Pallonji Shapoorji Mistry, the billionaire realtor and industrialist, and Chairman Emeritus of the venerable Shapoorji Pallonji Group, passed away at his home here late last night, official sources said here on Tuesday.
He was 93 and is survived by his sons Shapoorji and Cyrus P. Mistry -- latter who was in the limelight for the huge corporate tussle with the Tata Group a few years ago, and two daughters, Laila and Aloo -- the latter wedded to Noel Tata, half-brother of Ratan Tata.
The Shapoorji Pallonji Group is renowned in the realty and engineering sectors and constructed several landmark buildings like the RBI headquarters, SBI, HSBC, Grindlay Bank, Hongkong & Shanghai Bank and others in south Mumbai, besides other major infrastructure projects.
The Group had also produced the iconic Hindi film, K. Asif's 'Mughal-E-Azam' (1960), then the most expensive one and till date it reigns among the top popular movies of Bollywood.
The verdict in the bypolls to the two Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh -- Azamgarh and Rampur -- is no doubt out, but the results actually throw a surprise in the performance of BSP's Guddu Jamali, who could be termed as a striking 'winner or killer'.
Shah Alam a.k.a. Guddu Jamali, the BSP candidate in Azamgarh, walked away with 2.66 lakh votes, ensuring the defeat of SP candidate Dharmendra Yadav who got 3.04 lakh votes.
The BJP emerged the winner with Dinesh Lal Yadav Nirahua getting 3.12 lakh votes.
Clearly, Jamali's vote share ensured SP's defeat and also proved that he is the biggest vote puller when it comes to the Muslim votes in Azamgarh.
The Jamali factor is now being cited as an example of SP president Akhilesh Yadav's political short-sightedness and lack of vision.
If sources are to be believed, Jamali was 'insulted' by Akhilesh earlier this year during the Assembly elections.
After quitting the BSP in November last year, Guddu Jamali had met Akhilesh Yadav who reportedly promised that he would be given a ticket for Azamgarh in the Assembly polls.
A Samajwadi Party leader said on Monday, "Thereafter, Guddu Jamali tried several times to meet Akhilesh Yadav, but was not given an appointment. An upset Jamali joined AIMIM in a huff and contested the Assembly polls on AIMIM ticket. He got over 36,000 votes from the Mubarak Assembly constituency."
BSP president Mayawati made the rare gesture of calling back Guddu Jamali and offered him the ticket form Azamgarh for the by-elections.
Mayawati's intention was clearly to defeat the SP and regain lost ground among Muslims, which she has done and Jamali worked overtime to avenge the humiliation that he had faced because of Akhilesh.
Guddu Jamali, despite ranking at the third position, can be termed as a 'winner' of these by-elections.
He is now being seen as one of the most popular Muslim leaders in the state.
If sources are to be believed, other opposition parties are already trying to keep an eye on Guddu Jamali and win him over to their side for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
"Any party that manages to get Jamali to its side, can be assured of one seat in the next general election. His popularity is at an all-time high," said a political analyst.
Guddu Jamali has obtained an MBA degree from New Port University of California and happens to be one of the richest candidates in the state.
According to the details given in the affidavit submitted for nomination, Shah Alam has movable and immovable assets worth Rs 162 crore. While his wife Shaheen's movable and immovable assets worth Rs 31 crore.
In the age of knowledge ushered in by the IT revolution, success in business is mandated on the corporate entity being well-informed about the environ around and committed to knowledge-based decision making -- the latter being the new hallmark of leadership, different from the past in as much as no one could claim any more to be a leader mainly on the strength of 'inheritance' or personal 'charisma'.
The Covid disaster disrupted not only the flow of relevant information from outside needed by businesses, but also the internal processes of communication and evaluation of where did the organisation and its manpower stand in the scheme of things.
In the new age, 'competitiveness' has acquired a global dimension because the use of information or data could enable a 'smart' player to score over a bigger rival in a 'borderless' market -- this challenger could be operating out of any place on the globe.
Corporate houses, therefore, are investing a great deal on establishing a system that would guarantee access to information about the external factors impacting business -- such as political environ and the contours of policy making by the government, law and order management, state of economy, including the quantum of 'demand', socio-cultural preferences and discordance, if any, and technological advancement existing in the identified geography.
A basic principle of information gathering is to take stock of what is already known within the organisation, before proceeding to tap the external sources for any specific requirement.
Internally available information -- it was realised -- is a resource not to be missed out. 'No one knows everything but everybody knows some thing' -- this is a corollary of the age of knowledge, and the corporates rightly realised the importance of tapping the 'tacit' knowledge all employees carry with them that did not become available for the cause of the organisation only because the latter did not build a system of garnering it.
The term Business Intelligence is now being used for a wide variety of information gathering arrangements -- perhaps without an adequate understanding of the difference that exists between the words 'Information' and 'Intelligence'.
Information can be defined as any 'intelligible fact or data that tells you something you did not already know' -- this clearly grades people on the scale of being well-informed since in a specific context someone would be 'better informed' than the other and thus would have a competitive edge.
Intelligence is by definition information that tells you 'what lies ahead. It is thus clear that all intelligence is information but all information is not intelligence. Between two 'peak performers' who have the same knowledge of the past and a matching capability of handling all matters in the present, the only thing that would put one ahead of the other is intelligence or insight into the future.
What lies ahead is either a set of 'opportunities' or a cluster of 'risks' and both of these are crucial for business advancement. Intelligence is also described as 'information for action' and clearly no business organisation would sit on the information of intelligence value that gives a clue about an attractive option of profitable growth or an impending danger on the horizon.
In the new age we live in, instant communication and borderless sharing of information have made prompt 'action' a prerequisite for success and made 'time' a new resource adding on to the earlier three -- 'finances', 'man power' and exclusively owned 'information'.
The prolonged Covid crisis that created the hybrid work environment made human resource management far more challenging and added to the difficulties of tracking demand, supply chain and level of productivity.
The function of Business Intelligence (BI) faces difficult tasks of building the information base, setting new parameters for data analytics and helping the process of reviewing the business plans.
Covid no doubt acted as an equaliser for businesses -- big and small -- but it certainly put a premium on corporates that had already adopted technology for globalised operations while at the same time it made manufacturing business a far more tedious proposition.
A lot of technology-based systems of internal management, performance evaluation and human resource deployment are already in operation, but in the Covid environment the real challenge facing Business Intelligence is updating and consolidating data and carrying out a meaningful analysis of the same in order to help maximisation of business performance.
The problem of data analytics in Covid times entailed tapping of new information sources like social media, digital platforms and electronic news channels -- in a situation of diminishing 'direct' human outreach.
Information obtained through direct human interaction yielded intelligence that was basic to business studies carried out earlier.
Business Intelligence output has now become more of a test of competent analysis that would provide an 'insight' into the future -- earlier BI was mostly engaged in the collation of raw data to identify business trends in general.
The Business Intelligence unit today must grasp the significance of Albert Einstein's famous saying that "Imagination is more important than knowledge".
Only a human mind has the ability to look beyond what the available facts or data mean in the present to read into what could happen in the period ahead. A standing example in this context is the 9/11 Commission report that faulted CIA for not showing enough imagination in handling the available information to the effect that some suspects taking training in a flying club on the US soil were interested only in learning how to take off but not in the technique of 'landing'.
The use of the human trait of 'imagination' has a bearing on the rising expectations from Artificial Intelligence(AI) or Machine Learning as the tools for Business Intelligence.
AI no doubt multiplies the capacity of the organisation to analyse data from newer angles and derive benefits from that in such areas as the handling of human resources, maintaining productivity and what is extremely important in Covid environment, identifying the points of 'course correction' for quick action.
Business Intelligence, however, will always be a cross between technology application and interpretation of social conduct of the people in a given environment -- that the latter would always be a function of the human mind should never be forgotten. The fundamental point to remember is that both 'business' and 'intelligence' are all about human activity.
The word intelligence has traditionally been associated with the domain of national security, but in today's world, the importance of intelligence extends to all business and professional enterprises whose success in gaining an edge over their competitors depends on their ability to discern the 'roadblocks' and 'breakthroughs' of the future and act on the intelligence that is made available to that effect.
The need to know and know quickly is the key factor today for undertaking any purposeful initiatives since Covid has created uncertainties and a lack of stability in every sphere of business.
There has to be a process of decision-making that fits in a rolling business plan catering to a changing scenario. Earlier, a vast amount of information was available in the public domain by way of publications, online databases, media, conferences and findings of think tanks.
Major corporates across the world established an intelligence division often in the name of planning cells or research units to churn out 'insights' through a comprehensive analysis of the open-source information.
In a situation where human outreach is curtailed, any in-person interaction or online feedback has become more valuable since information garnered from that can be presumed to be the proverbial tip of the iceberg indicating a larger phenomenon.
Analysis will have to be nuanced and imaginative and not rigid about the parameters applied in earlier normal times. Merits of good analysis -- using only reliable data, keeping it free of personal bias and not tweaking the readings to please the 'masters' -- will, however, always hold.
A lasting impact of Covid hardships on business is that it has made progress of an enterprise more dependent on customer's real satisfaction with the product or service quality, reduced the scope of making quick profits through less than honourable means and enhanced the concept that the individual is at the centre of all productivity even in these times of supremacy of technology.
It is the technological base on which home delivery businesses like Amazon have flourished, but they have also enlarged their human employment, dispelling apprehensions that technology, including its emerging component of AI, would lead to unemployment.
Covid has speeded up the movement of socio-economic life towards a new normal and this is an 'evolutionary' shift that would come to stay. The importance of upskilling, reskilling and multi-tasking will be realised, flexibility in the workplace without detriment to productivity will intrinsically promote work-life balance and the cause of a harmonious technology-social equation will be buttressed. BI has to cope with these transformative factors.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) led to the generation of a huge amount of data ushering in the importance of data analytics that could see the 'invisible' components in the data not clear to humans themselves.
This would certainly continue to help the organisation but Business Intelligence has to go beyond that to correlate technology with society's responses to identify any new directions of business operations.
In the Covid times, this became doubly important. Analysis of data for the sake of analysis is an empty exercise beyond a point -- businesses need applied intelligence all the time -- and the corporate leadership therefore must have an ongoing evaluation of the Business Intelligence function in the enterprise.
A directionless BI can neither set the course for a future strategy nor can it work for internal reforms like optimal use of manpower, changed yardsticks of performance measure and cost-effectiveness of operations. Setting the goals for BI and owning its deductions is what a successful business organisation must do to keep up its competitive advantage.
(The writer is a former Director of the Intelligence Bureau. The views expressed are personal)
A must-read book for aspirational management students globally. In this day and age where one is surrounded by an abundance of self-help books, I was attracted to the business-like book “Life Lessons for Managers” written by R.G.Rajan. Drawing from his experiences in leading organizations in the Public Sector in India such as Engineers India Limited, GAIL (India) Ltd, Projects and Development India Limited and Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers, the author’s writing makes this book a must-read. The author has used clear, simple and straight language without any management jargon. Various personal life experiences, anecdotes, stories and instances have been aptly interwoven in the book making the reader understand the underlying management principles. Readers will easily be able to relate to the situations mentioned in the book and apply them to their own lives.
The book has been organized into small chapters, each of which can function as a stand-alone guide on a particular topic. The chapters begin with a thought-provoking quote that kindles the reader’s interest to proceed on a reading journey which could well be their path to self-discovery. Two things especially stood out for me in this book. Firstly, the author has not hesitated to talk about his failures in various stages of life and how to deal with them. Secondly, there is a continuous focus on value systems throughout the book, including family values, which have often borne the brunt of today’s stressful life. The author concludes his book by talking about the golden rules of success.
The basic fundamentals of life never change, which is why the nuggets of wisdom shared by the author are immortal and applicable to every generation. Young managers can use this book as a guide to supplement their learnings at B – School, while seasoned professionals and laypersons can rediscover themselves. So, go ahead and explore yourself!
Title : Life Lessons for Managers
Author: R G Rajan
Publisher: Story Mirror Infotech Pvt Ltd
To say, the grapes are sour if asked for the opposition, will not be wrong, because if the corridors of current power are highlighted, then it will be literally 100 percent true that in 65-70 years after independence in 2014, the country has come out of the beautiful dreams of Mungeri Lal, the reality of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, a government dedicated to public participation, an inclusive government, a government of equal people, has set its feet on the ground, yet the opposition is going into the abyss in its critical attitude and is unable to bring any change. Perhaps the result is that our nation, our India, and our Indians are leaving an indelible mark on the world, as well as the developmental agenda of the government, "Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas," is now becoming a reality on the ground.
On the one hand, the opposition parties are finding themselves helpless due to the style of working of 'Bharatiya Janata Party', its determination, will-power, strong leadership and the changes taking place in the country, or rather from the role of the opposition itself are absent. The people of the country lost faith in them and they could not get 54 Lok Sabha seats to be in the opposition. We are talking about the 2014 Lok Sabha, in which the Congress won only 40 seats, whereas a party has to get 10% (54) seats in the Lok Sabha to become the official opposition party in India.
The opposition has always been accusing the BJP that it is an anti-Muslim government and promotes Hindus more on the agenda of Hindutva, but they do not remember that the foundation of the Bharatiya Janata Party is associated with this issue. That is how to get rid of the second-class treatment meted out to Hindus in India. Due to BJP always being in minority, the opposition always considered the agenda of Hindutva to be negligible and the anti-India forces took advantage of this, but as soon as the BJP government was formed, it started working on its Hindutva, then some parties again caste Started politics, but the opposition, who put cotton in their ears, does not know that the people of the country have understood that by constructing 'Shri Ram Mandir in Ayodhya', they should bring back their lost identity.
It is not in the hands of the anti-Hindu opposition. At the same time, it is also necessary to say that Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and people of all religions have been living amicably in the Bharatiya Janata Party government, and no one has any kind of trouble. That is to say that the kind of fear the opposition has been showing to Muslims and has been doing politics, that Muslims have also seen that during the tenure of BJP, the interests of Muslims have not been ignored in any plan, but the opposition Those who always considered their vote bank, today the same Muslims have started considering BJP as their political party and as a result of this, they returned with full majority in the 2019 general elections.
Going beyond all these things, under the leadership of Hon'ble Modi ji, our country has emerged as a strong and influential country on the world stage - Our Prime Minister says that - "Whatever achievements are, it is not the government's but the government's". 125 crores belong to Indians only. The common people and the welfare of the country are at the root of all our plans. This government has done such works, which generations will remember. like -
you will miss the surgical strike
Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana
50 crore people annually (500000) rupees
bank account in every household
electricity in every village
LPG (Ujjwala Yojana) in every household
Toilets in every government school, and in village-village, city-city
By giving international importance to Yoga, the UN declared June 21 as Yoga Day.
UN awarded 'Champion of Earth' to India.
If we talk about these above, then the great achievement of the government is that the people themselves gave up subsidies for the first time - be it gas or railways.
It will not be unreasonable to say that the opposition party is unable to play its meaningful role in the Indian democracy, because it does not have any concrete and basic issue, and if we talk about it, then the opposition is being 'leprosy'. The saying fits, because they do not have a solid issue, and the other is a lack of mutually acceptable leadership, which only exposes the irony and anomalies of the opposition. As the opposition did not have any concrete issue to hide their weaknesses, they created a slogan - 'First Modi ko Maat, Phir PM Par Baat', which reflects their failures. It can be said that today, instead of considering policies as the main issue, the opposition is emphasizing the leadership, or rather, the opposition has declared itself a weak negation by not considering policies as the main issue. The matter does not stop here, but their narrow selfishness is also becoming a hindrance to their solidarity. He has also declared himself an opportunistic politician by presenting his ideology.
If the matter has come out, then it will also go towards the government of Uttar Pradesh, and if we talk about the Uttar Pradesh government in this context, then four years of the government have been completed, during which the government has made the biggest ever 5 lakh 50 thousand 270 crore 78. With the passing of public welfare, development-oriented and all-inclusive budget of Rs. lakh from the Legislature, the state has taken a confident step toward a one trillion dollar economy. It was in the power of Yogi ji to effectively curb crime and crime with zero-tolerance policy against criminals by giving proper punishment to the criminals whose crime had become a stronghold in the governments of the opposition party. Compared to 2010, in 2020, 67.69% of dacoity cases are in robbery, 60% in murder, 25.70% in rebellion, 29.75% in road hold up, 100% in kidnapping for ransom, 41.51 in dowry death, 9.18 in rape cases There has been a reduction which could have been possible only in the present government. Be it sports, be it education, be it the case of saving a daughter, be it the passion to eliminate criminals, all this remained under the control of the BJP government, yet the opposition is criticizing Gandhiji only and only, not even this It is seen that the public has rejected it and denied its existence. And all this is the result of the dedicated government of the society, the result of the inclusive government.
What happened in Lakshadweep?
An archipelago of 36 islands, Lakshadweep came as a blessing in disguise for India when the war with Pakistan was at its peak. Sprawling over an area of approximately 32 sq m, the isolated island has a plethora of cultural practices. Though most of its residents are Muslims, the practice of Islamism on this island is unlike any other country.
All of a sudden, the island has been reeling under the onslaught of disturbing new reforms introduced by the newly appointed administrator Praful Khoda Patel. An MLA from Gujarat and a close ally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Patel has neither been a civil servant nor an administrator for any other UT earlier. He has been appointed by the BJP-led government in a pursuit to carry out their political activities at ease.
The contentious regulations have been witnessing public outrage on a widespread scale as they are unarguably a threat to their livelihoods and cultural practices. Without people’s consultation, three new reforms have been imposed on the islanders on development authority and animal preservation by the Goonda Act — a so-called way of the BJP to prevent anti-social activities on an island that has the lowest crime rate in the country.
The island has been reeling under the onslaught of disturbing new reforms introduced by the newly appointed administrator Praful Khoda Patel. Representational image.
What came as a bolt from the blue is all these are expected to come into effect while the whole nation is neck-deep in sickness and trying to combat the curb of the raging pandemic. In conjunction with this, the new administrator is solely responsible for the surge in the number of Covid cases in a place that had little to no cases till January 2020. After the relaxation of Covid protocols announced by Patel, 7,000 cases have been reported so far, equivalent to one-tenth of the union territory’s population.
The very first regulation proposes the orderly and progressive development of the island that, in other words, means carrying out construction of buildings and running engineering or mining operations without the consent of the public. No matter what development the government proposes to do to transform the island into a better place will definitely leave a devastating effect on the sanctity and environment as the island is ecologically sensitive.
Secondly, there seems to be a remarkable change in the consumption of food as one of the reforms aims to ban beef and proposes to put offenders behind bars or impose fines. On the contrary, the sale of liquor has been given a clear nod on an island where most of the population practices Islam. This has deepened discontentment among the islanders, but the Centre seeks to enforce the laws for electoral gain and power.
In addition to these, islanders with more than two children will not be allowed to contest for Panchayat polls, which in turn seems to be an impediment for people. The most vexatious among all the laws is the so-called Goonda Act, which gives unlimited power to detain anyone without any legal notice for one year. And this has been brought in at a place where the crime rate is at its lowest in the whole country.
Widespread condemnation has been voiced all around as several leaders posted online, including Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan, who said that these new laws are a cause of serious concern and put a challenge on the heritage on the island. In retaliation, the BJP said that several parties have been spreading false propaganda against the Modi government, albeit eight leaders of the saffron party have resigned against the acrimonious imposition of the reforms.
It sets the alarm bells ringing in our heads as to why the islanders were not consulted before implying these laws and what was the need of such reforms where there seems to be no sign of unlawful activities. While these are to be answered, islanders might have to prepare to bear the brunt.
By Akshit Gupta: Views expressed are personal and self-generated content.
Vaishnavism is one of the major forms of modern Hinduism, characterized by devotion to the god Vishnu and his incarnations. A devotee of Vishnu is called a Vaishnava. The Vaishnavite tradition is known for the loving devotion to an avatar of Vishnu, and as such was key to the spread of the Bhakti movement in South Asia in the 2nd millennium CE. For Vaishnava’s, absolute reality is manifested in Vishnu, who in turn is incarnated in Rama, Krishna, and other avatars. Through his avatars, Vishnu defends traditional righteousness in keeping with the moral law.
Vaishnavism is the worship and acceptance of Vishnu. The various sects of worshippers of Vishnu pray to him in different ways. For some, the goal of religious devotion to Vishnu is liberation from the cycle of birth and death. For others, it is health and prosperity in this life, good crops, success in business, or thriving children.
Vaishnavism comprises many sects and groups that differ in their interpretation of the relationship between the individual and God. It has four main categories of sub-schools: the medieval-era Vishishtadvaita school of Ramanuja, the Dvaita school of Madhvacharya, the Dvaitadvaita school of Nimbarkacharya, and the Pushtimarg of Vallabhacharya. The Srivaishnava sect, for example, emphasizes the doctrine of qualified non-dualism of Ramanuja, according to which, although the differentiated phenomenal world is illusory, it is nevertheless the medium through which devotees may gain access to God. Another group professes the dualism of the philosopher Madhva, the belief that God and the soul are separate entities and that the soul’s existence is dependent on God. The Pushtimarg sect maintains the pure non-dualism doctrine of the theologian Vallabhacharya, which does not declare the phenomenal world to be an illusion. The Gaudiya sect, founded by Chaitanya, teaches inconceivable duality and non-duality, the belief that the relation between God and the world is beyond the scope of human comprehension.
HDH Shashthpithadishwar Pujya Pad Goswami 108 Shree Dwarkeshlalji Maharajshree hails from the Pushtimarg tradition of Vaishnavism as the direct descendant of Jagadguru Shrimad Vallabhacharya Mahaprabhuji, the founder of Pushti Bhakti Marg and one of the five great Acharyas in Hinduism. His Divine Holiness is enthroned as the 14th Gadipathi of Shashthpeeth at Vadodara, one of the seven thrones of Shri Vitthalnathji Gusainji, the son of Shri Vallabhacharya Mahaprabhuji. He is not only the head at Kalyanraiji Mandir, Vadodara but also at several temples/Havelis in India, the UK, the USA, and Canada.
The first supreme omnipresent Jagad Guru Shrimad Vallabhacharya Mahaprabhuji established the Vaishnav religious system to grace upon the Universe, the Divine Grace, also known as Pushtimarg. Jagad Guru Vallabhacaryaji had two Divine Sons – Shri Gopinathji & Shri Viththalnathji-Gosainji. Shri Viththalnathji-Gosainji had seven sons. His sixth son was Shri Yadunathji. Shashthapithadhishwar Param Pujya Goswami 108 Shree Dwarkeshlalji Maharajshri is the 14th Generation of Shri Yadunathji. For the past 13 generations based on the traditions of Shashthapithadhishwar, he resides on every Gaadi-Pati (Throne) as Raj-Tilak. He is presently residing in Vadodara as Raj-Tilak in Seva of Mohini Swarup Shri Kalyanrayji. This is the same Swarup that Beloved Vallabhacharyaji served (Sevya).
Pujyapad Goswami 108 Shree Dwarkeshlalji Maharajshri is presently the Raj-Tilak Gaadi-Pati of Vadodara, Ahmedabad-Naroda (Shri Mahaprabhaji's Bethakji), Gondal, Baria, (Gujarat), Gokul (Uttar Pradesh), Dhanpur, Shergad (Rajasthan), Vidisha (Madhya Pradesh), Sikandarabad (Telangana). Likewise, in Atlanta-Gokuldham, Ocala-Pushtidham, Connecticut-Vallabhdham (All-USA) & Leceister-Shreeji Dham (UK). Moreover, he is serving various other religious establishments around the world as an Advisory.
From a very young age, Pujya Maharajshree has been an inspirational religious, social and cultural leader as well as a guiding force for the young and old alike and strong support for the disadvantaged members of society. He has motivated thousands of youngsters to embrace Pushtimarg through various religious, cultural, educational, and charitable institutions throughout India and the world. Over the years, HDH has been honored for His profound philosophical and poetic writings as well as for His religious, social, and humanitarian work.
He is a renowned PushtiMargiya Propagator, Philosopher and Teacher. He is an embodiment of Love, Compassion and Friendship. Along with these attributes, he is extremely practical and tolerant. He is a guiding leader in social welfare and is associated with various social organizations in the country & abroad. In his lectures, he motivates and inspires many individuals & Organizations and strives to find solutions to various problems faced by society. His inspired guidance is always for the people of the society for self-development and progress of the society.
He appreciates antique collections and art & artistry. He is very proficient in playing Mrudang (Pakhawaj) in Music Area. He is articulate in preparing and adorning jewelry for Shree Thakorjee. He has written several ongoing poetries in Gujarati, Hindi & Vraj Bhasha. He is the author of various religious and philosophical articles and texts. He has an interest in ancient & modern, known-unknown Gazals' collections. He displays a keen interest in national geographic and current affairs of past and present times...
He has received several accolades and awards including the prestigious "Glory of Gujarat" award in 2015 for promoting social well-being, Indian culture, and religion as well as for His valuable contributions to economics and religious research. Most recently in August 2021, His Divine Holiness was awarded an honorary doctorate by North American University, USA.
Pujya Maharajshree continues to travel tirelessly throughout the world with great enthusiasm and fervor to preserve, maintain and propagate Hinduism with the teachings of Pushtimarg through religious institutions, spiritual discourses, cultural programs, humanitarian projects, and education. In fact, the world has to learn a lot from the modern spiritual leader from India to structure the society in a harmonious way for peaceful living for all.
O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) has emerged as India's No. 1 Private University for the third year in a row, according to the QS World University Rankings 2023 that was released in New York.
London-based Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has ranked a total of 41 institutions from India this year, including seven new entrants.
JGU has retained its No. 1 position among the Indian private universities despite the rise in the number of ranked institutions. For the 2023 edition, QS analysed a total of 2,462 institutions and ranked 1,422 institutions in the world. JGU is ranked in the 651-700 band this year, making it the only private university from India, which has found a place among the world's top 700 universities.
JGU is also India's No. 1 ranked university with a focus solely on social sciences, arts and humanities, as per the influential QS World University Rankings 2023. Out of the 41 institutions which have been ranked from India, 11 are IITs.
Remarkably, JGU is also the only Indian non-STEM and non-Medicine university to have found a place in the QS World University Rankings 2023.
. JGU is India's No. 1 ranked university with a focus solely on social sciences, arts and humanities.
. JGU is the only Indian non-STEM and non-Medicine university to have found a place in the QS World University Rankings 2023.
. Globally, JGU has been ranked in the 651-700 band of the QS World University Rankings 2023.
. This is the third year in a row that JGU has been the highest ranked Indian private university in the QS World University Rankings.
. In faculty-student ratio, JGU is the second highest-ranked university from India.
. In international faculty ratio, JGU is the third highest-ranked university from India.
. JGU is ranked among the top 250 universities in the world in faculty-student ratio.
. JGU is ranked among the top 450 universities in the world in employer reputation.
Reacting to the performance of Indian universities in the QS World University Rankings 2023, the Founding Chancellor of O.P. Jindal Global University and its benefactor, Naveen Jindal, said, "It is a remarkable day for Indian higher education as the QS World University Rankings 2023 have shown that the numbers of Indian institutions which have found a place in the global rankings have grown.
"Out of the 41 institutions from India which have been ranked this year, seven are new entrants. It indicates a conscious effort by Indian higher education institutions to improve the quality of teaching and research to a level that matches global standards. If this trend continues, Indian universities will soon bring greater glory to the nation through global recognition."
Speaking of JGU's accomplishment, Jindal remarked, "To be recognised as India's No. 1 private university for the third year in a row by the prestigious QS World University Rankings is quite an achievement for JGU. The fact that a non-STEM and non-Medicine university has emerged as India's top private university year after year proves that the study of humanities and social sciences has tremendous relevance for employment generation as well as for the creation of knowledge needed for solving the complex problems that the world faces today.
"I wish to congratulate the Vice Chancellor, faculty, and staff of JGU for their commitment to making world-class education in India possible for our students."
Welcoming this exciting development, Professor (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar, Founding Vice-Chancellor of O.P. Jindal Global University said, "The QS World University Rankings provide millions of students around the world with a benchmark for choosing higher education institutions.
"To be featured among the top 700 best universities around the world in this prestigious list that covers 100 locations and over 40,000 universities in the world is a matter of tremendous significance for JGU as the university has emerged as a top destination for world-class education in India within just 12 years since its founding. The fact that JGU has maintained its position as the No. 1 Private University in India for three years in a row amid the extremely challenging circumstances of the devastating global pandemic exhibits the resilience of the university's strong foundations designed to foster academic excellence and create exciting new opportunities for our students".
"JGU has improved its global rankings this year on the back of its excellent faculty-student ratio, employer reputation and international faculty ratio. The performance of JGU in the QS Global University Rankings 2023 underlines the importance of providing a global learning experience that caters to the aspirations of today's youth. Internationalisation has at the very core of JGU's mission to create open spaces for research, dialogue and innovation through interdisciplinary education and hands-on learning.
"It is this mission that has driven JGU to hire full-time faculty members from over 40 countries and collaborate with over 350 leading institutions spread across 65 countries around the world. We remain committed to further increasing international collaborations and improving the quality of teaching, research and learning outcomes," Professor Raj Kumar said.
For the QS World University Rankings, universities are evaluated on the basis of academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty-student ratio, citations per faculty, international faculty ratio and international students ratio. QS analysed 151,000 responses from academics around the world and 99,000 responses from employers worldwide for this year's rankings. In faculty-student ratio, JGU, which received a score of 63, is the second highest-ranked university in India. In the international faculty ratio, JGU, which received a score of 22.6, is the third highest-ranked university from India. In employer reputation, JGU scored higher than 31 of the 41 institutions ranked from India.
Providing a closer analysis of the rankings, Professor Arjya Majumdar, Dean, Office of Rankings, Benchmarking and Institutional Transformation (ORBIT), O.P. Jindal Global University observed, "As per the QS World University Rankings 2023, JGU is ranked among the top 250 universities in the world in faculty-student ratio, among the top 450 universities in the world in employer reputation, and among the top 550 universities in the world in international faculty ratio.
"Overall, JGU ranked higher than such internationally acclaimed universities as the City University of New York, University of South Carolina, University of Bradford, Kagoshima University, University of Westminster and Beijing University of Technology, among others. The results show that JGU is now in the same league as some of the leading international universities, including Drexel University (US), University of Plymouth (UK), University of Southern Queensland (Australia), University of Manitoba (Canada), Kumamoto University (Japan), Abu Dhabi University (UAE), Chongqing University (China), Coventry University (UK) and Istanbul Technical University (Turkey), among others. This is a significant development for India and for JGU as it demonstrates what a young university in India can achieve in a relatively short span of time with the right combination of ideas, people and resources."
In the QS World University Rankings 2023, 16 of the 20 institutions selected for granting "Institution of Eminence" (IoE) status by the Government of India have found a place. These include 4 IITs, Indian Institute of Science, Delhi
University, Anna University, University of Hyderabad, Jadavpur University, Banaras Hindu University, O.P. Jindal Global University, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, BITS Pilani, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT) and Jamia Hamdard. Out of those 16 institutions, 7 institutions, including O.P. Jindal Global University, moved up in the rankings, 4 went down and 5 remained in the same positions as last year.
Commenting on the accomplishment, Professor Dabiru Sridhar Patnaik, Registrar, JGU, said, "As only those universities which shine on teaching and research quality make it to the QS World University Rankings, being recognised as one of the world's Top 700 universities by QS puts JGU in a distinguished league of internationally acclaimed universities. The high employer reputation score of JGU also signifies that the university has been successful in providing our students with the necessary preparations needed for securing gainful employment.
Moreover, it underlines that the graduates produced by JGU have been competent, innovative and effective. What makes JGU the incredible institution that it is today is the spirit of public service with which it functions. We remain committed to continue this tradition of institutional excellence in the coming years and decades."
Nepal's upcoming general elections later this year and the outcome will be crucial not only for South Asian geopolitics in the aftermath of Covid 19 pandemic and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, but the ramifications will be felt across the globe. Sources told India Narrative that China will play its cards and try to regain its hold over Kathmandu.
But this time Beijing may face resistance, especially after its refusal to back bankrupt Sri Lanka, once its reliable economic partner. "The image of China as a dependable ally has been dented. Before the pandemic it enjoyed an image of being the ultimate economic saviour for many countries through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) financing and other infrastructure projects but since then its reluctance to provide any financial support to its partners has become a global talking point," an analyst based in Kathmandu told India Narrative.
That apart, China is currently battling several challenges at home and this includes a sharp economic slowdown.
"The rising problems at home for China may not leave much room for Beijing to increase its thrust and focus on Nepal at this point," he added.
The Chinese Communist Party had worked hard at unifying and successfully bringing the Nepal Communist Party to power in 2018, Carnegie India noted in its report.
Nepali former Prime Minister K.P.Sharma Oli was considered "Beijing's man."
Nepal swayed away from India and leaned more on China. "Nepalis believed that Chinese promises of new connectivity and financial largesse would end their traditional dependence on India," the report said.
But in the last one year, Nepal's domestic politics has taken a sharp turn with the exit of Oli. With Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba taking over, Kathmandu's foreign policy has become more pragmatic.
The results of the local elections, in which the Nepali Congress emerged as the biggest gainer, will also influence trends for the general elections.
Nepal's growing ties with India
Meanwhile, foreign policy watchers said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent visit to Lumbini on the occasion of Buddha Purnima was a "sentiment booster," and despite Deuba invoking the contentious issue of Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh, and Kalapani, India-Nepal ties are on the mend.
"The Nepal government is ready to defend its territories. The areas of Limpiyadhura and Lipulekh and Kalapani are Nepali and the government has a firm understanding of them. Issue of the border is sensitive and we understand that this can be resolved through dialogue and talks through diplomatic channels," Deuba said last week during his address to the parliament.
Analysts however said that both countries are now working towards resolving the border issues.
"The most important aspect of this relationship must centre on people to people relations and the galvanising effect this has on state to state relations," Bhaskar Koirala, Director of the Nepal Institute of International and Strategic Studies, told India Narrative earlier. "A modus operandi must be defined and then it is important to adhere to it," he said.
Koirala pointed out that Modi's presence in Lumbini on the occasion of Buddha Purnima reflected a larger picture.
"By being present in Lumbini on the occasion of Buddha Purnima, PM Modi has acknowledged to not just a Nepalese audience but globally as well, that the birthplace of the Buddha was indeed Nepal. This is very important for Nepalese sentiment and should have positive spin off for the larger bilateral relationship," he said.
Navita Srikant, foreign policy expert, said that India-Nepal relations today are aligned in commitments and spirit. "It has emerged clearly that India will be guided by the interest of the people and mutual prosperity," she said.
Nepal gets US-led MCC grant
In February, the Deuba government approved a $500 million loan from the US-led Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a sign that the Americans were staging a comeback in Nepal. In April, a 25-member strong bipartisan Congressional delegation from the US also visited Nepal.
Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi's visit to Nepal in March was aimed at balancing power equations amid Kathmandu's not-so subtle shift in policy towards Washington but it failed to create any buzz.
A host of agreements between Nepal and China have been signed but those were more customary in nature.
Beijing's nudge to Nepal over acceptance of the US aid has further irked Kathmandu.
"The recent developments of growing US influence in Nepal is an area of concern for China. Where Nepal stands today, her economic growth necessitates her neutrality and the need to grow with the basket of multiple choices. Therefore China may not succeed with much political influence but will seek a share in economic investments in the country," Srikant said.
However, a word of caution: Though China's influence may be waning in Nepal, India needs to remain vigilant, consolidate its gains and share the fruits of prosperity with its civilisational neighbour.
When Khalistan flags were found fastened at the entrance of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly complex in Dharamshala earlier in May, the state police promptly sealed the borders and beefed up security. The Police were quick to book Canada-based Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) chief Gurpatwant Singh Pannun under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, essentially an anti-terror law. SFJ is a proscribed outfit that with its strong virtual influence, is known for radicalising people, raking up bygone sentiments and reviving the movement for Khalistan.
Shortly after this episode, a Pakistan-crafted rocket-propelled grenade attack was made at the Punjab Police Intelligence headquarters in Mohali. A security alarm was sure to go off in the wake of these events, and more that followed.
A common understanding is that these occurrences gravely point to the efforts of pro-Khalistan elements to provoke disturbance and unrest in India, thereby creating a concern for India's security. But, "There's broader governance and political thinking," said A.S.Dulat, former Chief of both Intelligence Bureau and Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), while in conversation with IANS; "There is no security solution to everything," he says.
Dulat recounts that "There wasn't too much Khalistan even when Punjab was disturbed in the early 1980s, and remains so after Blue Star. This is only a fringe element-those who believed in Khalistan," he asserts, reiterating that "Security doesn't have all the answers."
As far as the den of the Khalistan movement goes, the state of Punjab is the epicentre of the possibility of this revived threat. But to what extent is this a genuine threat? Dulat says that "Punjab is a sensitive state and it needs to be handled sensitively. You can't take Punjab for granted," emphasising the importance of the border state, "Khalistan is not what worries me, but you can't run Punjab from Delhi."
It came as a shock when popular Punjabi singer and Congress leader, Sidhu Moosewala was shot dead recently, just a day after his security cover was withdrawn. After his murder was acknowledged as an outcome of local inter-gang rivalry, Canada-based SFJ chief Pannun issued a threat letter at Punjabi singers telling them to support the Khalistan movement. The letter read: "Death is imminent" and that it is time to support the "Khalistan Referendum" for the liberation of Punjab from India.
Pro-Khalistan elements operating in Canada are no secret. The "local" Punjabi gangs have their bases in Canada primarily and such is the reach of their inter-gang rivalries. The criminal gang members have dozens and scores of cases against them in India while they reside in Canada and elsewhere abroad.
The gangs are organised and networked overseas with terrorist intentions to threaten and exhort money from businessmen based in Punjab. Larger groups like Khalistan Liberation Force and Khalistan Tiger Force are also known to have carried out targeted killings and contributed to communal unrest in Punjab. Anti-India sentiments are known to be harboured in Canada and Khalistani groups such as SFJ contribute significantly to stoke the revival of pro-Khalistan sentiments.
For a movement that petered out in the 1980s and almost became a thing of the past, one might question the purpose of raking up Khalistan in present times. Might the splinter of Khalistan have any bearing on the larger canvas of nationalism?
A retired IPS officer who has served in various policing functions including counter-insurgency and security matters in different capacities, on condition of anonymity, told IANS that "Promoting a perception of rising pro-Khalistanti sentiment is seen as a way, by some political parties opposed to AAP, to accuse that party of ineptitude in maintaining law and order and in ensuring the security and integrity of a border state like Punjab. Whether it is capable in this regard or not is a matter yet to be seen."
Going beyond the local political dimension, he explains further that Pakistan "Obviously sees this as a situation that its ISI can exploit to its advantage, and there is no doubt that it will use every resource at its disposal to fish in troubled waters and create problems for India."
On December 23, 2021, a bomb explosion at a Ludhiana court claimed one life and injured six. Investigation revealed that this attack was planned and executed at the behest of ISI. Deployment of local gangsters as an instrument to perpetrate disturbance in Indian territory, and particularly in Punjab, is a tactic that cannot be ignored.
"Pakistan has always used every opportunity to harm India's interests. Hence it is a given that it will encourage and exploit any pro-Khalistanti sentiment, however nascent, and use all covert and overt means to stoke it," said the retired officer.
Pakistan has a square state policy to "bleed India with a thousand cuts", but despite its economic struggles at the moment and its preoccupation with Kashmir, the possibility of its greater involvement in stoking anti-India sentiments by way of Khalistan cannot be ruled out.
However, given that Pakistan is more than capable of disturbing India by means of terror funding or terror tactics or outright acts of terror, it is unlikely to create a Kashmir-like situation in Punjab. This is because of a very crucial difference between this two regions-the faith of people in the Indian system which is conspicuously absent in Kashmir.
Although there are attempts to radicalise the youth from both these regions, the new generation Sikhs in the 1980s were disillusioned with the notion of a separate Khalistan state and moved on from this dangerous political fantasy in time; but in Kashmir, the radicalisation of youth is far more deeply rooted and disenchantment for them seems still a long way away.
There is also a possibility of China contributing to the fomentation of Khalistan-like trouble to keep India engaged with internal unrest so as to divert its focus from other crucial concerns like the northern frontier and even the new ventures in the Indo-Pacific.
However, in the light of Moosewala's assassination and connecting the dots to furthering the militant cause of Khalistan and deploying local gangsters in this regard, Dulat says that it is a "wake-up call". Denying outrightly that the so-called Khalistan movement has any political value, he says that "it has a nuisance value, and if you don't understand Punjab, then this nuisance could become a bigger nuisance."
Encouraged by the ITC's large-scale afforestation initiative, Classmate, the company's leading stationery brand, has taken up a local tree plantation initiative in Chennai along with students on the occasion of World Environment Day.
Over the past two decades, ITC Limited has been supporting a sustainable and inclusive forestry value chain for its Paperboards and Specialty Paper Business, contributing to carbon sequestration by creating a large green cover, whilst supporting large-scale livelihoods for tribals and marginal farmers.
The business has adopted an indigenous fibre-sourcing strategy by supporting the growth of renewable plantations, thus contributing to import substitution. ITC's large-scale afforestation programme has greened over 9,50,000 acres of land and provided over 170-million-person days of sustainable livelihood to farmers to date in India.
The efforts made by ITC to promote responsible sourcing and sustainable plantations have led to the Forest Stewardship Council certification as well as membership of WWF-Global Forest and Trade Network.
ITC Classmate's small but significant afforestation drive involving school students aims to complement the efforts of volunteers combating climate change at a local level. It has partnered with the Environmentalist Foundation of India, who have been invited by the Chengalpet district administration to create a forest patch at Vengadamangalam which is a fast-growing residential suburban pocket of Chennai and is witnessing contamination of land, water, and air with a profound shift in land use, growth, and ecology at large.
It is developing this project as an urban forest as part of a collaboration between the government, industry, students, and civic society. The objective of this afforestation project is also to motivate school students fully understand the importance of environmental positive actions and develop eco-consciousness.
To ensure that, ITC Classmate has planned a dedicated orientation program in 24 schools in the city from June 10 to July 31. The program aims to enhance their understanding of nuances of resource utilization, biodiversity preservation, and sustainability.
After attending the orientation program, students are expected to volunteer at the afforestation site in Vengadamangalam and get involved in post-plant maintenance like plant watering, manuring, nourishment, etc.
Speaking about the initiative, Vikas Gupta, Chief Executive, Education and stationery Products Business Division, ITC Ltd., said: "Climate change is today impacting us in myriad ways. Going forward, the young generation will have to play a significant role in environmental conservation. At ITC, responsible capitalism is an abiding strategy that focuses on extreme competitiveness but in a manner that replenishes the environment and supports sustainable livelihood. As part of this ethos, we, at ITC Classmate, have taken it upon ourselves to enhance understanding of the youth about the afforestation and take actions that would support their hope and trust in active actions for the future. We are endeavouring to embed awareness, know-how & capability amongst students on how they can foster sustainability in their daily way of life."
The Vengadamangalam panchayat dedicated the land parcel for the development of an urban forest with an aim to mitigate issues related to pollution and recreate lost habitats by encouraging biodiversity. ITC Classmate, through its NGO partner Environmentalist Foundation of India (E.F.I), cleaned this land parcel of any non-degradable trash and invasive plants, completed trench work, and created nourishment beds. It planted 1350 saplings of native plants in addition to planting berry-bearing, nectar-bearing, and fruit-bearing varieties on the entire plot besides fencing it with a dedicated water source for the growth of the saplings.