‘Business of Freedom –
an initiative for School of Indian Management’

Book compares 24 current Management Guru’s with 24 Freedom Fighters.

Genesis:

“There was a thought in my mind from a long time, as to why India missed out on Industrial Revolution, especially when India is a part of Information revolution and India was a part of Agriculture Revolution.”

Then; Mr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India gave a lecture at ISB Hyderabad on 5th December, 2006: “We probably do not have a critical mass of faculty, research and case studies to enable us to define what may be called an Indian approach to management. Management, like any discipline dealing with people, is more of an art than a science. There is quite understandably, a difference in approach to management philosophies and practices as developed in the US, Europe and Japan. Perhaps one can even talk of a Chinese model of management. Clearly there should be an Indian Model of management too. Even as we learn from the West and the East, we must try and evolve our own paradigm of management education based on our social and cultural attributes.”

When I read this excerpt coming from an illustrious teacher of international repute, it set me thinking. How is it possible that one of the oldest civilizations with hoary tradition of gathering and dissemination of knowledge and well evolved skills of imparting education could lack in indigenous management thoughts?

This further triggered the thought. And after going through the works from 1800 to 1950, I concluded that India missed out to a great extent on Industrial revolution because majority of the talent went into Independence movement. Some of the best slogans/ punch lines written almost a century back still ignite passion among we Indians e.g. Vande Mataram, Inquilab Zindabad, Swaraj is My Birth Right, Give Me Blood, I Will Give You Freedom etc. Some of the best organized events till date are; Dandi March, Bomb Explosion by Bhagat Singh in Assembly without killing anyone etc.

In short, the talent of the period opted for “Business of Freedom” rather than “Business of Profit”.

Result of this restless churning of thoughts was the book “Business of Freedom – an initiative for School of Indian Management”.

Birth of Book:

Initially, I wrote an article on managerial learning from leaders of independence movement. I sent the article to various newspapers, but none replied. I sent emails to nearly all the recognized management institutes offering to conduct free lectures on the above subject, again none replied. Then, I thought of writing a book, but it struck me that it might meet the same fate if I were to search for a publisher. Cost of printing the book on my own made this idea impractical. I had already spent a huge amount on books for research, for which, except for the honourable exception of Vijay Chauthaiwale, there was no help. Inspiration behind the appeal of Rs. 100/- from people came from the book, ‘The Story of the Vivekananda Rock Memorial’ by Shri Eknath Ranade. Vivekanand Rock Memorial was built by collecting money from various sources. The most important source being Rs.1/- , Rs 3/- or Rs.5/- collected from 3 million people. As I absorbed the significance of this idea, I got enchanted with it and thought of collecting Rs. 100/- each from 5000 people to print the book. In return, the individual contributor was to get a copy of the book as well as an acknowledgment. I discussed the idea with some friends and they put in their contribution immediately. I was stuck now! It was not possible for me to return the money and say that I had dropped the idea. I, then, designed an emailer started forwarding it to my friends, asking for Rs.100/-. I was surprised to receive even up to Rs.25,000/- from individuals whom I didn’t even know. Some from abroad asked their friends to give it to me on their behalf. All the money sent to me was purely on trust. This activity began on 1st of October ’07 and come March ’08, the book was in hand. As they say, ‘the world conspires to make you successful”. I have experienced this myself.

The book not only gives an opportunity to know one the freedom fighters but also gives a clear understanding of the political, socio-cultural, economical, scientific positioning of India during the freedom movement.

Preview:

In the books preview Mr. Kewal Handa MD, Pfizer & President All Indian Management Association writes “Sandeep has very creatively juxtaposed thoughts of freedom fighters with the thoughts of management gurus. He makes a strong case for India to have its own management thought syllabus and not to blindly apply the conclusion from another society and tying to a situation”.

Mr. Sanjay Hegde, ED, Price Water Coopers in his preview writes “Considering the heights and prosperity achieved by India in the earlier centuries, such qualities of our leaders should not come as a surprise to us. However, like most other aspects of our history, we have been made to believe first by the British Empire and then our own westernized leaders that everything which is good in today’s world necessarily has its origin in the west…Sandeep has successfully dispelled this view and has through his brilliant analysis brought before us as to how various leaders presented a vision to people and got their full hearted support in the pursuit of the journey to freedom.”

Foreword:

The Foreword is written by Prof. P D Jose of IIM Bangalore who says “It is challenging to write a book, it is even more challenging to look at an established discipline so successfully entrenched in western philosophy and match it against our own cultural and historical contexts. To do so in an impartial and academic manner is even more difficult. This book manages to meet these exacting requirements quite admirably. Even more interesting, this book is also the culmination of a very interesting experiment in what may be called as community publishing, an innovative experiment that can help create new business models of publishing.

While the reader may not agree with every interpretation made and conclusion drawn, this remains a serious work of scholarship that other researchers can pursue to further their own understanding of an Indian theory of management.”

Book Release:

Book was released on 19th April’08 by Mr. Deepak Ghaisas, Vice-Chairman i-flex solutions said that he was thrilled to know that a book could be sold before being written and 800 people could commit to buy 2000 copies. He congratulated Shri Sandeep Singh for taking a very difficult, rare and bold decision of resigning his job to write a book for the benefit of the society and not for personal profit.

Shri Deepak Ghaisas expressed the hope that by the hard work of the likes of Shri Sandeep Singh we will see an Indian System being followed the world over as we had seen the American System and Japanese System in the past. He felt we need to do it before China.” (video link can be provided)

Copy right:

The book's copy right is with people of India. Since freedom fighters belong to the whole country I couldn't have owned it

Lecture:

Lecture based on the book has been delivered on different platforms. The take away from the lecture besides knowing about the freedom fighters are:

  • Learning to differentiate between the Art and Science of Management
  • How to work as a team, especially on a long term projects, after all our freedom movement lasted almost 300 years, but the focus was never lost.
  • How people from different walks of life contribute to success of a project.

The lecture duration varies between 45 minutes to 1 hour followed by question hour.
The book can be downloaded free from www.indianoceanstrategy.com