Thursday, December 08, 2005
Its fascinating how the concept of The Argumentative Indian can be projected as a concept to other cultures and communities to adopt and embrace rather than for just Indians to read about. Try telling the Chinese !
Coming up, more on how Nobel prize winner Dr Amartya Sen did precisely that and kept a packed audience enthralled during a talk hosted by Harvard's Humanities Centre at the Sackler Musuem auditorium in Boston last night - the biting cold obviously not deterring his fans, including this writer.
Here is one Sen gem from his speech. What did social reformer Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1772-1883) say on the real terror of death. "Just think," he said, "When you die, others can go on speaking but try as you may, you cannot argue back."
Amartya Sen incidentally is no longer Master, Trinity College, London. Like most other people, presumably he found the calling at another organisation greater. Actually, he returned to his previous job, as Lamont University professor at Harvard University's Department of Economics, in January 2004.
I always wonder whether you can go up and ask a Nobel laureate, "What exactly made you quit your previous job ? Was it compensation or other issues ? What are the attrition levels like at Trinity ? Did the organisation have a balanced scorecard approach ? Now that you've returned, where do you see yourself in five years ?"
The writer is visiting the Harvard Business School, Boston for the next few days. Needless to add, having tried all attempts to gain admission and failed, he is now resorting to Indian ingenuity to gate-crash a few classes.