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Sunday, October 4, 1998
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Oh, where is Indian administrative culture?
Contemporary Administrative Culture of India edited by T.N. Chaturvedi. Indian Institute of Public Administration, Delhi. Pp. 370. Rs 400.

A melancholy but life-long prankster
Kishore Kumar — The Definitive Biography by Kishore Valicha. Viking, New Delhi. Pp. 300. Rs 295.

Banish the thought...and desire
Living by J. Krishnamurti by O.P. Ranchan. India Publisher Distributors, Delhi. Pp. 247. Rs 375.
Pakistan: a push-over’s borrowed strength
Pakistan: India’s BÍte Noire (A critical analysis of Pakistan’s Capability and Intentions) Pp. 272.

Afghanistan Research Papers. Pp 81.

The Third Rate Citizens (A study of the reasons why there are no takers for the Armed Forces as a career). Pp 151.

All three books by Thakur Kuldip S Ludra, Strategic Research Centre, Chandigarh. Published privately by, and available from, the author.

Engineer-manager interface
Management of Systems by R. Nauhria and R. Prakash. Dhaupat Rai and Company, Delhi. Pp. 772. Rs 150.

50 years on indian independence 50 years on indian independence 50 years on indian independence
50 years on indian independence

Oh, where is Indian administrative culture?

Contemporary Administrative Culture of India edited by T.N. Chaturvedi. Indian Institute of Public Administration, Delhi. Pp. 370. Rs 400.

ONE approaches this volume of 29 essays with some expectations as these are collected and edited by a highly articulate, senior and successful administrator who is a former Home Secretary and Comptroller and Auditor-General of India and now a BJP member of the Rajya Sabha, and the collection is published by the leading institute of research and training in the field of public administration. The editor, though summarising the essays in his preface, prefers not to disclose the reasons behind his choice or the scheme, or in placing them in the order he has. He also does not clarify his understanding of “administrative culture”. One has, therefore, to plod through the whole book without the benefit of a framework. This one does in the expectation of some benefit in view of the weight of authority behind the publication.

In terms of a thematic review essays by Dror, Guy Peters, Kapur, Sharma, Thomas and Golembiewski together provide comparative theory and the process of change in India, Britain and America. Sharma’s analysis is impressionistic based on experienced conduct — perceptive but limited. He distinguishes between the “sahib culture” of the superiors and the “babu culture” of the subordinates to profile the incumbents but does not locate the culture of organisation.

Very good and short studies by Thomas and Golembiewski provide an insight into the basic difference between the UK and the USA — namely, fusion and separation of policy-making and executive functions. In these countries the change is towards evenness of the organisation and the shift is towards cooperative, participatory, and result-oriented group culture on the corporate model. No essay in the collection explores this possibility in the Indian context. The family-controlled private sector is more feudal in its approach here.

All contributors broadly agree that culture means a set of values that permeate an organisation in the choice of rational alternatives. The organisation values them and orients its new members to follow them. They are contextual to social values, and the behaviour of accepted leaders can cause a change.

The essays by Dwivedi, Sadasivan, Guha Roy, Subramanian, Sarkar, Ray and Mukhejee can be grouped to define the ideal administrative culture or to lament the loss of it, a favourite subject of Indian authors. Dwivedi’s ideal is the righteousness and dharma of “Shantiparva” of the Mahabharata. It is convenient, however, to ignore that “Shantiparva” defined dharma as the duty to enforce “varna” to discriminate in favour of the Brahmin and to wage war to extend the frontiers of the kingly domain. Sadasivan is sold on the intellectual power of British officers, and the decay of the Indian administration is attributed to the loss of this virtue. Not many of the present administrators will agree with it though.

Guha Roy condemns the culture of secretiveness. One has, however, to remember that this is accepted as a desirable virtue by a few. Others just follow the legislative compulsion. This is an issue on which, in spite of a political consensus in favour of openness, nobody has the time to amend the law. Other essays in the group bemoan the loss of spine in administrators. Survival and self-aggrandisement are located as cultural traits, which one must get rid of. The latter, however, is not a virtue that is internalised by the administrative structure as a value.

Three essays on the police and one each on the judiciary and financial controllers deal with subcultures. Handa feels that a major problem is over-centralisation and distrust of departments, breeding, in turn, an irresponsible financial attitude in the departments. He does not talk of total unconcern with time and money costs, good project planning and search for alternative technologies, least cost fund sourcing, and strict economic justification of the objectives. It is the feudal disdain towards money-earning that leads to exploitative dependence on budgetary sources to meet fancy objectives where productivity is dismal.Top

The catalogue of complaints against the police is detailed but emphasis on cultural values is missing. As regards the criminal administration, talk to any accused and he asserts his faith in the system of justice: be it Sukh Ram of telecom, Sushil Sharma of tandoor murder fame or Ansal of Uphaar Cinema. And the victim?

The social context is located in religion, caste and family by Hargopal and Prasad. Deification of authority, hierarchical justice according to varna, dominance of the search for the salvation for the self and indifference towards social justice and loyalty to family and caste at the cost of the rest of society are the determining influences.

The administration is, therefore, feudal and unable to meet the modern challenges. The authors do no refer to the satiating theory of karma. Islamic and colonial influences have escaped their attention. Jain and Dwivedi briefly comment on the colonial influence.

Belief in the binding force of regulations, secretiveness and authoritarianism are rated by most of the experts as important cultural traits. It is recognised that command economy has contributed to rampant corruption. Here also the authors rarely try to locate the values internalised by the organisations and in which they take pride or like to pass on to new members.

Does it mean that the administration in India is not inspired by any cultural values? Is it all hypocrisy?

People are nostalgic in India about the colonial regulatory administration. “A lone jewel-laden woman can travel from Peshawar to Calcutta without any fear” was the proud colonial refrain. What was the administrative culture behind it? Some Victorian values?

One, it was the “mai baap” attitude. The empire must be the guardian. A benevolent feudalism. No “un-British” conduct.

Two, it must be free “from pecuniary corruption”, “collector” being the symbol. Vigil weakened as the distance from the collector increased.

Three, “enforce the rule, remove chaos”. This required locating the rule, codifying it and enforcing it. It was to be minimal, user friendly, just ensuring safety of life and property and freedom of commerce and trade. This led to a number of studies of Indian institutions. “Stability and growth of agriculture” was essential to revenue as also peace and stability.

Four, “sanctity of command” even over the law. The police uniform was a symbol of the empire, its insult being intolerable.

Five, “judiciary as a symbol of fair adjudication”, satisfied and aloof, aware of the difficulties of the police but still providing an independent check as another wing of the empire but not in conflict with it.

Six, “mysterious and exclusive” due to the small population of the rulers.

Seven, “build a friendly class” with similar education, manners, interests and professional approach. This required a very friendly approach to education on the western pattern.

Eight, ensure the subordinates’ loyalty to the empire.

We can keep on adding to the list. These values served the empire well.

The empire ended. A friendly class took over. It was commitment to democracy and a large agenda of development fitting well in the post-war world effort. Old values became redundant. But the same administrative instrument was sought to be used for the new theme. Only the rhetoric of a change in values was added.

In the initial phase when people were willing to contribute their savings to the state without expecting an immediate quid pro quo, when the administration was only copying the design of development already worked out in Britain, when people trusting their leaders waited to assume power themselves, when educated youth had a future in the expanding bureaucracy, the rhetoric held and the decay was slow. Thereafter it collapsed totally. It is largely the social culture of this ancient land that still enables a woman to go to the market to purchase her vegetables. We are virtually without a relevant administrative culture today. This is well reflected in the volume under review.

We can do better with better intellectual effort. It requires a change in the design of administrative institutions and structures along with the redesigning of political and economic institutions that are more suited to our social objectives.

— G. V. Gupta



A melancholy but life-long prankster

Kishore Kumar — The Definitive Biography by Kishore Valicha. Viking, New Delhi. Pp. 300. Rs 295.

THE sign on the gate reads, “Beware of Kishore Kumar”. Quite so, and anyone trying to enter the bizarre world of Kishore Kumar does so at his own risk. But once you take the risk, it can be really rewarding, for Kishore Kumar, whether you like him or not, was undoubtedly one of the most colourful personalities of the Hindi film world. He gave four decades of his life to films, and ruled the world of film music for the last 20 years or so of his life. And yet what do we know about him other than the few weird stories circulated by the media?

Even a decade after his death, we hardly have any books on Kishore Kumar. Diana died only a year ago, and look at the flood of books on and about her. Go to any book store, and you find dozens of books on Elvis, the Beatles, Madonna and other stars. If, however, you want a book on our own stars like Kishore, Lata or Rafi, you will hardly find any. Of course you might come across plenty of badly produced song books at railway stations.

In such a state of affairs, Kishore Valicha’s “Kishore Kumar — The Definitive Biography” is more than welcome. The author has a Ph.D. in film studies and is on the panel of the Central Board for Film Certification. After writing a biography on Ashok Kumar, he now turns his attention to Kishore.

Valicha begins with some interesting stories relating to Kishore’s childhood. Kishore was poor at studies. In order to memorise the Malthusian theory, he had to set it to music. He was once asked to sing on stage. After much persuasion he agreed to sing behind the curtain (his role in “Padosan” comes to our mind). “He was so nervous that he began on a high note and was compelled to drag the tune higher and higher. Before the song was over, somebody drew the curtain and suddenly he stood facing the audience with nothing to shelter him.”

Kishore was very dear to his parents and brothers. Ashok Kumar, who was 20 years older, was very fond of his little brother. Anup Kumar, only five years older, was more like a friend. Kishore’s initial struggle, his four marriages, his eccentricities, and his unbelievable success as a playback singer after the release of “Aradhana” are dealt with in detail.

His encounters with the income tax department, and his financial dealings with film producers make interesting reading. When producer R.C. Talwar did not pay Kishore his dues in spite of repeated reminders, Kishore turned up at Talwar’s residence one morning and began to shout at the top of his voice, “He Talwar, de de mere aath hazaar”. He did this every morning for a few days. Talwar finally made the payment.

During recordings, Kishore would begin singing only after receiving the green signal from his secretary. The signal meant that the producer had made the payment. On one occasion Kishore waited for the signal and looked at his secretary again and again. Finally he approached the secretary and asked what the matter was. The secretary replied, “But this is your own film”.

Although Valicha has packed his book with interesting anecdotes, he has failed to weave them in an organised and coherent way. He narrates the incidents one after the other in a drab style. “The Gangolys had four children. The eldest born on 13 October, 1911, was almost 20 years older... . His name was Ashok Kumar. He was followed by a daughter... . Her name was Sati Devi.”

And there are far too many digressions. At times the author goes on and on about the contribution of singers like Saigal, Pankaj Mullick, Rafi, Lata, Asha, Mukesh, etc.; at other times he tries to evaluate the growth of comedy in Hindi films. He elaborates on Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Guru Dutt and other luminaries.Top

We are informed about the instruments various music directors used to create music. He goes further, “The music for the Prabhat emblem, incidentally, uses the sound of the clarinet. It is raga Bhopali, played on a high-pitched clarinet in E flat.” Interesting though the facts might be, they do tend to irritate you after a while, as they have nothing much to do with the subject as such.

The book reads like a long piece written by an overzealous fan. No doubt Kishore was a genius who could move the listeners with his emotion-laden voice, but the author’s statement that Lata and Rafi sang without any emotion is a bit hard to swallow. “Listening to Lata Mangeshkar or Mohammed Rafi, one had the feeling of listening to a voice uninvolved with the emotion the lyric is meant to convey. The singing was technically brilliant but detached, even impersonal. There seemed no real fun, no joy in the singing.”

Valicha gets some well known facts wrong “Chhode do anchal” was not from “Chalti ka naam gaadi” but “Paying guest”, Lata Mangeshkar did not accompany Kishore in the songs “Ankhon mein kya ji”, “Chhode do anchal”, and “C-A-T cat....” but Asha Bhonsle; Shakeel Badayuni did not pen “Jeevan se bhari teri aankhen”, but Indivar; the song “Geet gaata hoon mein” was written by Dev Kohli, not Dev Chhaya. Such mistakes, however small they might be, make you look at the rest of the book with suspicion.

The narrative is marred by bad prose. The song “Ek chatur naar” is described as “a great engineering feat...”. About the rendering of “Koi humdum na raha” he writes, “Balancing precariously an ambience garnished with soft romance and a sense of a fragile sadness, Kishore Kumar uses some exquisitely elongated taans to add strength and magnitude to the mood of tender yearning.” Saigal’s death is described as “an enormous event”. Marrying Madhubala “was an outstanding thing to do”. Elsewhere he writes, “In fact, Kishore Kumar’s body language is, quite invariably, a marvel to behold.”

And one wonders what he means when he writes, “He (Kishore) felt aroused once again and the germ of an idea entered his mind”. About the success of “Chalti ka naam gaadi” he says, “It ran and ran. Each release seemed to bring on a fresh and virgin audience”. This book could have been a lot more fun to read if the publishers had hired a good editor.

Clearly, Valicha didn’t take the sign on Kishore’s gate seriously before entering his weird, kaleidoscopic world. The setbacks and humiliation that Kishore suffered in his life left deep scars on his psyche, made him sad and melancholic. At the same time, the child and the prankster in him refused to die. This is what confused his friends and fans who were used to simple black and white characters that are portrayed in Hindi films. Kishore had various shades of grey in him, and this made him an extremely complex character.

The author deserves praise for undertaking a project that has so far been left untouched. But definitely, there can never be definitive biography about Kishore Kumar. He will remain an enigma for ever.

— Kuldip Dhiman



Pakistan: a push-over’s borrowed strength

Pakistan: India’s BÍte Noire (A critical analysis of Pakistan’s Capability and Intentions) Pp. 272.

Afghanistan Research Papers. Pp 81.

The Third Rate Citizens (A study of the reasons why there are no takers for the Armed Forces as a career). Pp 151.

All three books by Thakur Kuldip S Ludra, Strategic Research Centre, Chandigarh. Published privately by, and available from, the author.

LT COL Ludra (retd) is perhaps one of the few Indian thinker-writers who is comfortable with the discussion of India’s geo-politico-strategic issues. His research is sound, narration simple and effective and conclusion arresting. He had already demonstrated his skill in his earlier book, “Understanding War: Its Effects and Implications”.

In the first book on Pakistan he deals with the threat posed by Pakistan which he says is not dangerous in itself but only because it is a proxy for the USA and China. He traces the developments since Independence and shows how India has always come out second best in spite of the advantages gained for it by the army.

Since 1972 till date successive Prime Ministers have left the initiative mostly to Pakistan on bilateral issues. This is a clear reflection on the lack of strategic thinking in the Indian Government and the absence of a mechanism for national security decision-making. The author feels that the creation of Bangladesh was a massive blunder in terms of geo-politics as India now had two independent and virtually antagonistic neighbours, instead of one imploding nation, militarily weakened by geographical imperatives.

In all this the role of the USA is crucial. The US Republican Research Committee on “Terrorism & Unconventional Warfare” report indicts the Pakistan ISI for aiding, sponsoring and abetting terrorism in the north-eastern states of India. Even other Muslim countries have started complaining of Pakistan training militants, and this accusation has also been levelled by Russia in connection with the fighting in Chechnya.

Ludra highlights the role of madrassas in India. There are about 100 in Rajasthan alone. The teaching here is strictly fundamentalist and does not prepare the students for the modern world and are thus fertile ground for criminal activities.

Pakistan has employed bluff to fool India. The only way to call the bluff was to go in for the nuclear option, leaving the response to Pakistan. The author stresses the need to look at the inherent weaknesses of Pakistan as it has not been able to absorb the Mohajirs nor make its provinces stable.

The author also deals with various scenarios of operations against India, including the nuclear option. In this he is surprisingly a bit diffident. The moot point is whether India has the military and mental capabilities and resilience to undertake the type of responses the author envisages. He paints the worst scenario that has to be the basis of any planning.

A good book, of value to students of international affairs and our political and military leaders.Top

The book on Afghanistan traces the current turmoil from the coup by Mohammad Doud against King Zahir Shah. Soon the communist- inclined leaders took over from him and the then Soviet Union saw in it an opportunity to go for a warm water port through Baluchistan. The USSR entered Afghanistan with full force but, for some reason, did not dominate the area south of Kabul effectively, thus giving the opportunity to Pakistan to train, equip and even lead the Taliban which could not have functioned without the active support in all forms from Pakistan. It is also felt that Saudi Arabia is giving financial help to the fundamentalist fighters. The USA could not let Afghanistan fall under the Soviet influence and hence started actively supporting the Afghan resistance fighters through Pakistan.

Afghanistan’s importance lies mainly in its common borders with China, Pakistan, Russia and Iran. With access to the newly independent (from Russian rule) Central Asian Republics blocked through Russia, Iran and China, Afghanistan assumes great importance for the USA in giving three routes of access. Further, in case of tension or hostilities around Afghanistan, control of this country gives access to its neighbours

For India the main interests lies in tapping the business potential of the Central Asian Republics and also in containing the influence of Pakistan. The author considers the various options open to India in furthering these interests and comes to the conclusion that it would be better to come to some understanding with the USA.

The two books discussed above should be of interest and profit to students of international affairs.

The last book, “The Third Rate Citizens” will be of interest particularly to serving Army personnel as it provides strong evidence of how the armed forces have been given short shrift by the government, which really means the bureaucrats, and what subterfuges have been used to hoodwink the officers and the other rank. At the same time it should interest the government/bureaucrats as it shows that their sleight of hand has been uncovered.

The author does not spare the armed forces either for the lapses of their internal functioning and permitting the government to divide them over matters of the “P factor” (pay, perks and prestige/status). The author has carried out a detailed examination of the question since the beginning and highlights the recurrent mischief which the armed forces top brass was privy to or failed to understand.

The author quotes official figures of shortages in the armed forces in various categories of personnel. He also gives a breakdown of the background of the officer material coming into the armed forces, showing that 50 per cent of them are sons of JCOs and 30 per cent being sons of autorickshaw drivers and such, with only 5 per cent being sons of retired officers. He regrets that boys from better family background do not come forward. This, however, is perfectly normal in a democracy with built-in upward mobility.

There is nothing wrong with the material coming in but there is certainly a great lacuna in the armed forces not changing their teaching methods to inculcate the required values (if the armed forces really know what these should pragmatically be) and, far more importantly, their senior officers not setting the right examples of the behaviour required. The junior officers are but the reflection of the top brass.

This is also the reason for the ever-increasing number of middle rung officers wanting to opt out of service. It has to be accepted by the services that the inherent conditions of service are so much constricted and the opportunities outside so much greater, that the so-called better types will not come forward no matter what the pay and perks. Those coming forward have to be trained in the required values.

The author also mentions that there is a distinct credibility gap between the unit level officers and the top brass. With the same young officer becoming the top brass how does this happen? A point to be pondered over by the top brass.

The author seems to give more credit for long-term thinking to the government/bureaucrats than it is deserved when he gives the impression that the turmoil in Nagaland, Punjab and use of the forces in Sri Lanka and J&K were designed to tarnish the image of the forces and create a rift between the Army and the general public. This is rather far fetched. The situations were no doubt allowed to get out of hand but surely not with the aim of deploying the Army, though the politician knows that this service is there to pull his chestnuts out of the fire. The use of the Army, especially over a prolonged period, does create conditions of frustration, fatigue, tension and allied behaviour problems within the Army. The Army is accused of human rights violations but no thought is given to such violations against them. While the government is generally prompt and liberal in giving grants in cases of death in rail accident, fire in a cinema hall, etc., the death of Army personnel is treated as normal and what the Army personnel is paid is far less than what the civilian counterparts get.

Ludra traces the progression of the armed forces pay from the inception, highlighting where it was done down by every Pay Commission in spite of pious words to the contrary. A factor never taken into account is that the armed forces had ten levels of officers while the other services had only four to six and this created major imbalances. The post-war committee gave the armed forces an increment of Rs 50 every second year while the IAS got Rs 40 thus equating the armed forces rank below captain to Class II civilian officers.

The second Pay Commission ignored the forces but the Rughuramaiah Committee treated the forces equal to the Indian police where there were only four officer ranks against the ten in the armed forces. The next Pay Commission delinked the pay scales of the armed forces and civilian services on the plea that military life was unique and then proceeded to make the pay of the armed forces the lowest. There were rumblings against the two Commissions which were overcome by giving ad hoc increases in the pay of the top brass. The fourth Pay Commission introduced a running pay band for officers but negated this by introducing the same pay for greater lengths of service at Major and Lt Colonel levels. The fifth Pay Commission has, just to cite one instance, abolished the rank of 2/Lt but recommended a starting salary of Rs 8,250 to a Lt. This appears to be more than an IAS entrant’s pay but does not stand closer scrutiny. If the rank of 2/Lt had been retained with the pay of Rs 8,000 per month, by the time he become a Lt the pay would have been Rs 8,900!

The fifth Pay Commission also introduced the assured career progression which again is a mockery. A jawan serves for a maximum of 17 years. He is entitled to the first such progression after 10 years and the second after 20 years — when he is no longer in service! This is a case of giving something on paper, which does not really mean anything. There are other such instances also.

The indepth study by the author, is very illuminating. He ends up with some suggestions. This study should be a must reading for all armed forces officers and bureaucrats.

— H. S. Sodhi



Banish the thought...and desire

Living by J. Krishnamurti by O.P. Ranchan. India Publisher Distributors, Delhi. Pp. 247. Rs 375.

LET us understand how love leads to inner freedom, as suggested by Krishnamurti. First, love should be such in which there is no reaction, which implies no demand to be loved. In this way, no dependence on the other is cultivated. When one is not dependent on the other one is free. So love can lead to inner freedom. Such was Krishnamurti’s analysis and presentation of human problems.

Take another example, his analysis of desire. Perception causes a sensory response; then thought intervenes — “I wish” — and thus desire is generated. It is not caused by an object of desire and will persist with varying objects as long as thought interferes. Thus freedom from desire cannot be achieved by suppressing or avoiding sensory experience. The only way to be free from desire, he said, is to be free from thought.

Krishnamurti was undoubtedly one of the most original perceivers of human situation and problems in this century. In what sense are his teachings different from the ancient eastern philosophy? He advocates the need for freedom from thought, yet one may be left with the impression that he does not indicate “how” to achieve that freedom.

Although his basic idea of choiceless awareness as a prerequisite to understanding and freedom is the same, Krishnamurti does not subscribe to any ritual, methodology, authority of either scriptures or a guru. A following breeds evil and dullness of mind, he said. That is why he urged his listeners not to respect straightaway the authority of the speaker (himself), but rather treat him on the same footing as themselves.

In this way, he encouraged the listener to go into his problem. Simultaneously, “Truth is a pathless land.... my goal is to set man absolutely free, unconditionally.”

He strove to let man realise the state of freedom by itself as an intrinsic quality and not as a reaction to an escape from something. It is ironical however that there are millions of Krishnamurti followers the world over. It appears to be very difficult to grow without support.

Although, the title of the present book may suggest that it is autobiographical in nature, it is not so. Krishnamurti with his highly analytical and logical approach to problems, may sound incomprehensible to many. This book which elaborates on his speeches may be useful in that context.

The present book expatiates on many related problems of human existence, which Krishnamurti discussed. He went to the extent of saying that if we solve any one real problem of our life, all the rest will fall in place. Because all problems are interrelated. They are not to be solved in the sense of a mathematical question or puzzle. It is this interrelatedness that we are not aware of. We keep on trying hard to set right a small part of our psyche, without realising its embedding in our total consciousness. Growing in awareness implies beginning to see the totality of things.

Thus one may justify the selective use of topics in the book such as awareness, ideal versus actual, peace, authority and suffering, leaving aside a direct discussion on beauty, its relation to truth, problem of time, meditation and energy, learning, dreams, tradition, etc.

Krishnamurti talked a lot on education and the learning process. His book “This Matter of Culture” is addressed to young students. The author, an academician, should have devoted more space to the problem of education. There are schools which have adopted Krishnamurti’s approach towards handling the young ones. The author, being a devoted student of Krishnamurti, must have tried to implement these ideas in the education system.Top

The real challenge appears to be where one has to strike a balance between authority and absolute freedom. One has to nurture the child’s creativity and curiosity also. A realistic account of the problem faced in the implementation process in personal as well as public life would have been more instructive and would have better justified the title of the book.

Off and on, comparisons with the sayings of other luminaries like D.H. Lawrence, Aldous Huxley, Carl Jung and Sri Aurobindo are made. Huxley was much inspired by the writings of Krishnamurti and in his later years turned towards mysticism. The author also clarifies the similarity between the Gestalt therapy and the mode of self-awareness in problem solving.

Two chapters have been devoted to the question of peace. This problem and its mirror image, violence, have to be addressed at the individual as well as global level. For Krishnamurti, the inner and the outer were the same movement. We personally may have occasional glimpses of peace, but the real question is how to make it enduring in ourselves as well as outside.

All in all, at a time when we are facing a crisis of perception, the way pointed by Krishnamurti could be all that we need. The important thing is not how much progress we individually can make on this path, but how much farther we can walk together on this path. Because everything as well as our lives are interlinked.

Only a collectively emerging consciousness can help avert this global crisis. We need more men of understanding who have the faculty of holistic perception. The book at hand may be useful for the uninitiated.

— Ramandeep S. Johal



Engineer-manager interface

Management of Systems by R. Nauhria and R. Prakash. Dhaupat Rai and Company, Delhi. Pp. 772. Rs 150.

ECONOMIC development of a country depends on proper management of finances and the economic development of a society depends on the transformation of resources into products to meet popular needs and wants. The transformation is carried out through engineering and with the proper use of technology. All productivity processes require judicious management of resources. The engineering and management disciplines therefore need to be integrated to step up productivity.

In this volume the authors have highlighted the need for integration of management with the engineering discipline. Management of systems is taught in some universities under the theme of industrial organisation and management, production management, industrial engineering, industrial management and operations management.

The book covers engineering and management in great detail and can be described as an encyclopaedia on the subject.

Management has been an essential and distinct element of organisations — social, industrial, defence, political and religious. The authors rightly assert that it is management which converts disorganised resources of men, money, machines and material together with time and space, into vitally needed products.

The authors have given the management concept in a brief but effective manner: “Management is a social process involving coordination of human and material resources through the functions of planning, organising, staffing, directing and controlling in order to accomplish the stated objectives of an organisation effectively and efficiently.”

The book lays great emphasis on managerial skills like technical, human, conceptual, communication, analytical, decision-making, responsibility management and social skills. Values and ethics in business management have also been dealt with in great detail.Top

The description of modern management theories, especially McKinsey’s F-S and the Japanese management approach, are worth understanding for application in the Indian context. Most of the managers do not understand the Japanese management theory “Z” suggested by William Ouchi. It is mainly on inter-personal skills needed for group interaction to see workers as human beings and not factors in production. Theory “Z” is somewhat like the leftist theory on factory workers.

On international business, the authors have explained the functions of multinational corporations and their strategies, a subject which very few Indian authors have attempted.

The “systems” concepts have been very well explained by the authors. These elements are serial inputs, random inputs, feed-back inputs, outputs and the feed-back control all of which have been systematically explained in the volume. Even the sub-systems like purchase, production, quality control and marketing have been tackled well.

The authors have proved that through maintenance management, which is part of preventive maintenance, the life of plant and machinery can be prolonged manifold and early obsolescence can be avoided. All this leads to zero defects and zero breakdown, both very essential in a resource starved country like India.

In human resource management, the authors have laid sustained stress on motivation and morale of the workers and leadership skill. Trade unions and collective bargaining have acquired importance because exploitation of the workers needs to be curbed for better growth and productive management of the vast Indian human resource.

Management of information systems (MIS) in decision-making has acquired importance in the fast-growing world of information technology.

The book contains a large number of tables and figures. It is a useful volume for engineering and management students.

— P. K. Vasudeva


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