"Character is as important as competence. This is something that we do not teach our children."
Reminiscing his days as the founder-director of IIM-Bangalore, Professor NS Ramaswamy, a multi-dimensional person who combines in him pragmatism at the materialistic level and philosophy at the spiritual level, points out that development of the country in the next 15 years could be transformational.
A crusader for animal welfare and environmental protection, Ramaswamy inculcated ethics and values into various professions, managements and life at home.
Known as the Bhishmacharya of the management movement in India, he brought new dimensions to management as a Professor of Management in the Bombay University and founder-director of IIM-Bangalore. He was the first to take management science to sectors other than business.
In recognition of the outstanding and pioneering concepts and campaigns during 50 years of his public life, the government has honoured him with the Padma Bhushan.
In an interview to HindustanTimes.com, Ramaswamy explains some of his missions and future endeavours:
Apart from taking management science to sectors other than business, what other campaigns have you undertaken?
I have helped in taking management science to sectors such as transport, power, communications, government systems, rural development, education, health, non-organised sector.
I've also conducted HRD programmes for municipal employees in Mumbai and Bangalore in order to improve their productivity and service consciousness.
Popularly known as Cartman, what steps are you taking to reduce stress on animals used for work?
About 150 million animals are being slaughtered in the most gruesome ways, involving enormous wastage and unimaginable suffering.
I've been vigorously campaigning for the improvement of bullock carts and slaughter systems in order to increase productivity and to reduce animal suffering.
We are also working towards improving transportation and handling methods of animals meant to be slaughtered, providing water facilities, and screening of animals.
Which programmes are you conducting for the lower strata employees? Throw some more light on your other pioneering contributions.
Though a vegetarian, I've prepared reports on modernisation of the meat sector that will eliminate pollution, wastage and animal suffering.
I have recently proposed the idea of establishing rural based slaughter houses that will increase rural employment.
I have also made some contribution towards increase in productivity of rural development and agriculture through application of appropriate technology in rural activities.
It is generally believed that such causes are undertaken to gain publicity. How far is this true in your case?
The world today treats vegetarianism as the in-thing. But though a vegetarian myself, I find nothing wrong in eating non-vegetarian food. Only the right procedures should be followed.
And as far as gaining publicity is concerned, I took up the cause of environmental safety long before Maneka Gandhi.
After being awarded the Padma Bhushan, do you feel burdened with responsibilities?
Not really. In fact, I would rather say that Padma Bhushan got prestige because Ramaswamy accepted it. The award only raised my acceptability when I was not known. It comes nowhere in my way of handling responsibilities.
What is your message for India as the pioneer of management?
India is a country with ancient thoughts and wisdom. The West has achieved outstanding success on the materialistic plane.
But India has mainly concentrated on the study of the world within. If the knowledge of the West and India can be pooled and introduced into the educational and training programmes, a new generation of youth and leaders in all fields would make this place beautiful and peaceful.