperative. No use denouncing each other as Communalist, Secularist, Casteist, Nationalist, Hindutvawadis, so on and so forth, thus inhibiting emergence of futuristic ideas for the development of the country.

Be that as it may, according to Prof. Debashis Chatterjee, role models for becoming a successful manager or a leader of an organisation, industry or even a country is found in our epic Mahabharata.

Arjuna and Dronacharya

He mentions of an episode wherein Arjuna was declared a supreme human talent, hence possessing a super leadership quality. His power came from Ekagrata — Single Pointed Concentration without any distraction. The episode relates to Arjuna’s Guru in warfare Dronacharya, giving him a test in archery. A wooden bird was hoisted on a tree. Dronacharya asked Arjuna showing him the tree, “Do you see the tree?”

Arjuna says, “No.”

Dronacharya then asks Arjuna, “Do you then see the bird?”

“No” says Arjuna.

“What do you see then?” asks Dronacharya.

Arjuna replies, “I can see only the eye of the bird and nothing else.”

“Now release the arrow,” Dronacharya commanded.

Everyone who stood there saw Arjuna’s arrow hit the  bird’s eye.

Our Scientists of DRDO who successfully accomplished “Mission Shakti”, in my opinion, are all Arjunas in the 21st century India. May I say Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the Dronacharya for all these Scientists?

e-mail: [email protected]

4 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Musings on Leadership & Mission Shakti”

  1. Hegde says:

    Sir at least for SOM legacy sake, you should stop this much blind appeasement towards a particular person and party.
    This is where we miss SOM/Mysuru mitra competitor Andolana editor Rajshekar Koti who always stood relatively neutral most of the times thru his paper.
    Its pity that you don’t come close to Rajshekar Koti.

  2. strangeworld says:

    “Wednesday was also the day when India accomplished what it called “Mission Shakti” by knocking off its own live satellite in orbit at a height of 300 kms. A successful test firing. We are proud. The pride comes from the fact that only three other nations — the US, Russia and China — have this technology which will enable the country to protect its satellites and space in times of war.”
    yet India cannot feed over 500 million of its people who are well below the UN-defined poverty line,and cannoty supply pure drinking water to its teaming masses, and the society and country as a whole is mired in corruption. It is like payasa in the end of the a large plantain leaf, with the middle of it sits a huge mound of manure. What a shame!!

    • KGB says:

      Have we not heard the counter argument that all foreign agencies (like UN, NGO’s etc.) always show India in negative way deliberately, all their data is fabricated etc.
      Change comes with acceptance , unfortunately we ever acknowledge the issues forget about resolving.

  3. @strangeworld!


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